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Yardbird Rubdown

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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.

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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.)

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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.

The brine:

  • 2 quarts water
  • 1/4 cup Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons rub (I used Yardbird)

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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.

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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…

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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).

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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…

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