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Another Competition Chicken and Ribs Practice

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 For the trimming the ribs, you can go here and for prep and cooking, here

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!

21 Responses to “Another Competition Chicken and Ribs Practice”

  • js-tx:

    Wow, looks good. Good luck this season, I’m sure you will do well. I need to practice some ribs this weekend on my UDS. My kegs handle brisket and chicken. I figure the UDS 22inch grate is good for big spares. Do you rest your ribs before turn-in? Seems they could dry out if rested too long.

  • “I wait until right before they go into the cooker to rub the ribs. Again, first the bone side then the other.”

    Why do you wait until the last minute to do the rub? And is there a reason you do the bone side first?

  • Mister Bob:


    I wait until the last minute to rub because of the salt in the rub. Done too early, and the salt will draw moisture from the ribs and could cause them to be dry. That’s not an issue with the bigger cuts of meat like brisket or butts, but on a relatively thin rack of ribs it could be a problem.

    I rub the bone side first because I’ll be presenting the ribs with the meat side up and I want to make sure I get an even coating. The first 2 hours of the cook is with the meat side up developing that beautiful bark.

    Mister Bob

  • Mister Bob:


    I do rest my ribs about a half hour or forty five minutes. Wrapped in foil they don’t dry out.

    Mister Bob

  • Greg:

    Looks great Bob. I got my Simply Marvelous Sweet Seduction and Cherry rub in the mail today, and from the initial taste test I can tell I am gonna have some fun this weekend. Thanks for the suggestion and recommendation to try some out, and as always thanks for yet again another great write up.

  • batman:

    Wow Bob that looks amazing! Good luck this year!

  • Mister Bob:

    Thanks batman

  • Joe:

    Hope to get up on August 18-19 @ the Hudson Valley Ribfest to stop by and say thank you for the help in person and maybe get some of your great food on my way up to my hunting cabin.

  • Mister Bob:

    Great joe, I look forward to meeting you.

  • Looks awesome!! Best of luck to you. I’m sure you will do great. Question about the chicken. Did you scrape the skin this time? I would agree, those bones look big. Thanks for all of your help!!!!

  • Mister Bob:

    Thanks Larry, no I did not scrape the skin this time. I’ve been experimenting with this, and I find that the skin is just as ‘bite through’ tender, and the fat keeps the chicken a little more moist.

  • Don:

    That looks amazing. Best of luck this season.

  • Impressive as always. Good luck on the road this year, you should do well if your practices are any indication.

  • Jason:

    Amazing looking Q. One question about serving the ribs, do you cut two bones worth of meat for each bone that you serve, or do you cut directly between the bones to get equal meat on each bone?

  • Mister Bob:

    I cut right in the middle between each bone. I also cut from the back side (meat down, bones up), to make lining things up much easier.

  • Bill Guhl:


    Man, this probably the most comprehensive, detailed site I have seen. My son just built a drum smoker and your info and tips are great plus all the recipes

    Thanks for all your work,

    Bill Guhl

  • shaz:

    My god those ribs look fantastic, I can nearly taste them through my PC.

  • Brad:

    Bob looking for help what is a good product to get that beautiful glaze you get on your chicken and do you need to thin the bbq with something and what is good amount of time to let it set finally do you dip the whole piece or brush on sauce

  • Mister Bob:

    Brad, add lots of honey to your favorite sauce, then thin it out a bit with apple juice and add a dash of apple cider vinegar to taste to counter all the extra sweetness. Another good option is a 50/50 mix of Blues Hog Original and Blues Hog Tennessee Red sauce, no additional thinning necessary. I dip the thighs and put them back in the cooker for ten minutes to set the sauce. Good luck and smoke on!

  • When it comes to grilling I am just the average joe. I am trying to learn to do better every time I grill. Those ribs look soooo tasty. maybe I should not have come here just before lunch time :-)
    seems like there is a lot to learn on this site for me.
    Will be spending some time here.
    Thanks for sharing this to a “newby”

  • Mmm, this looks very yummy…very nice food styling pics, too!