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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 06-25-2007, 03:15 PM   #1
HeSmellsLikeSmoke
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Default Ok, I cry uncle on chicken. (Long)

I was totally blown away by the quality of the chicken entries at Merrimack, NH. I had no idea that chicken could be so good. I cry uncle -- my chicken, which until this weekend I thought was good, sucks.

I have read a lot of threads and a lot of books on the subject but have never produced anything close. Of the six boxes I tasted, two were outstanding, two were excellent, one was very good tasting, but had a rubbery skin and one was just like I cook - pretty bad.

The best two, I noticed, had the skin wraped totally around and under the piece -- I assumed it had been held with toothpicks during the cook. It seemed that this stretched the skin thin and during cooking promoted the fat rendering out of the skin itself. Both were really tender and had skin that was so easy to bite through, you hardly realized you were eating it. The one with rubbery skin was not fully covered so it looked like the skin shrunk during cooking and thickened to produce rubbery, hard to bite through skin.

The biggest difference in the best ones and mine, however, was that the smokey flavor penetrated into the meat, unlike mine where the skin seems to stop the smoke from going any further.

Pretty long winded, but I need help here.

Seeing that I have a WSM, a new to me Performer and a Brinkmann SnP Pro, how would I go about approximating what I experienced this last weekend? Don't have to tell me EVERYTHING, but I sure could use some hints and tricks.

(My ribs, pork butt and brisket, on the other hand, don't suck in comparison.)
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Unread 06-25-2007, 03:45 PM   #2
Harbormaster
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HSLS,
I have started to work on comp chicken myself. I pinned the skin way back with toothpicks, but I thought it made the thighs look too small, almost like big wings. What did the ones you judged look like?
The skin wasn't bad. I smoked them first for a couple of hours, essentially until they were cooked. This got good smoke flavor. I then put them on a kettle to crisp the skin, but had the fire too hot, so they burned.
Next time I'll pin the skin, smoke, and then put on the kettle with a cooler fire, crisp the skin, then flip them skin side up and apply my glaze, and let it set up a little.

I'd be interested to hear how guys who really know how to do bird do it.
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Unread 06-25-2007, 03:58 PM   #3
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My chicken sucks too. Although everyone that eats it says its great, I think it tastes like metal.
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Unread 06-25-2007, 04:27 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harbormaster View Post
HSLS,
I have started to work on comp chicken myself. I pinned the skin way back with toothpicks, but I thought it made the thighs look too small, almost like big wings. What did the ones you judged look like?
The skin wasn't bad. I smoked them first for a couple of hours, essentially until they were cooked. This got good smoke flavor. I then put them on a kettle to crisp the skin, but had the fire too hot, so they burned.
Next time I'll pin the skin, smoke, and then put on the kettle with a cooler fire, crisp the skin, then flip them skin side up and apply my glaze, and let it set up a little.

I'd be interested to hear how guys who really know how to do bird do it.
Clark, the thighs looked medium sized, like they started with larger ones, trimmed for eveness, then had more skin that normal to wrap around and tuck under.

BTY, there were no grill marks on any thigh I saw, so they must not have put them skin side down at any time?
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Large and Medium Big Green Eggs , Black 18.5" WSM, Blue Weber Performer - Stainless, Green Weber OTG Kettle , Brinkmann SnP Pro, and a Stainless UDS. One retired Portable Kitchen grill.

Red Thermapen, Maverick ET-732, EdgePro Apex Sharpener.

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Unread 06-25-2007, 04:44 PM   #5
ModelMaker
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Jim,
One of the absolute best things about being a judge is getting to see so many different thoughts on BBQ. I always try and bring home some of the contest food and the wife and I have a secondary contest the next day.
She judges what I have leftovers of and I love the "yours is soo much better than this" but she also has the "whats the spice on this? you could use some of that".
Just take some thoughts from the best you had and incorporate it into yours. Thats what makes judgin an cookin so much fun.
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