For Bob’s Hogs, the Competition BBQ season is only a month away, so it’s time to get serious about practice! This is the time to make the final adjustments to flavor profiles, cooking methods and timing. Once the season starts, consistency is the key to success. This week we practiced chicken and ribs. I won’t divulge any team secrets or my final competition recipes here, because it is a competition after all. I will however give you an idea of the amount of time and effort goes that into a quality turn in box.
The process starts with meat selection. For chicken that means all natural, air cooled bone in thighs. I try to buy evenly sized thighs, not too small and not too big, with good skin. I look for a whiter color skin instead of yellow, but that’s a personal preference. I always buy extra and cull the bad ones out to come up with 16 pieces I’ll cook for the competition.
I trim the thighs at home the day before I leave for the competition and vacuum seal them. Right after meat inspection, I put them in a marinade. I’ll keep the recipe to myself, but you can see in the picture that there are plenty of herbs and spices in the mix.
After a few hours in the marinade, I take them out, wipe them off and apply the rub, first on the bone side and then on the skin side. Then they go back into the cooler overnight.
Some time during the evening before turn ins, I marinate the ribs. Again, my competition recipe is a secret, but you use your imagination, the idea is to get some sweet and savory goodness into the meat.
I wait until right before they go into the cooker to rub the ribs. Again, first the bone side then the other.
For a complete step by step process for trimming and cooking the chicken, check this out http://thehogblog.com/?p=2081 For the trimming the ribs, you can go here http://thehogblog.com/?p=695 and for prep and cooking, here http://thehogblog.com/?p=2158
Here’s how this practice worked out. Timing was perfect, and the finished product was good, flavors were spot on. I was not happy with the size of the bones in one of the racks of ribs, but I will deal with that with my butcher…
Perfect bite through skin
Good color and glaze on the ribs
Even the rejects looked and tasted great!