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Old 12-19-2007, 01:13 PM   #1
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Need help with KCBS worthy Chicken

I am entering my first cook off on January 1st. I am in charge of the chicken. I have organized and hosted 2 cook offs so I am familiar with the actual rules, but it is the nuances that I am not confident on. Like, what are the judges looking for? Is it better to use sauce or let the flavor of the chicken stand out? Do you get "bonus points" for submitting moist delicious breast that is notoriuos for being dry. With skin or without?
Thanks for any advice you can give me.

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Old 12-19-2007, 01:23 PM   #2
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Well, Renee, let me first wish you the best of luck in your new and addicting hobby! Once you get that first call to the awards stage, you're a goner!

Looks like you will be cooking on a BGE which is a great cooker for chicken! The judges these days are HUGE on "bite-through" skin, which is to say, CRISPY, not rubbery.

As you probably know, the way to get crispy skin is to cook hot and fast, rather than low and slow.

Now, historically, judges have wanted chicken that has fairly traditional BBQ sauce, i.e., KC style - red, sweet, with heat. The trick is to sauce the chicken, yet not have rubbery skin. I have yet to master that!

Thighs have traditionally done well, since they don't dry out as quickly as breasts do. You do not get "bonus points" for submitting breast meat, but if you are successful in cooking excellent product, you may win over judges who are fans of white meat.

Skin traditionally has done better than no-skin, since it looks prettier.

Trends in what does well at BBQ contests are always changing, but these have been my experiences.

Again, good luck! What's your team name? You competing at Lakeland?

Lee
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Old 12-19-2007, 01:30 PM   #3
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Thanks so much for the tips!
The competition is held in Felda Florida at Gator Hammock. They hold it every year. It's called The Pig and Pepper Jam. Our team name is The Pig Pirates. Our head cook is not only a bbq nut he also is an avid boater.

When you did yours, did you smoke your chicken? If so did you use the typical apple or something different. Any time I have smoked chicken I have ended up with rubbery skin. Do you think I could maybe kick the heat up in the last 10-15 minutes to crisp the skin?
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Old 12-19-2007, 04:11 PM   #4
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Skinless thighs with a good rub!! Cherry & Hickory (light on the hickory) for flavoring woods, and a hint of finishing sauce at the end.

Practice Practice, Practice before the Competition!!

Good Luck! & Have Fun!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 12-19-2007, 04:24 PM   #5
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Thanks Uncle Bob. After checking out your photos from this site, I knew you would have valuable advice. Your stuff always looks delicious!
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Old 12-19-2007, 04:48 PM   #6
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Never, never, NEVER go skinless...least not if you want to win. My BBQ competition experience is limited to briskets and ribs (much success with brisket, somewhat mixed results with ribs as there are people who are just head and shoulders above me in that area of Q'ing), but from what I've *seen* of chicken portions of competition, the judges tend to favor mesquite or hickory smoked with a mesquite flavored tomato based barbecue sauce. I've never seen someone win with a vinegar based BBQ sauce on chicken, nor have I seen someone win skinless.
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Old 12-19-2007, 04:52 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Renee Attili View Post
When you did yours, did you smoke your chicken? If so did you use the typical apple or something different. Any time I have smoked chicken I have ended up with rubbery skin. Do you think I could maybe kick the heat up in the last 10-15 minutes to crisp the skin?
Rene, forget the wood and just use BGE lump charcoal. It will impart a smoky enough flavor for poultry.

Edited to say that I don't own a Big Green Egg, nor have I ever cooked on one, so I am not the best person to give advice on it. I know that you can use it as an oven, if you have enough room to cook it indirect, and that you can raise the grate in order to cook at a higher temp without burning the meat.

There is a very active BGE forum The Big Green Egg Users Forum
where you can get specific and excellent advice from the Eggers over there.

Lee
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Old 12-20-2007, 11:05 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QSis View Post
Rene, forget the wood and just use BGE lump charcoal. It will impart a smoky enough flavor for poultry.

There is a very active BGE forum The Big Green Egg Users Forum
where you can get specific and excellent advice from the Eggers over there.

Lee
Thanks for the tip to the forum. I go onto that sight more than twice a day. They are fantastic over there. I have posted a similar question over there.

Thank you all for your insight and opinions. I will heed all of it and hopefully do my team proud.
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Old 12-22-2007, 04:31 PM   #9
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Thank you all for your advice and insight. I will be practicing every night between now and the cook off. If anyone lives in SW Florida, come on over and help me decide which is my best recipe! The more the better!
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Old 12-22-2007, 10:19 PM   #10
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good luck on your adventure. That definitely sounds like fun and I'm sure you'll do wonderfully and probably come in 1st too.
btw, have you ever read that story-joke going around about a Yankee who gets roped into being a judge for a bbq in Texas? It is so funny. i hope you're not making your chicken that hot.
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