Contest Chicken

Posted by Jumpin' Jim on January 31, 2001 at 21:04:41:

For contests I only cook thighs and I cook 16 of them. I marinade them in Paul Newman's Own (Olive Oil and Vinegar) 4-8 at a time in a heavy zip lock bag depending on the size of the thighs. I start them marinating at approx. 4 pm on Friday.

I have used various rubs but what I really like these days is Head Country (Ponca City, OK) tweaked for heat which I get by adding a small amount of Cayenne Pepper. The thighs come out of the marinade at 7:30 sat morning and I lightly and evenly dust them with the rub.

I put them on the smoker and cook them to 180 degrees internal temp in exactly three hours. If I am using the Ole Hickory I use pecan and if I am cooking on Traeger or a Fast Eddy Smokebox I use hickory pellets.

At the three hour mark I test each thigh with a toothpick for tenderness. I put my best 8 in one half size alum pan from Sams Club with one bottle of Head Country Original Sauce. I put the second best 8 in the other pan. I loosely tent the pans with foil and let them woller in the sauce for approx. one hour.

Half hour before turn-in I take 8-10 best thighs and put them on Weber Kettle or Cajun Grill indirect with a reasonably cool fire so I won't burn the sauce. I taste one of the worst thighs and make an assessment of how it tastes and if I think that taste can do well. If I need to make adjustments, especially with salt, I do it at this time and then set the seasoning with a light brushing of sauce.

For turn-in I pick my best six thighs and put them in the box. No special arrangement because the thighs usually take up most of the room. Just try to have a decent looking box.

This process doesn't always work but it has been very good to me.

If any of you want more specifics please email me directly. I assume most of you are very good cooks and will be able to take this brief process and make it work for you. By the way Paul Newman's is a very good marinade for other meats, especially lamb when combined with Head Country Rub and Head Country Sauce.

Re: Clarification on Jumpin' Jim's Chicken

Posted by Jumpin' Jim on April 29, 2007 at 20:59:12:

In Reply to: Clarification on Jumpin' Jim's Chicken posted by Keri C on April 29, 2007 at 19:27:09:

I always went into the sauce skin side up. And it was always one 18 oz bottle of sauce (usually Head Country Original)per half size aluminum pan from Sam's. This doesn't really put much sauce up on the thighs. I would put four thighs in the pan and spoon the sauce up on the skin. Then put the other four in and do the same.

The two pans (8 thighs each) of sauce were on the cooker long enough to heat the sauce some. My idea was to stop the cooking process abruptly, or almost abruptly and let the chicken draw some of the sauce back into it as it cooled some.

I was always careful to not let my pan sauce get too thick. If it did I would add more sauce to keep it the same consistency as it was when I put it in the pan.