Chicken Lollipops in Competition?

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by ej73, Mar 22, 2016.

  1. ej73

    ej73 Fire Starter

    Hey guys,

    I'm on the verge of entering my first competition where I'll be doing chicken. I've never been a big fan of thighs, so I wanted to try my hand at legs.

    What's your take on doing lollipop style legs for a competition? Was going to do the shallow butter pan, homemade bbq rub, Apple and Hickory smoke, sweet-ish glaze at the end. Is this a good strategy or recipe for disappointment?

    Appreciate your insight!
  2. isucyclone

    isucyclone Fire Starter

    I can't comment on the competition as I have never participated in one but I can say that every time I have made chicken lollipops they have gotten great reviews! Good luck with the competition, your recipe sounds like something I would eat.
  3. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Can't comment on the comp either, but as said above they definitely are a favorite every time I make them. Your recipe looks very good!

  4. ej73

    ej73 Fire Starter

    So I did a run today on my first lollipops, shown below.

    The prep was a little tedious, snapping that last bone was annoying, but they did turn out looking decent.

    Everything was there, tasty, right ... except the crispy skin. It was still too soft.

    What tricks do you guys have for getting that skin?

    On this cook, I went 2 hours at 300, sitting in a pan of butter, then 30 min after glazing on the grate.

  5. jp61

    jp61 Master of the Pit ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    How much butter?

    Maybe use very little butter or skip it altogether?

    Maybe 50F° higher smoker temp? or 400-450F° to finish?

    BTW, they look great!

    I've never been a big fan of thighs either.
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2016
  6. ej73

    ej73 Fire Starter

    I used about 3/4 of a stick. Hmm... not a bad idea on the finish to crank it up.
  7. This is a lot of work, But you'r their to win. I have seen quite a few remover the skin, lat it flat and carefully scrap all the fat off the backside then re-wrap.  Too low a temp causes skin to be flabby 

  8. smokefever

    smokefever Smoking Fanatic

    Practice run looks great! I love making chicken lollipops and people rave about them every time. I've found that taking them out of the pan for the last 35-40 mins helps the skin crisp up. Good luck! !
  9. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Man, they sure look good from here!

  10. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member


    Those Lollipops are Beautiful !![​IMG]

    I've never seen nicer looking ones!![​IMG]

    Good Luck!!

  11. tropics

    tropics Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    They look great hope you are able to crisp the skin,Good Luck

  12. ej73

    ej73 Fire Starter

    Thanks for the feedback guys - going to try upping my temp a bit and rubbing some butter all over the skin pre-cook.

    I'll post back here next time I run'em!
  13. golfpro2301

    golfpro2301 Smoking Fanatic

    Did you already have the comp? I have done lollipops a few times in competition and never had that great of scores. One thing you definitely want to do is wrap foil around the bones. That way they dont burn and stay a nice color. Finish the legs on the rack instead of the pan to help with the skin.
  14. ej73

    ej73 Fire Starter

    Hey there - comp is in 2 weeks. I'll definitely be wrapping the bones and finishing on the rack. Applied a large amount of butter and brushed it on last practice run, and had much better success!

    This is a "Backyard" comp - so my strategy is that the lollipops will stand out from what I assume will be 14 boxes of Thighs. We shall see...
  15. smokin monkey

    smokin monkey Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Just a thought on the skin, have you tried a Plumbers Torch.

    I did a Yard Bird yesterday and helped the skin along with a torch.

  16. One trick is to wrap the bare bones with foil so they don't burn while cooking. The judges eat with their eyes as well, presentation counts for I think 30% of the total score.

    Good luck!
  17. golfpro2301

    golfpro2301 Smoking Fanatic

    Smoking Money has it in a torch help with skin at last minute. How it was explained to me at Myron's School is dont put it in the box if the taste and tenderness is not there even if it looks great. If you are mixing lollipops with thighs make sure appearance and taste of both are spot on. If your thighs are amazing but your lollipops aren't but look good you are actually hurting yourself in the score category so make sure they are both great. This actually happened to me in an FBA comp where I did Thighs and lollipops. Both looked great but tenderness in lollipops was off a little. Finished in the 20's in Chicken. two weeks later I did same thing but only did thighs in box and took 2nd. Now another option which I have done is doing Thighs and sliced breast meat. I did 3 thighs across the top and bottom of box and 1 on each side in middle leaving a perfect square in center. I sliced 8 pieces from the thickest part of the breast and put in that space looked really good and took 2nd on this as well. If you want to do multiple cuts cook plenty and design the box in your head based on all scenarios. You and your team taste everything and decide which is/are the best. If there are two that stand out put both in. If only one is amazing only use one. Where is the competition?
  18. ej73

    ej73 Fire Starter

    Hey Golfpro and guys above - thanks for the great insight. I'm pretty determined to go 100% pops in the box. 6 for sure, maybe 7 if I have enough good looking ones for the table runner.

    I did another test run this past weekend, and things really turned out better. I had medium-crispy skin, great texture and flavor. You can see a pic below.

    Method was to up my temp to 300-320, Hickory and Apple woods, full stick of butter in the pan. After about 2 hours, I glazed and finished them on the grate.

    At the comp, I'll be more careful with the glaze getting on that bone, which was the extra layer of glaze done too sloppily because we were done and hungry. It also brushed off a little rub.

    Best part was, my friends who had my last batch genuinely loved these.

    The comp is in the middle of Illinois, in Mt. Carmel. There's a KCBS sanctioned comp going on, but I'm just doing the Backyard - which is this Saturday!

  19. golfpro2301

    golfpro2301 Smoking Fanatic

    Those look good. How do you sauce them? Best is to heat up pot of sauce and dip them then let sauce set so you don't have brush strokes. Also, one of the best tip I found last year was to keep q tips with me to clean up sauce on the container and you can use those to clean the sauce that gets on the bone. I have a contest this weekend as well. Best of luck. Make sure you take pictures of your turn in boxes.
  20. ej73

    ej73 Fire Starter

    Thanks Gpro!

    I sauced them by dipping in warm sauce with about 30-45 minutes to go. Then we re-sauced when we plated. That's funny - my buddy mentioned when we plated those that we'll need some Q-tips next go round for clean-up!

    Will definitely take some pics - tho in our comp, they said NO GARNISHMENT in the box - just meat.

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