Competition BBQ Chicken Recipe

Chicken can be one of the harder categories to master. The skin has to be bite through and the meat has to have great flavor. It took me a lot of practice and trial and error but now I have a technique that will improve your chicken scores.

With this method, you are going to brine your chicken and then slow-smoke the chicken.

chicken thighsI like to use chicken thighs. The dark meat has more flavor and will retain it's moisture long after it cools.
In contest settings I always turn in Skin-on Thighs.

Any cut of chicken will work really well with this method – but you just need to check your internal temp at the end – larger pieces of chicken may need an additional 20 – 30 minutes.

First thing you want to do is trim any excess fat, but leave the skin on and in-tack.

trim any excess fat, but leave the skin on and in-tack
Next you make a brine to place the chicken in for at least 4 hours.

It can be as simple as Italian dressing or you can make your own brine with:

  • 1 gallon of water
  • then add 1 cup kosher salt
  • I cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup molasses
  • thyme
  • rosemary
  • oregano

You can add or substitute any of those spices to give the brine a unique flavor.

Place the thighs in brine for at least 4 hours – but up to overnight. This process will produce a tender, juicy final product.

After it’s brined you drain it really well and pat it dry.

Next coat it with a BBQ dry rubYou will notice a change in the meat – change in color and over-all look. This is because you have taken the first step to flavorizing your meat.

Next coat it with The BBQ Rub.

Bring the smoker to 275-300; this higher temperature will render the skin and create bite-through texture

Melt about 4 sticks of butter in a small aluminum pan and season it with a little of the BBQ dry rub.

Place your chicken in the butter bath and into the smoker it goes for 1 hour. Butter should only come up half way on those pieces – they should not be submerged.

After 1 hour on the smoker, carefully remove each piece from the butter bath and place back on a rack in the smoker. Then lightly re-season with dry rub for color and flavor. Continue to smoke for 30 minutes and check internal temp. When your internal temp reaches 165, it’s time to start saucing.Brush each piece of chicken with your sauce

Brush each piece of chicken with your sauce.

You can use anything, but I recommend Blues Hog Original.

Sauce and let it continue to smoke for 30 minutes – making sure the sauce isn’t burning. Take your chicken off the grill, lightly brush sauce on again and it’s ready to serve.

You can add a light finishing rub if you want to give it that extra punch at the end. It needs to be sweet and spicy – and it needs to easily “melt” into your sauce.

Try this out this weekend – I guarantee you it is worth the trouble! It is the best BBQ chicken you will ever eat!

bbq chicken in a blind box

The BBQ Rub - a barbecue dry rub developed by The Killer Hogs
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Thermapens For Internal Meat Probe for Competition BBQ Cooks