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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, Equipment and just outdoor cookin' in general, hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures... but stay on topic. And watch for that hijacking.


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Unread 01-15-2006, 08:49 PM   #1
MilitantSquatter
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Default Choice of chicken for contest turn-in

I know this has been discussed in various threads but could not find a specific one. Thought it might also strike up some decent discussion on chicken.

Thighs appear to be the most regularly turned-in part of a chicken. Still not sure why as I would guess it's not the most preferred but I'd guess they hold up well and look nice in the box. I fully understand why breasts are not used often, due to the lower fat content. Drumsticks would seem more popular to me than thighs and would have a similar moisture/fat content and seem like a nice box fit too.

We've practiced with both thighs and drums and still have not decided what we prefer.

Two questions

1) For the Brethren who compete - what do you prefer for competition and why ? What % do you see most often for each type for turn ins ?
2) Has anyone else ever tried a fully de-boned whole chicken (w/skin) that is tied up or seen one used in a contest ? We tried two of these a few months back. After cooking, we sliced. It was very interesting but we know is probably to unconventional for a turn in. The thought process here was, chicken bones do very little for the chicken as it's more of a hollow bone than beef or pork bones.
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Unread 01-15-2006, 09:04 PM   #2
The_Kapn
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Vinnie,
We use thighs.
Why--we want to win since it is a "competetion".
Must you use thighs???--no!!!!!!!
Legs and breast meat have won also.

But thighs are trimmable to a consistant size, they fit in the box just fine, and they hold moisture quite well.

"White meat" seems to dry out faster.

As a judge, I have seen half and whole chickens submitted.
Really hard to do all the various meats within a chicken (or half) to the level required to compete. It can be done--just a challenge.

I know a team that does de-boned thighs. Really great.
They have not scored yet--they may someday.

I personally do not want to experiment or push the limits when $$ are on the line. I will let the experts do that. Just me.

FWIW

TIM

This probably could go to comp IF it stays on topic--???
Q-talk Moderator's make the call.
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Unread 01-15-2006, 10:06 PM   #3
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Vinny,

We do thighs also. To be honest we do thighs because most of the entries we have seen were thighs even though breasts and drum sticks were legal. I did not want to be that different from most of the other entries.
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Unread 01-15-2006, 10:46 PM   #4
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I have a good friend who cooked competitively through most of the 90's. As he has related to me, there is sort of a cycle to the chicken piece de jour. When he first began competing, breasts were the prevailing cut, by the time he quit competing in the late 90's, legs were in, when I got interested in the hobby 2 yrs ago thighs were "it" and continue to be the most widely submitted. I imagine another shift will come around and it might be breasts again or half birds or what ever.

I cook what I think I can make best, and for me that's breasts. Do more thighs win now, well maybe, but more people turn them in.
Cook what you're comfortable and confident with.
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Unread 01-15-2006, 11:19 PM   #5
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We have done mostly thighs. Have done wings at "opens", but thighs to me are the obvious submission. They hold up well, trim well, and stay moist.
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Unread 01-15-2006, 11:37 PM   #6
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I have taken a number of firsts with chicken breasts and a 6th in the Royal Open a few years ago. The window is small but if you hit it it is good stuff.
I have been turning in thighs lately and have taken a first with them. Hitting breasts is very satisfing and as a judge it nice to get to try something other than a thigh.
Jim
PS: just read what I wrote, trying to decide if I should post this.
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Unread 01-16-2006, 07:58 AM   #7
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We cook thighs also because they are more forgiving. As Jim said, with breasts there is a very small window between being done, tender, and moist. We used to cook beer can chicken (my favorite at home) but couldn't get called so we switched to thighs.

As a judge I would say 70 to 80% of the entries are thighs.
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Unread 01-16-2006, 08:23 AM   #8
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I've only turned in thighs but I'm thinking of giving breasts a try this season. At least in a couple of contests anyway. Jay, correct me if I'm wrong but hasn't Team Q had some good luck with breast turn ins?
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Unread 01-16-2006, 08:38 AM   #9
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I used to always turn in breast. Jim is right, you have to stay on top of it to score. I used an injection of garlic onion butter and a small amount of chicken fat and watched it very closely. I would smoke about 6 small chicken halves and use the best looking half at the top of the turn in box for presentation only, then put about 8 of the best bite size breast cuts in front of the half. Makes nice presentation, but if it drys out you are screwed. We scored consistantly, but usually 2nd or 3rd. I think we got one 1st with this method. We will be doing both breast and thighs this year and use the best of the best.
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Unread 01-16-2006, 12:24 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jminion
I have taken a number of firsts with chicken breasts and a 6th in the Royal Open a few years ago. The window is small but if you hit it it is good stuff.
I have been turning in thighs lately and have taken a first with them. Hitting breasts is very satisfing and as a judge it nice to get to try something other than a thigh.
Jim
PS: just read what I wrote, trying to decide if I should post this.
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Unread 01-16-2006, 02:36 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spicewine
I used to always turn in breast. Jim is right, you have to stay on top of it to score. I used an injection of garlic onion butter and a small amount of chicken fat and watched it very closely. I would smoke about 6 small chicken halves and use the best looking half at the top of the turn in box for presentation only, then put about 8 of the best bite size breast cuts in front of the half. Makes nice presentation, but if it drys out you are screwed. We scored consistantly, but usually 2nd or 3rd. I think we got one 1st with this method. We will be doing both breast and thighs this year and use the best of the best.
Jay, how about a photo of this kinda turn-in box?
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Unread 01-16-2006, 07:34 PM   #12
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Thanks for the feedback...

We enjoy eating the drumsticks more than the thighs when we cook.. To me nicely shaped drumsticks look good and taste just as good as a thigh...Also, there is usally less trimming to be done on a drumstick.

We have several months to keep practicing to see what we'll use this year.
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