I seem to remember you fixed these several times.I tried them four times,but without Head Country,sometimes with Newman's Own,sometimes others.I profited from others' not watching the final cook,so I stayed looking at them.I certainly mean no disrespect to anyone gracious enough to share ,after the winning he has done,but I didn't find them particularily exceptional.Did you? I do appreciate sharing the techniques though.

Good Q 2 Ya,Tom.
Original Post
Hi Tom!!

I agree totally! It was all in the sauce! You soak anything in a sauce that long and that will be the overiding taste you will get.

I cooked dozens of different combo's(48 thighs in all!) and every one came out the same..whatever sauce you are using will be the determining factor. My tests were done by cooking 8 thighs with 4 different combos. My wife and I would then eat one from each test batch.

I also tried to be logical in the progression of the tests....first we tested for marinades, then we tested for rubs then we tested for sauces.

Other factors I question.......

Marinading. I tried all combo's including cheap Italian dressings, homemade and none. Conclusion was you don't need to spend big bucks on Newman's Own, but there was a difference in the non-marinated ones so I stuck to the cheap Italian dressings.

Rubs. Very small differences in these....just barely discernable. I tried several of my own, Monterrey and Paul Prudhomme. My thoughts are the rub isn't going to determine much of the outcome so will just make a cheap one myself.

Skin. I have yet to see an edible skin come out of smoker that has a temp under 300�.......and I've been looking for 5 years! I'm sure you saw the photos that we got to judge....none of those skins looked appealing to me and I would have taken them all off before eating.

So, after getting our other tests completed, I decided to test smoker vs. grill. I still kept it with indirect heat on the grill, but was able to crisp it up at the end. Far superior results! I will be cooking these over coals on a Weber kettle at future competitions. I will still follow the technique, but will just grill instead of slow smoke.

However, I am still in a quandry about the skin. You need it on while cooking, but I would not eat it afterwards. I am struggling to put those thoughts aside and serve it the judges with the skin on and let them make the choice. But, to me it just looks so unappetizing!! I can glaze a piece of thigh without the skin and it just looks so much better.

The one thing I did learn from this was the wonders of chicken thighs!! I had always done a whole chicken and cut up the breast meat and then pulled some of the dark meat from the drumsticks.

Thighs have now become our favorite grilled chicken! Very rich taste to that dark meat, plus only $.99/lb.!

How' that for rambling??? LOL


Cancha smoke them first and then finish on the grill (literally just for a few minutes) to crisp up the skin?

I do that all the time, but I know that competitions may have specific rules and such.

BTW, it is almost no bother at all if you use a gas grill to crisp'em up.

Happy Qin' - AAHH
Yes you can AAHH. Matter of fact that is what Jumpin Jim does.

I should have clarified my point a little better. I liked the grilled flavor because of NO smoke. Just don't like smoke on my chicken. I don't mind some smoke, but during competitions you are cooking several meats in the same pits so you have no control over smoke.

More and more competitiors are starting to do this and they all swear their scores have gone up. I'll try and see what happens.

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