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BBQ Contest question

KlagKlag Posts: 208
edited 8:38AM in EggHead Forum
My neighbor is entering the backyard/amateur section of a local BBQ contest coming up and neither of us have ever been to one before (even as a spectator). There's chicken, ribs, pork butt categories.

We have to turn in 6 pieces of each meat. For the ribs, simple. Cut 6 super meaty ribs.

For the chicken - he is planning to smoke a whole chicken, beer can style and cut it up into 2 thighs, 2 breasts, 2 legs.

IS that a terrible idea? From what I see on TV, they usually do thighs.

Any info would be greatly appreciated :)


  • Dave...If they are modeling this after professional Q contests, 'appearance' is also a judged category. Can he carve really well? Also, thighs are used mostly because they are so forgiving, and don't dry out like breast has a tendency to do. Bottom line, it's totally up to you!! (If you stay with the whole bird idea, did you consider a spatchcoked bird instead of beer can?) Just a thought.... ;)
  • HossHoss Posts: 14,587
    Make sure you turn in 6 pieces alike.You could do 6 thighs or 6 -1/2 breasts or whatever,just be sure all 6 pieces are the same.Apples to apples.I dont think the box will hold 6 whole birds. ;)
  • I have some pictures of competiton boxes I have done on my website. I have tried the spatch cocked approach and put my pride aside and I cook only thighs now. Ribs I would cook spares they are more forgiving in my opinion. I know I work for Chris Lilly yet his book has great recipes in it for pork shoulders (just apply to a butt) and his Pineapple ribs recipe does well also. Thought this might help Hoss
  • Hoss...I have to agree, the "like" pieces usually "show" better. ;) But I also must admit, some of the favorite presentations we saw on our last judging included legs, and thighs. People did some very decorative things with the legs.... ;)
  • BordelloBordello Posts: 5,926
    :woohoo: Can't help myself Michelle,
    Legs and thighs, now you have my attention. I can only think of what a great presentation they make. :whistle: :silly: :woohoo:

    My Best and thanks for the laugh,
  • KlagKlag Posts: 208
    Thanks everyone, this is all great info!! :) :) :)
  • You need 6 servings of the same thing so each of the judges are eating (and judging) the same thing. Thighs are most common and every judge (and I am a proudly certified Florida BBQ Association judge)I've known appreciates a deboned thigh most of all. and my experience has been that breasts do dry out and are seldom seem in contests.
  • JimWJimW Posts: 450
    Stick with thighs. Be sure to trim them properly so they are of uniform size and shape and that six of them can easily fit in the turn-in box.
  • thirdeyethirdeye Posts: 7,428

    The bad thing about a mixed box of chicken is that some judges might not get the piece they want, and might subconsciously score down based on that. I guess for 8 or 10 years, for any special chicken, I have used a variation of the the Jumpin' Jim method, but a couple of years ago I got turned on to scraping the skin on thighs and it's made a big improvement in my chicken (whether it's crisp finished or sauce/braised finished, or just sauced). A newer article on my site tells where I'm at right now in the quest for a perfect thigh.

    Something you might want to consider on the ribs is a proud cut, or sacrifice cut. Meaning you slice really close to the bone on one rib, skip a rib, and slice really close to the bone on the third rib. This makes that middle rib very, very meaty. Of course you will have to cook more than one rack to get the right number of matched ribs to turn in, but you are most likely going to do that anyways.
    Happy Trails

    Barbecue is not rocket surgery
  • I just bought his book last week. Seems to be some great stuff in there. I haven't made it far but the first story was pretty good. I need to get by there and meet you guys.
  • ANy time you want to stop by, rolling egg. We are heading to KC on wednesday and I will be out of town for most of the week. Hoss
  • Headed to the Royal? Good Luck!
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