Lord Myron's cupcake chicken and why it works.

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by mdboatbum, Apr 29, 2014.

  1. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    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.
    c farmer likes this.
  2. c farmer

    c farmer Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Man they look perfect.

    Gonna have to try it.

    Have to figure out how to de-bone a thigh first.    

  3. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Thanks for the point Cfarmer!!

    Deboning a thigh is pretty simple. took me about 5-6 minutes to do all 4. Just used a paring knife and cut down the top of the bone, then wiggled the knife under it and sliced all the way along the bone. Then just keep going past the bone on both ends and it basically falls out!
  4. chef willie

    chef willie Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Now that Sir, is ingenious. I have not read up much on MM but obviously have seen him and his attitude on PitMasters. I'm thinking this rocks and will def be doing it soon. The thought, of course, crossed my mind about a bacon wrapped thigh in the muffin tin but the skin on yours looks great . Well done........Willie
    mdboatbum likes this.
  5. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Umm, you had me at bacon! That's a great idea. That's what I love about this place, you start with an idea and the very smart and talented members add to it until it hits a level of awesome never before imagined!
  6. Those look Awesome!! [​IMG]  Add that to my list of things I have to try! 
  7. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I'm sitting here thinking about how to kick this idea out of the stratosphere. Chef Willie's bacon suggestion has me thinking bacon is the way to go. I have an idea, but I need to order a couple things. Stay tuned, if this works it might be pretty awesome...
  8. seenred

    seenred Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member


    Can't wait to see what you have up your sleeve now...those little chicken muffins look awesome!

  9. stickyfingers

    stickyfingers Smoking Fanatic

    Myron Mixon doesn't debone the thigh. He cuts the knuckle off each each end with some big shears. BTW his muffin pan has a hole in the bottom and it sits in a foil pan of butter.
  10. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

     I wasn't trying to replicate his recipe. I also addressed both of your points. My intent was to point out the basic principle and why it does what it does.
  11. Great info!!! Thank you I have been wondering how he did it for a while now. This would also get rid of the cartilage in the area, making for more straight forward eating experience. No need to decide what to swallow. [​IMG] Just don't eat the bone.
  12. I have made these twice since reading this. I completely agree with Mdboatbum these do not need the extra butter.

    The taste tester reviews were top notch. I thought maybe it was the novelty of the cupcake tins and the beer. [​IMG] After having leftovers from the first experimental cook, I decided it really was excellent chicken so I made more and invited more testers over. All formed the same opinion. [​IMG] I did shear the knuckles off the chicken (to fit in the cups) along with the cartilage and connective tissues/tendons. Cooked them at 225 for an hour then out of the pans and onto the grill skin side up. pumped the temps every 15 mins to get to 315. Sauced with 20 mins left.

    Prepped for the first cook

    First cook just out of the muffin tins.

    Second cook sauced and ready to pull.

    My theory (WAG) is that while the chicken cooks in the cups the meat fibers tighten and squeeze the juices out of the meat. With nowhere for the juices to go the chicken bathes in it's own juices til the collagen in the meat dissolves and the meat fibers are able to separate more freely allowing the juices to occupy the space left from the dissolved collagen. Is my WAG even possible...?...who knows and who cares...I do know that this is good chicken!
    Last edited: May 7, 2014
    mdboatbum likes this.
  13. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Looks awesome!! As for your Wild A$$ Guess, I don't know either but I'm just happy that it works. Glad to see the 225˚ for an hour did the trick. I haven't had a chance to do it again, but might this weekend. Thanks for sharing your results, it's always nice to see others' methods and opinions.
    Last edited: May 7, 2014

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