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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, Equipment and just outdoor cookin' in general, hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures... but stay on topic. And watch for that hijacking.


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Unread 03-27-2013, 11:08 AM   #1
Muscrat
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Default Brethren cook off help!

I'm entering my second cook off this weekend and just found out that one of the categories is half chicken.
How the heck do I do that?
Plus a dessert category.
My first event I got help on beans and placed so any help will be helpful.
Thanks in advance.
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Unread 03-27-2013, 11:10 AM   #2
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OK... I'm going to go out on a limb here...

Cut a chicken in half and cook it?

What do I win?

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Unread 03-27-2013, 11:13 AM   #3
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Cut out the backbone and split in between the breasts to get 2 halves. Brine and season as you would any other chicken and throw on the smoker. Make sure to get the breast and thigh to the required temps. Cook up both halves so you can have a choice of which one looks better. Plus then you have some chicken for lunch next week.
If this is your 2nd cookoff, I wouldn't worry about the extra category of dessert. Just concentrate on your meats.
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Unread 03-27-2013, 11:18 AM   #4
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OK... I'll be serious.

What are you cooking on? I would cook the chicken at 275 or higher to get the skin decent. I prefer around 325.

Buy a whole chicken (Probably a smaller one, but that depends on the size of the turn in vessel. Cut the back bone out with poultry shears or a knife (be careful) and lay it open. Use your fingers to work out the breast bone (also called the keel bone because of its shape) and then use your knife to cut the bird in half.

I would brine the bird, but that's personal preference. I use 1/2 cup Morton kosher salt, 1/2 cup sugar, a couple of tablespoons of soy sauce and a tablespoon or two of rub. Dissolve the salt, sugar and rub in a couple of cups of hot water and then add the soy sauce and enough cold water to bring it up to a gallon total (cut this is half or 1/4 depending on the size of your brining container). Brine the chicken for a couple of hours, rinse, dry and let it rest in a cooler or fridge for about an hour. Then rub the skin lightly with oil (I use canola) and apply your rub to both sides of the half-chicken. Cook at 325 until the breast is at 155 or higher and the thigh is at 165 or higher. The leg/thigh should move easily and the juices should not be pink.

I can't help with presentation but if you tell us the rules for that I'm sure you will get suggestions.
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Unread 03-27-2013, 11:20 AM   #5
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If dessert has to be cooked on site, we have had luck with an upside down cake cooked in a cast iron pan. Won first in dessert once with an upside down apple cake and twice with upside down pineapple cake. A cheesecake does pretty well too - got a first place last year with that. I think the trick is to cook without using any wood, just charcoal.

For chicken I agree with GrillsGoneWild. Basically do a spatchcock chicken split down the middle.

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Unread 03-27-2013, 11:28 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GrillsGoneWild View Post
Cut out the backbone and split in between the breasts to get 2 halves. Brine and season as you would any other chicken and throw on the smoker. Make sure to get the breast and thigh to the required temps. Cook up both halves so you can have a choice of which one looks better. Plus then you have some chicken for lunch next week.
If this is your 2nd cookoff, I wouldn't worry about the extra category of dessert. Just concentrate on your meats.
^^^THIS! And make sure you put the leg quarters closer to the heat source to keep from overcooking the white meat. I wouldn't worry about dessert either. Best of luck!
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Unread 03-27-2013, 11:30 AM   #7
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The presentation isn't judged
Thanks and I'll see what happens.
Oh by the way it's an offset cooker!

Thanks
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Unread 03-27-2013, 11:37 AM   #8
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Does the chicken need to be in any type of pan?
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Unread 03-27-2013, 11:44 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Muscrat View Post
Does the chicken need to be in any type of pan?
Doesn't HAVE to. It may make it easier to remove from the smoker rather than using tongs or something that may mess up the skin and appearance. If I were going to put it in a pan, I'd put a cooling rack in the bottom of the pan to lift the chicken out of the juices that will collect.

Personally, I'd also brine, but that's me. Simple seasoning works best for chicken I think. Injecting the breast and thigh meat with melted butter will also help with flavor and moisture.

Good luck!
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Unread 03-27-2013, 12:07 PM   #10
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My only advice on the chicken is to cook it a little hotter as mentioned, 325, maybe even 350 and if using any smoke for flavor, go easy, chicken soaks up the smoke like a sponge.

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Unread 03-27-2013, 12:42 PM   #11
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What do I need to do to keep the skin soft?
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Unread 03-27-2013, 01:56 PM   #12
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Quote:
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What do I need to do to keep the skin soft?
Save your entry fees Stay home buy some chickens and learn how to cook 'em. Your not ready for comps YET! JM2C
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Unread 03-27-2013, 02:05 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Bludawg View Post
Save your entry fees Stay home buy some chickens and learn how to cook 'em. Your not ready for comps YET! JM2C
Are you f**kin serious!!!
My first event I got 3rd in brisket, top 16 in ribs and top 16 in beans. That's not bad out of 46 entries. Some point in time I need to learn and why not now? So for you to come on here and say I'm not ready for comps yet is a bit arrogant IMO! And beside what I "WASTE" my money on is my business.
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Unread 03-27-2013, 02:19 PM   #14
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Mod Note:

This is going to stop right here and NOT escalate further. If you don't have something constructive to add to a thread, don't post. Differing opinions are fine, that's part of how we learn, but at least make an attempt to be polite about it.

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Unread 03-27-2013, 04:16 PM   #15
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As far as getting bite through sking goes, I have my best success cooking at 325 to 350. It doesn't really make the skin soft, but gives it a bit of a crisp that makes the skin not too rubbery.
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