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Comp chicken practice


Our chicken recipe was the lowest performer of our four comp meats in the 2013 season. I've been sacrificing many, many chicken thighs recently in the off season to come up with something that I hope will bring up our chicken scores.

This last batch came out very good and I'm getting close to the right balance of elevating the natural flavor of chicken with all the other ingredients enhancing that flavor and keeping all flavors in balance. And getting bite through skin and the level of moisture in the finished product that has juice running down a judges hand and chin. :)
CBJ's can be so darn picky. And I've heard that NorCal CBJs can be particularly problematic... :)
This chicken was cooked in a MAK 2 Star.

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Dang scooter. That is some pretty looking chicken!

Big Poppa said:
chicken is the devil

Ironic that you say that. I just read an monthly newsletter from Bill Anderson of the Chatham Artillery BBQ team, and he was talking about this very subject of how hard chicken is to get right, especially the skin.

One interesting point he made was how KCBS judging awards higher scores for competitors scraping fat off the skin to get better "bite through," yet their mission statement is:

"Recognizing barbeque as America's Cuisine, the mission of the Kansas City Barbeque Society is to celebrate, teach, preserve and promote barbeque as a culinary technique, sport and art form."

His argument was that scraping fat off of chicken skin is NOT something practiced by home BBQ'ers or BBQ restaurants, and felt that rewarding the practice with higher scores undermines "preserving" traditional BBQ methods.

Just an interesting thought.


I think traditional methods of cooking BBQ are now, and always will be, quite safe. Competition BBQ is in a class by itself and is known as "one bite BBQ" so some of the methods employed by competitors are designed to pack a lot of flavor into the one bite a judge will take. Low and slow or hot and fast both present a challenge in producing tender skin and a thigh that is covered with skin. Low and slow produces rubbery skin and hot and fast shrinks the skin and makes it floppy. The method for producing the chicken in the pic above is very non traditional but the bottom line is to collect as many 9's from judges as possible so, "traditional BBQ" is not a term that can be used to describe the competition arena. Any and all methods that can produce the best looking and best tasting product will be used by those looking to walk away with the biggest trophy or the biggest check(s).

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk while driving one handed!


Thanks Matt and PD. This new recipe for us will get rolled out first at a comp warmup event with open judging early March. If it does well there, it'll be our chicken recipe at Santa Anita
Thank you to BP for posting the basic cooking process in the HOF forum.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Candy Sue

New member
I actually have done pretty well with drumsticks! Relatively speaking that is.

Want the secret to bite through skin, sure fire every time, any chicken part? Get your foul parts done or almost done, do the sauce dip, put in a greased foil pan, then cover tightly. Let it go in the cooker until the temp is right. If it's already done, put the pan in a hot cambro. It'll take about 20 minutes.

On those thighs, I prefer a rub without visible black pepper. That was a beautiful thigh even with the pepper flakes!


New member
I'm not a comp cook, but curious about this bite through skin. Not to hijack, but what's a cambro? And also, when you grease the tin pan, are you talking crisco, lard, ?? The tight covering is to steam the skin to tenderness??

Looks like a good piece of chicken to me there! I'd eat that !


New member
Some times I dont get them comps. Ive seen chicken win that just doesnt look how Id want mine to look. Yours, now I would eat that all day long!


Thank you for the feedback Candy Sue. And TD and Acill.

TD, a Cambro is a professional grade food holding box (hot or cold). Caterers and comp cooks use cambros much like backyarders use a cooler to hold BBQ meat temps for various periods of time.


Well, we competed in the warmup event with KCBS judges Saturday. We only cooked pork and chicken at this event. Chris cooked the pork and I cooked the chicken and despite accidentally boiling the sauce when warming it up to glaze, and an injection experiment that sort of backfired, I managed a 2nd place finish. Lessons learned and the new recipe and process will see its first real competition in two weeks, without the mistakes. Or at least I should say, without those same mistakes! Wish us luck!
Chris also won 2nd place pork with his experimental pork recipe!

Cool hand crafted wooden cutting board trophies
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