How to Make Competition BBQ Chicken

photo by Clif Welch
photo by Clif Welch

by Cole Pepper
April 12, 2014

Chicken is the first category that will be judged in the Jacksonville Backyard BBQ Championships. Here are a few tips that I have acquired that can help you make great competition-style chicken in your backyard.

  • Remove the skin and trim fat from it. Chicken skin has fat on the underside. You want to carefully slice that away.
  • Brine thighs for around 2 hours (I like to use a traditional, all natural lemonade or apple juice as a base for the brine)
  • Season or dust thighs (I prefer a combination of garlic powder and lemon pepper with salt)
  • Replace skin by wrapping around thighs
  • Smoke with a baste. I like to use a BBQ sauce that is diluted with lemon juice early, then a pure BBQ sauce layer in the final couple of minutes…you don’t want to over-caramelize the sauce on the chicken. I also like to use a mix of hickory with apple or cherry wood.

I went on Channel 4 to talk about the technique and the Jacksonville Backyard BBQ Championships:
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Here’s a photo of the thighs I smoked:

Here are three thighs that were made using the technique mentioned above.
Here are three thighs that were made using the technique mentioned above.