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Competition BBQ *On Topic Only* Discussion regarding all aspects of Competition BBQ. Experiences competing or visiting, questions, getting started, Equipment, announcements of events, Results, Reviews, Planning, etc. Questions here will be responded to with competition BBQ in mind.


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Unread 08-29-2008, 05:24 PM   #1
zabor16
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Default Need some serious chicken help

I am about at the end of my rope and need to step back and take another direction. I just can't seem to come up with a marinade that plays well with my sauce. If anyone could throw some suggestions my way it would be greatly appreciated. I am NOT asking for a recipe or measurements, that would not be right, but some basics I can work with on my own to find something that works for me.

I think I like a base of lime and lemon juice with olive oil, S & P. If you could add anything or even suggest a different base to build on, I could use ANY HELP.

Thanks in advance.
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Unread 08-29-2008, 05:28 PM   #2
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Can you tell us a little about what is in the sauce you are trying to work with?
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Unread 08-29-2008, 05:32 PM   #3
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Sure. Just a base of Sweet Baby Rays that's kicked up with a little heat (habaneros and other hot sauce) and some sweet (grape jelly), a little of my rub. Basically that's it. It never comes out quite the same but I like it and it seems to be a crowd pleaser (my wife's family).
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Unread 08-29-2008, 05:34 PM   #4
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A high percentage of teams still use Italian Dressing.
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Unread 08-29-2008, 05:40 PM   #5
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Sounds like Italian Dressing as Paul suggests or Paul Newman's Own (Olive Oil and Vinegar) that Jumping Jim suggests for contest chicken would work well with your sauce. In either case I remove as much of the marinade as I can with paper towels before I put on the rub.
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Unread 08-29-2008, 05:52 PM   #6
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Too much lemon/lime, for too long can be tough to mask. I really like it for chicken, but not on my BBQ chicken.

Without asking what the ingredients are...are you using anything in your rub that has a very strong, distinctive flavor that really stands out?

If you are, look for some more balance.
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Unread 08-29-2008, 06:17 PM   #7
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You may be marinading too long, 1 and 1/2 hours for parts in just about the limit.
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Unread 08-29-2008, 06:47 PM   #8
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Sounds like your battling against a lot of acidity. Maybe try less of the lime/lemon.
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Unread 08-29-2008, 06:48 PM   #9
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Just my opinion....
Swap the marinade for a brine.
Keep the sauce but lose the Habanero's.
Not sure about the grape jelly.
What are your scores reflecting?
Is it taste or tenderness?
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Unread 08-29-2008, 07:48 PM   #10
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Quote:
A high percentage of teams still use Italian Dressing
I don't really care for the flavor of the Italian dressing route. It's good on grilled chicken but I don't care for it on bbq.

Quote:
Swap the marinade for a brine.
This may be the route I go. I was thinking of using salt, peppercorns, allspice and maybe some ginger. Any other suggestions?

Quote:
What are your scores reflecting?
I havent' competed yet, my first comp is October and I am trying to practice for it.
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Unread 08-29-2008, 07:53 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zabor16 View Post
I don't really care for the flavor of the Italian dressing route. It's good on grilled chicken but I don't care for it on bbq.

This may be the rout I go. I was thinking of using salt, peppercorns, allspice and maybe some ginger. Any other suggestions?

I havent' competed yet, my first comp is October and I ame trying to practice for it.
This may be the root of your problem... it doesn't matter what YOU like. At competition, you aren't cooking for you. You are cooking for judges.

Paul is right that a lot of teams still use italian dressing, but I'm hearing more and more are brining. I'd keep it a simple salt and sugar brine. The rest sounds pretty fancy, but I doubt it is going to make a hill of beans in smoked chicken.

A nice glaze, bite through skin, and chicken that still tastes like chicken is a good start when it comes to comp chicken.
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Unread 08-29-2008, 07:57 PM   #12
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Zabor, not to be argumentative, but if you are practicing to compete, it is the taste of the judges you need to appeal to, not your own personal taste. Italian Dressing chicken marinade has proven itself a winner over and over with judges.
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Unread 08-29-2008, 08:34 PM   #13
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If your doing thighs, don't marinade or brine. Thighs are fatty enough to not worry about a brine.

Sweet glaze and a good juicy chicken are about as good as you can get.
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Unread 08-29-2008, 08:58 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PimpSmoke View Post
If your doing thighs, don't marinade or brine. Thighs are fatty enough to not worry about a brine.

Sweet glaze and a good juicy chicken are about as good as you can get.
This has also crossed my mind. I do like the flavor. How many others don't marinade or brine?
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Unread 08-29-2008, 09:25 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PimpSmoke View Post
If your doing thighs, don't marinade or brine. Thighs are fatty enough to not worry about a brine.

Sweet glaze and a good juicy chicken are about as good as you can get.
Quote:
Originally Posted by zabor16 View Post
This has also crossed my mind. I do like the flavor. How many others don't marinade or brine?
Take a package of thighs. Brine half and cook the other half unbrined. See what you get for a flavor and moisture difference. My money is on the marinade or brine.
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