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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 09-06-2009, 09:12 PM   #1
SirPorkaLot
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Exclamation Chicken 911

Alright here's the deal.
As I am about to enter my first comp. I have been working on the chicken.

Pork & me do alright together, and I cook kick-ass whole chicken, chicken halves, leg quarters on the smoker, and I do have a knack for breasts on the 22" kettle.

My research (here & other places) has led me to chicken thighs for the comp, and after a series of cooks over the past couple of weeks, I just do not seem to be getting it.

I use a SNPP, and I also have a OTS, both which I have cooked on for years, and I am very familiar with heat mgmt on both.
Problem is- I don't like thighs (least not poultry ones).
I tend to be a breast man, and that is what I do best (I rarely smoke breasts though, just indirect on the OTS).

I am cooking these things to an internal of 170, 175, 180. At temps from 225- 300. I can't seem to get the skin right. it is either crisp...and I mean Crisp ..as in blackened shriveled mess. Or it is like eating a flavorful wet mushy sock.

I have tried putting it on the weber the last hour, 30 minutes. etc..

Any tips or insight would be appreciated.

Oh and I have went with brined and/or marinated, drizzled with AJ, lemon juice. etc..
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Unread 09-06-2009, 09:30 PM   #2
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You can always ditch the skin. Or try the Jumpin Jim method to help get some bite through skin. No magic bullet for that problem.
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Unread 09-06-2009, 10:33 PM   #3
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Scrape the skin, steam the skin, or do both.
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Unread 09-07-2009, 06:52 AM   #4
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You can grill the thighs, they dont have to be smoked, if that helps...
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Unread 09-07-2009, 08:21 AM   #5
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Being a newbie at competition cooking, I am struggling to understand the reason the chicken thigh is so prevalent in competition.

While I understand it is one of the fattiest pieces, and therefore holds up well in a smoker, it is one of the least desirable pieces of the chicken IMHO, and seems to require a whole lot more work to produce very little meat, than other pieces (other than the wing).

I have read other posts here, that suggests judges are getting tired of thighs.

What else works? What has people on here placed well with?

judges? What do you prefer..to eat & judge, not just to judge?
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Unread 09-07-2009, 08:30 AM   #6
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Thighs are not a requirement... only at "least 6 seperate samples of chicken"... be it wings, legs, thighs, slices.... and chicken salad is legal.
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Unread 09-07-2009, 01:50 PM   #7
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The first and most important lesson that I learned was cook what you do best. If you are a breast man turn in breast meat. If you cook a kick-ass whole chicken, then cook it and cut it up and turn it in. Or just slice the breast and turn it in. Most people turn in thighs because they are more forgiving than white meat and six of them fit nicely in the box. You do want to be careful of turning in only 4 pices of dark meat ie if you cut up a whole chicken. You may indure the wrath of the last two judges if they like dark meat but did not get any. You have to go with your strength not with your weakness just because some else is doing it.


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Unread 09-07-2009, 02:02 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Mike's BBQ View Post
The first and most important lesson that I learned was cook what you do best. If you are a breast man turn in breast meat. If you cook a kick-ass whole chicken, then cook it and cut it up and turn it in. Or just slice the breast and turn it in. Most people turn in thighs because they are more forgiving than white meat and six of them fit nicely in the box. You do want to be careful of turning in only 4 pices of dark meat ie if you cut up a whole chicken. You may indure the wrath of the last two judges if they like dark meat but did not get any. You have to go with your strength not with your weakness just because some else is doing it.


Big Mike
Thanks! That appears to be great advice.
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Unread 09-07-2009, 06:55 PM   #9
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One last on the "why thighs" is that tenderness is part of the judgement criteria.
Prefering to eat breast myself, they quickly go from tender to dry. Back to the
thighs. Most of the time they're tender... Breasts, sliced tend to lose some of
their tenderness their too. If you're doing breasts, I suggest pre-cutting them into
pieces about the size of smaller thighs. That way if they are tender and juicy
inside, it'll stay inside.

However, Mike's correct, cook what you do best. When you start trying to cook
for judges you'll end up being disappointed more often than not.

Oh, yes, I'm also a judge. Again, while I prefer breast (personally), it has more to
do with who cooks what well. A moist and tender and tasty breast will do as well
as a moist and tender and tasty thigh...
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Unread 09-08-2009, 10:48 AM   #10
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So, to the people turning in breast meat only. Are you consistently in the top 10 most of the time ? If so, where are you cooking at ?
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Unread 09-08-2009, 11:21 AM   #11
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I cooked next to a first time competitor in wildwood nj and he did breasts. I would have given 9's across the board. They tanked him. The scary thing is I COULD believe it.
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Unread 09-09-2009, 05:59 AM   #12
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whatever you do make sure the chicken is done !!!
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Unread 09-09-2009, 09:41 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OC PIG ASSASSINS View Post
I cooked next to a first time competitor in wildwood nj and he did breasts. I would have given 9's across the board. They tanked him. The scary thing is I COULD believe it.
Yep. I've seen similar a time or two. They just end up either bland or
dry. It's rare they score well. I too would like to hear from someone
who consistently uses breast meat and consistently places top 10 in
that category.

The problem is that when they're done, they're done. 2 seconds later
they begin to get dry. IF I were to do them, I'd pre-slice them into
presentation pieces and keep them somewhat thin. Even then, it's going
to be tough to beat a properly prepared thigh...
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Unread 09-09-2009, 11:12 PM   #14
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At the comp I judged last week, one team turned in six thighs, and also turned in six pieces of breast. That might cover you with the judges. Also, nothing says you couldn't cook a couple of whole chickens to give you adequate pieces of the desired cut.
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