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Rectangular Chicken Thighs

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  • Andrrr
    Club Member
    • May 2019
    • 265
    • Wisconsin
    • WSM 22”
      Weber Kettle 22”
      Weber Smokey Joe

    Rectangular Chicken Thighs

    I fully admit I will probably never get into comp cooking but why are perfectly right angle edges, rectangular chicken thighs the gold standard for competition judging? Is square better? It’s not normal looking and they don’t come off the chicken that way. Best I can tell is judges make you do it only because it’s really hard to do.
    The presentation boxes people post are beautiful and I’d definitely go to town on them but I guess my question is how did that become the thing?
  • texastweeter
    Club Member
    • Jul 2017
    • 2840
    • Republic of Texas

    Used to be round muffin tins were all the rage, poached in butter. Texas comps make you use half a yard bird. Heck they taste better too!


    • jfmorris
      jfmorris commented
      Editing a comment
      Half a yard bird is how I cook 'em!
  • Steve R.
    Club Member
    • Jul 2016
    • 2152
    • Elizabethtown, KY
    • Current line-up of cookers: Weber 26" kettle w/ SnS and BBQ Guru adapter; Weber Ranch Kettle w/ Guru adapter.

    It's important to understand that the KCBS rules and judges aren't saying you have to do this. It's just that someone found an advantage to doing it that way, and other teams followed suit to try to keep up.


    • Andrrr
      Andrrr commented
      Editing a comment
      That makes a lot of sense but now I’m thinking of all the reasons why rectangles give the advantage.

    • Nate
      Nate commented
      Editing a comment
      +1 on KCBS not telling you that they have to be that shape... that isn't one of their rules... yet!
  • Bkhuna
    Club Member
    • Apr 2019
    • 404
    • Merritt Island Florida

    I'm experimenting with trapezoid thighs.


    • smokin fool
      Club Member
      • Apr 2019
      • 1383
      • Mississauga, Ont

      Those thighs take a lot of work on an elliptical....I prefer spinning.


      • ComfortablyNumb
        Club Member
        • May 2017
        • 3084
        • Northeast Washington
        • KBQ C-60
          Thermoworks Smoke
          Thermoworks Thermopop
          Thermoworks Dot

        Rectangular chicken thighs are square, round are more hip! And leftovers are cool.... ;-)


        • Nate
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          • Apr 2015
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          Uniformity... one of the scores is presentation... uniform size, shape, appearance, etc... is more appealing....

          Arguably (right or wrong) if a person put 6 untrimmed thighs in a box it probably isn't going to score as high as 6 identical looking pieces neatly arranged.... And when every point counts.... you do what you gotta do... including the people that use tweezers to arrange their green bed just right...


          • TripleB
            TripleB commented
            Editing a comment
            Uniformity is not a judging criteria. Presentation is generally looking for legality. For example, pooling of sauce, sculpting, foreign objects, etc. Unfortunately you are correct that a judge might score down untrimmed, irregular looking thighs, but they are not suppose to.

          • Mark V
            Mark V commented
            Editing a comment
            Uniformity is not a judging criteria, KCBS judge here. But, looking at a box, if all look the same and you think man I want to eat that stuff, is different than when you look at a box and say, why is that one so different? That is an appearance issue. That piece might look ok on it's own, then no problem. I will go out on a limb and say a judge should not look at a box and say, I want that piece, not that one!

          • Nate
            Nate commented
            Editing a comment
            TripleB and Mark V , I apologize I didn’t mean to suggest that “uniformity” was a criteria but that uniformity may be the reason people craft rectangular thighs in an effort to impact appearance... I think Mark nailed what I was getting at when he said you shouldn’t look in a box and say I want that one.
        • TripleB
          Club Member
          • May 2017
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          • La Crescenta
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          Rectangular chicken thighs are not the standard. Uniformity is not a judging criteria. Presentation is really looking for specific violations- pooling of sauce, sculpting of meat, foreign objects, illegal garnish, etc. The meat in the box does need to look appealing (operative word here is needs, not has to). However if you put in a hot mess in your box or pale meat, you will probably get marked down. Because it does not look appealing. I probably score 99% of boxes presented a 9. I've only seen once when their was a violation (toothpick in the box). I judge should careless if the chicken thighs are rectangular, muffin tin shape or whatever. Besides, any part of the chicken can be turned in (breasts, wings, legs or thighs).


          • rickgregory
            Founding Member
            • Aug 2014
            • 505
            • Seattle, WA

            The idea that presentation is a criterion in judging BBQ... one of the most down to earth cuisines around... is just hilarious.


            • Steve R.
              Steve R. commented
              Editing a comment
              Presentation is something a team can do to try to make a good first impression, but it's not actually one of the three criteria of appearance, taste and tenderness that each meat is judged on.

            • rickgregory
              rickgregory commented
              Editing a comment
              yeah, I know... but people do it for a reason. If they see chicken presented this way win a few times, they can tell themselves all they want "Hey, it's not a criterion..." But they'd be silly to keep losing narrowly and not doing it themselves.
          • Texas Larry
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            • May 2017
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            FWIW this is what I’ve seen used. Wilton Perfect Results Non-Stick Mini Loaf Pan, 8-Cavity https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FL62D1C..._Y6phEb8TW8GH2




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