Well Folks: Today I will talk about competition chicken, and why so many Pit Masters hate chicken. When you grill chicken in the backyard, chicken is not that hard,and is a favorite at many backyard get together's and picnics. But when we talk about competition chicken its a whole different bird. Not getting the chicken done the way the judges are looking for, has ruin many a teams day at a contest. I have seen lots of teams finish in the top 5 or 10 in Brisket, Pork Butt and Ribs only to tank in chicken and lose a Grand Championship because they missed in chicken.
Now you may be asking WHY? That is because competition chicken has to be moist, all the pieces have to be uniform in size, and the skin has to be bite though. So this is why most teams cook thighs. Thighs are the most forgiving against overcooking and drying out. Now for the hard part getting 6 thighs the same size and uniform to put in your turn in box. This is where prep comes in, when I cook chicken I trim at least 12 thighs, I feel better cooking 18 thighs.That way I have a better chance of finding 6 thighs that are uniform to put in the box.
Then the last part, Bite Though Skin. This is the hardest part for me to achieve. I know you all have bitten into a chicken thigh and the skin was like rubber and came off in one piece, if you are at home you give this to the dog and keep eating the chicken. This happens in a contest, and your scores are going in the tank, and any chance you had at a Grand Championship just went to the dogs. No matter how great you did in the other categories.There are different ways to get bite though skin, but the only one that I have found that works for me is to scrape the skin. That is when you remove the skin from the thigh, and with a sharp knife you scrape the fat from the skin until you get a piece of skin that is almost see though. Then you wrap the skin back around the thigh. This is a time consuming job, not to mention disgusting. But it is the only way I have been able to get bite though skin every time.
Now you know why every Pit Master hates chicken. To get chicken that will give you the best chance at winning, it requires a lot of prep. Chicken takes the most time to get ready to cook, and if you don't do it right it is very unforgiving.
Now most of you don't every have to worry about skin being bite though, and all the piece being uniform.You just want it to taste good. If only it was that easy at a contest. This is why all Pit Masters "Hates Chicken"