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Old 04-22-2005, 01:06 PM   #1
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Need help with competition Chicken

Hey.. I need help from all you experts. I was really bummed out by my 39th place chicken last weekend (out of 41). #-o

Let me first explain my theory (which is obviously a bunch of crap) I was thinking... I'll give them a different taste.. and maybe it will stand out as a different flavor and I will score better... I did thighs, of course. Went skinless cause I dont like rubber skin either. And, the seasonings get to the meat. I marinated them in a citrus marinade with herbs and spices and such... then just before putting them on the smoker I tossed a rub on them and cooked them to a nice 180. I thought they tasted pretty good... different.. but yet still pretty good. Yes, they were juicy and tender.

I personally don't care for a tomato based sauce on chicken.. but maybe the judges do. I like a vinegar based sauce, but like I said, I was trying to do something different to stand out... well, obviously that didnt work, so please, any suggestions on how I can improve my competition chicken, I would greatly apreciate it.

Not asking for anyones secrets, just a big push in the right direction.

Thanks.
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Old 04-22-2005, 01:31 PM   #2
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ok.. so I see Raine ain't givin up no secrets....hahah
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Old 04-22-2005, 01:38 PM   #3
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Gary,

I've only been in one comp my whole life but I have talked to quite a few people who do comps and you're the first I've heard of that used a vinegar based sauce.

I've had some folks tell me that they will go to grocery stores in the town that the comp is held in to see what sauces they carry locally or they'll talk to some locals and get an idea on sauces, in an effort to please the judges.

Look on the bright side, think how bad you'd feel if you ended up 41st.
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Old 04-22-2005, 03:35 PM   #4
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Well, I havent been using a Vinegar based sauce... I was thinking maybe I should. But now you got me corn fused

We buy BBQ chicken halves around here and they are mopped with a vinegar and pepper sauce and grilled over charcoal pits... ummm good stuff...

So far.. it sounds like I better smoke my chicken and glaze it with a good tomato based sauce..... hmmmm
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Old 04-22-2005, 04:58 PM   #5
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Gray
Going to a different place as you did means you overall appeal is going to be much less. In competition stay in the tradional BBQ is needed.

I don't like grilled off chicken for competition but there are ways of making the skin tender (not rubbery at all). Cook the thighs to 170 to 175 internal and then place skin down in a pan of sauce and put back on the cooker for 45 to 1 hour. Remove from pan and place back on the grate skin up and let the sauce glaze making any adjustments you want at this point. You end up with very nice presentation with tender skin.

Hope this helps.
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Old 04-22-2005, 08:52 PM   #6
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Gary, I haven't competed but I think the attempt to deviate is a great concept. I try to imagine myself as the BBQ judge, after sampling many, many submissions, a unique entry might be refreshing. Someone was first to put a sweet tomatoe based sauce together with chicken. Don't give up. You could be the first to produce the next big thing.

Order in which the judges sample entries has got to be a factor no matter how hard they try to be impartial. What I'm trying to get at here is that had you been 2 spots earlier or later in the sampling you may have done much better. Someone has to come in in 39th spot so don't worry too much about it.

Maybe vinegar sauce and chicken just don't work great together or the recipes aren't quite right or maybe just your place in the judging line wasn't quite right this time out.
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Old 04-23-2005, 12:40 PM   #7
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Well, Gary, I applaud your original idea and effort. If it's any consolation I'm sure I'd be last in all catagories!! I think Jim Minion is right (of course he is) that you have to stay within 'traditional' parameters in competition. Not at all my thing, it's all too sweet to me, though I appreciate the tenderness and smoke of the final product. I've met several competitors that cook one way for comps (very sweet) and another for themselves. For me, I don't think I'd enjoy that.
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Old 04-25-2005, 07:11 AM   #8
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Thanks for all the responses. I guess its back to the cutting board for me.. so to speak.

It looks like I am going to have to experiment and see what I can come up with. I am sure that time will play a factor and next month at Danville, we'll throw something together at the last minute and see how it stacks up. You know, kinda that Iron Chef thing. hahah.
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Brinkman Smoke - n - pit Pro
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Old 04-25-2005, 08:45 AM   #9
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What about a tomato-based with a fruit component, or a fruit-based with a tomato component, either spiced somewhat familiarly? Reduced and finished as more of a glaze. Think that'd work?
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Old 04-26-2005, 10:02 AM   #10
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I dunno. I think you could stay within traditional parameters and still do something less pedestrian. Perhaps it was just the citrus marinade. Acids can mess up the texture of the finished meat if it was marinated too long.
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