Competition Chicken, Competing With Myself

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chilerelleno

Legendary Pitmaster
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I picked up a few trays of chicken thighs with my CSRs today.
I've always been impressed with the the thighs I've seen put before BBQ competition judges, and I'm starting to think that they're the true litmus test of a Pitmaster.

Thankfully the only person I'm competing with is myself, so I'm not going overboard looking for perfection, nor getting crazy with shapes, butter braising or any of the other tricks and shenanigans.
Them competition guys have to present that perfectly tender and juicy hunk of fowl, with the ideal bite through skin, every piece almost identical in every aspect of appearance.
I'll be trying to just meet the tender, juicy and bite through skin.

So here we go... Competition Chicken

Picked out trays with the biggest, nicest thighs and closest to uniform size.
Also payed attention to skin color and complexion.

Inspect them for the best sized skins to work with, as free of imperfections as possible.
Remove the skin and trim skins to as large a rectangular shape as possible, scrape the fat off the skins.
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Take the meat and trim off both heads of the bone off, the same with both fatty ends, and any large sinews or deposits of fat.
Trim them all into as roughly uniform rectangles as possible.

Lightly dust both sides of the skin with rub.
Lay the meat back onto the skins and roll them together, carefully tucking the edges of the skins under.
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Lay in a pan, cover with foil and allow them to dry overnight.
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Cooking for Sunday Lunch
Preheat the smoker to 275°, smoke with your preferred wood, I'll use cherry.
Before placing in the smoker I secure the skins with toothpicks, plain wood or stainless, no colored wooden.

Smoke these for one (1) hour, at the half hour mark spritz lightly with butter and again just before foiling.
Competition cooks seem to prefer Parkay butter.

Then cover the pan with foil, cook for another forty five (45) minutes.
By covering the pan we're getting the collagen in the skin to render and give us that perfect bite through consistency.

Now it is time to glaze with BBQ sauce and to taste test one piece for bite through consistency, I'm also checking IT, my goal is 170°-175°.

I'll let them go another another fifteen (15) minutes uncovered for the sauce to set up and then pull for presentation to the family.
Talk about brutal, nobody can judge you like your family judges you... LOL!

Pics of the finished chcicken and presentation are below.
 
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Dang man they are fantastic looking thighs. Hope family approves I know what you mean there mine never gives a complete approval just say they think I should practice a little more. :D To me that means it great and we would like more.

Warren
 
Chile I hope ya win LOL
Watching
Richie
LoL, thanks Richie.
I should have the finished Q up sometime shortly after lunch.
I bet those are gonna be fantastic!!
Al
Thank you Al, i'm betting they're too, we'll see.
Wow those are like a work of art.
Awww schucks (blushing), appreciate it Gary.
Dang man they are fantastic looking thighs. Hope family approves I know what you mean there mine never gives a complete approval just say they think I should practice a little more. :D To me that means it great and we would like more.

Warren
Thanks Warren, I hope they look as good when done.
Yep, my family never fails to remind me that the smoker/grill have been covered all week.
Now get out there and cook some Q!
 
Chile if you come in last then I'd be worried about you beer consumption. Looks like your off to a good start.

Chris
 
Preheat the smoker to 275°, smoke with your preferred wood, I'll use cherry.
Before placing in the smoker I secure the skins with toothpicks, plain wood or stainless, no colored wooden.
Smoke these for one (1) hour, at the half hour mark spritz lightly with Parkay Butter and again just before foiling.

QmLwNU6.jpg


QmLwNU6.jpg


Then cover the pan with foil, cook for another forty five (45) minutes.
By covering the pan we're getting the collagen in the skin to render and give us that perfect bite through consistency.
Now it is time to glaze with BBQ sauce and to taste test one piece for bite through consistency, I'm also checking IT, my goal is 170°-175°.

fAG4BC9.jpg


I'll let them go another another fifteen (15) minutes uncovered for the sauce to set up and then pull for presentation to the family.
Talk about brutal, nobody can judge you like your family judges you... LOL!

The Presentation

q7G3zp0.jpg
 
Chile if you come in last then I'd be worried about you beer consumption. Looks like your off to a good start.

Chris
LoL... No need to worry there as I don't drink.
But I tell ya what, the frikkin heat might fry my brain.

So what'ya think about these.
I know my glaze is horribly uneven, was too thick and I brushed instead of dipped.
 
They look great to me, I'd take a plate of the unglazed thighs as I'm not really into the sauce. My wife on the other hand prefers them sauced(so we'll take two, one of each thank you). Also I've never tried the dipping process - I usually just glaze let it setup and then reglaze. I usually can get a good clean cover on the chicken. Is it a spicy rub?

Point for sure.

Chris
 
Thanks.

Spicy? No, the rub is just my basic chicken rub.
Paprika and black pepper is as spicy as it gets in that form.

Everybody who tried both preferred the plain over the glazed, myself included.
The glaze was just too busy conflicting with the rub.

My two younger kids preferred the regular thighs I cooked to the Competition.
They said they like the chewier skin and more meat.
Smoked these with the competition and then crisped the skin on the upper rack of my grill.
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I think that's a first for me. I've never heard of anyone who prefers rubbery skin.

Chris
 
I think that's a first for me. I've never heard of anyone who prefers rubbery skin.

Chris
It's not rubbery, not after high direct heat on the grill.
But it isn't as tender as the skin on the competition style thighs, that's for sure..
The comp thighs aren't rubbery and aren't crisp, it just bites right through.
 
Great write up and smoke Chile! Did you scrape the skin before putting it back on the thighs?

Mike
Appreciate the compliment and Like Mike, thanks.

No, not extensively, more like pulling as much fat/membrane off as I could with shears and fingers.
Like I said, I wasn't going overboard looking for perfection.
But I still got a nice bite through consistency.
 
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