In a side by side comparison on two halves of the same chicken, I pit one of my old favorite BBQ rubs, Plowboys Yardbird against a relative newcomer, Eat BBQ’s Zero to Hero by Rod Gray of Pellet Envy. Click on the photo above to see the process and the results.
I started out with a nice plump 5 pound bird.
Removed the backbone and split in half. (I save the backbones in the freezer until I have enough to make a big batch of chicken stock.)
A bird this size gets about 4 hours in a brine. This really helps keep it moist, and also gives me an opportunity to add another layer of flavor to the process. I used ice cubes to quickly chill down the brine before I put it into the refrigerator.
- 2 quarts water
- 1/4 cup Kosher salt
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons rub (I used Yardbird)
The bird on the left got a liberal coating of Zero to Hero on the meat side, and the one on the right got the same treatment with Yardbird.
I flipped them over and gave them another shot of rub on the skin side. Notice that I notched the foil pan on the Yardbird side to make sure I could keep things straight if the pan got rotated or if I simply forgot which side was which…
About an hour and a half later at 300 degrees, they were getting close to temperature, so I took them out and hit both with some Sweet Baby Rays sauce, which I consider to be one of the better commercial sauces easily available in most supermarkets in my neck of the woods (these days that’s Rhode Island).
Here’s how they turned out. Both were delicious, moist and tender. I must say that I preferred the Yardbird, but the margin of victory was very small. The Zero to Hero was sweeter and had a little more kick. I think it will be awesome on my next rack of pork ribs, but that’s a post for another day. Stay tuned…