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Thread: Chicken Thighs

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Hampden, MA
    Posts
    2,647

    Default Chicken Thighs

    After much thought and consultation with Joe (PigCicles), we have decided to go ahead and post what we feel makes a big difference from middle of the pack placing and top 10 chicken at a contest. Sharing the “secret” is not that big of deal since really it is just part of the equation. You still have to rub, cook, and sauce the chicken correctly on top of getting the right piece of meat, not too mention getting at the right table to win (as I proved with an 11th place this weekend). The difference between 1st place and 10th place is usually pretty small. In any case, here is how to get a good quality chicken thigh as well as the story of how this evolved.

    A couple of months back I was PMing with PigCicles about my latest contest experience and told him how I thought my chicken was good, but I could not figure out what I needed to do separate myself out of the pack and get in the top 10. I had finished 27th, 26th, and 26th in my last 3 comps, which were also my first 3, with what I felt like was good tasting, tender chicken. He asked me if I had heard the story about the left handed briskets. I told him that I had and that I thought it was BS and didn’t know what that had to do with the chicken. Well, he said that not only is it true about the briskets, but it is true for chicken as well. No way, everyone that has seen a chicken knows that they don’t lay on one side or the other, but just kind of sit right down. He agreed, but said chickens have a dominant foot that they use to scratch the ground with, much like a person is right handed or left handed and the majority of chickens scratch with their right leg. Using their right leg to scratch makes those muscles on the right side, namely the thigh, tougher and therefore the thighs from the left side of the chicken are more tender and preferable to use in competition cooking.

    Now, I have to say that I thought that was %100 BS but a very funny story none the less. He was adamant and told me how to tell a right side from a left side thigh. Here is a pic for the visual.



    The ball joint is on the side of the thigh where the bone attaches to the body of the bird. Looking at the quarters you can clearly see what are two right siders. Now keeping that in mind, imagine where the bone passes through the meat. There is clearly a different shape to the meat on one side of the bone than the other. That is how you separate the righties from the lefties when you pick up a package of thighs. If it confuses you when you are staring a package of thighs only (it still does me sometimes) pick up quarters and just separate them yourself. Anyhow, I didn’t believe the brisket story and I sure wasn’t going to believe this. Nice try Mr. Cicles.

    Naturally as the time came around for my next comp, I found myself pondering chicken and decided I had nothing to lose by giving it a shot. It isn’t like I would have to admit to doing this. What do you know…………..9th place chicken!!! Not only had a busted out of the mid 20s, I was top 10. Surely it was a fluke. I would have to try this again before I would even think about going public with it. Well next contest, 1st place chicken. Holy Chit! I was stunned. As soon as I got home I PMd Joe, his only surprise was that I tried it since I was so adamant about it being BS. He was not surprised with the results, he had more to tell me about the type of feed the chicken gets and stuff like that, but I am pretty much limited to Sams and the supermarkets, so what feed that had was irrelevant. If you have access to farm raised or raise your own, you might want to get with him for more details.

    Anyhow folks, that is the big secret on chicken. Not earth shattering, I know and certainly not fool proof either since you still have to cook it, sauce it, and still have the judges smile upon you, but if you take the time to pick out lefties for thighs, you will atleast not have to worry about starting off with a sub par piece of meat.
    FBJ

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Carthage, MO
    Posts
    10,055

    Default

    I can't believe you told the secret to improved scores
    Plank Owner ..................
    I didn't fight my way to the top of the food chain to be a vegetarian!



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Carthage, MO
    Posts
    10,055

    Default

    So in your opinion do you feel that it helped your score overall??
    Plank Owner ..................
    I didn't fight my way to the top of the food chain to be a vegetarian!



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    1,519

    Default

    Yup, your right.......I think your all full of chit!
    Rubbed, Smoked and Sauced BBQ Team sponsored by Barsleaks/Rislone
    Authorized Backwoods dealer.
    B.O.D. GLBBQA
    Pitmaster - Lockharts BBQ of Royal Oak
    Owner-Great Lakes BBQ Supply Co.

    I don't know what the actual temp is, but it cooks the way I want it to, so I don't guess it really matters.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Hampden, MA
    Posts
    2,647

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by PigCicles View Post
    I can't believe you told the secret to improved scores
    Yeah, but it still has to be cooked and presented properly. I know you were hesitant on sharing it, but thanks for giving in......we need to share the tips.
    FBJ

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Hampden, MA
    Posts
    2,647

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by PigCicles View Post
    So in your opinion do you feel that it helped your score overall??

    Yep, more than any rub, sauce, wood, brine whatever......this has made the biggest difference
    FBJ

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Santa Rosa Beach, Florida
    Posts
    359

    Default

    I think someone is pulling our leg (or perhaps our thigh).
    Florida Bill

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States
    Posts
    1,964

    Default



    Okay..I'm going to try it I'll quit laughing
    ~Mike~
    www.buttloversbbq.com
    Big Green Egg - Large
    Backwoods - Custom Party
    FEC 100

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Tulsa
    Posts
    4,976

    Default

    I think you're both full of CS as opposed to BS.

    If tenderness was a prollem when it came to chicken I might give it a little more thought.

    Now as to what they're fed and breed of bird, I think that really is a difference. Many of us have been around long enough to remember cack when thighs weren't white meat and chickens had flavor. You know, back before the "Tysonized"

    I will conduct an experiment and report back.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    1,519

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by SmokyOkie View Post
    I think you're both full of CS as opposed to BS.

    If tenderness was a prollem when it came to chicken I might give it a little more thought.

    Now as to what they're fed and breed of bird, I think that really is a difference. Many of us have been around long enough to remember cack when thighs weren't white meat and chickens had flavor. You know, back before the "Tysonized"

    I will conduct an experiment and report back.
    Thread killer......
    Rubbed, Smoked and Sauced BBQ Team sponsored by Barsleaks/Rislone
    Authorized Backwoods dealer.
    B.O.D. GLBBQA
    Pitmaster - Lockharts BBQ of Royal Oak
    Owner-Great Lakes BBQ Supply Co.

    I don't know what the actual temp is, but it cooks the way I want it to, so I don't guess it really matters.

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