Myron Mixon is a smart dude, there's no denying that. I've seen a lot about his muffin pan chicken and a lot about how he claims to have invented the technique, etc.. Granted, it's a novel way to get the pieces all uniform, but he really did no more than adapt a very old technique to suit his needs.
The secret is the bite through skin. It comes from slow cooking the chicken in fat. Duck confit is as old as the hills and was initially used to make tough meat tender and then to preserve it. The duck is slow cooked in it's own fat, then baked at moderate heat. Sound familiar?
Last night I decided to play around a little with dinner. I had a pack of chicken thighs, which I brined for a couple hours in water with Tender Quick and sugar. I wanted to try the cupcake chicken, but the pieces were too big to fit in my muffin pan, so I just de-boned 4 of them and put them in the pan. The rest I wanted to try the same basic technique, but wanted to leave the bone in. Those I just plopped in a Bundt pan, skin side down. I wanted them swimming in fat, but didn't want to have to add a ton of oil to make it happen, so the tight confines of the Bundt pan worked perfectly. I added about a half teaspoon of olive oil to each of the muffin pan pieces just to keep things from sticking. I added about a tablespoon to the Bundt pan for the same reason.
I dusted them lightly with a basic rub and baked them (STILL don't have another smoker, but will soon) at 300˚ for an hour.
Here they are after the first hour:
LOVE the little boneless chicken pucks!
After the first hour, I dusted them with rub and put them in at 375˚ for about a half hour.
Here they are after the 2nd half hour:
Then I brushed them with sauce, put them back in the oven which I immediately turned off and let them sit for 15 minutes.
Here's the finished product:
The result? Perfectly tender, bite through skin. The pieces from the muffin tin were all perfectly round and looked great. Didn't notice a difference in flavor between the 2 kinds. I did, however, slightly overcook it all. I think next time I'll do the first phase at 225˚ for maybe a little over an hour. Then maybe 325˚ for the second phase and maybe cut that to 20 minutes. Mine wasn't totally dried out, but it was definitely DONE.
Oh, and as for Myron's method of poking holes in the muffin pan and setting it in a pan of butter, it's totally redundant. The chicken thighs rendered MORE than enough fat to make it work perfectly.