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Chicken Thighs: Skin side Up or Down? Glaze when?

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    Chicken Thighs: Skin side Up or Down? Glaze when?

    Well, now that my BBQ rep is out there and growing, you know what's coming, the requests for cooks keep rollin' in! Today was for a church member's funeral. He was a young man (around 50) but had long-term health problems and they finally brought body-death. (Last week one of my best bud's daddy died. My bud is black and owns a funeral home, and has a bit family. His fam cooked chicken quarters for the masses at the funeral, and I did 13 racks of ribs and a big pan of beans for the family. They ate every one of them!)

    So, I've been playing with chicken and getting the skin just right. On the Stickburner, with its higher airflow, I found that skin side up produced a lot of skin shrinkage, and if I started skin side down, then flipped about an hour in, the results were good.

    I bought two 40 pound cases of chicken thighs from the local poultry wholesales, for $28 each, so the price was great. They were not as well trimmed as the typical grocery-store pack, and there was a wide variety of sizes. It took me over 2 hours to light the fire, clean the grates and trim and rub these 160 or so thighs. I gave them a little salting, then oil and a generous coat of Cherry from Simply Marvelous, my current fav chicken rub.
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    The pan on the right was done first, so the moisture on the meat wet the rub a bit.

    I put them on skin side down, about 45 thighs per rack.
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    Yes, it is a magical rack that can hold the chicken on there upside down...

    I had water pans in and set the Guru on 275, then went to make rounds at LaundryWorld.net. When I got back, almost 2 hours later, I found I had accidentally left the bottom door partially open. The pit held temp, but had to blow the fan more to do so, creating a higher airflow on the edges of the cooker, meaning the center of the grate was 275, while the edges were around 50 degrees hotter...oops. The thighs on the edges were all darker and drier. I ate one anyway!

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ID:	112410Overall, they looked really nice!

    When I pulled them, I put them in the pan skin-side up, and they looked really cool.
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    The grill marks were fun and the skin didn't shrink at all.

    So, 2 questions about your plan for chicken skin not shrinking:

    1.) Start skin-side up or down? On which cooker?
    2.) Do you flip partway in the cook? Do you glaze usually?
    ....3.) Do you do that when you flip?

    Your friend, the @BishopofBBQ
    Attached Files

    Great post and nice pics!! Sadly I can't help with the questions because I have the same ones. Three buddies of mine are getting a BBQ Comp team together and I drew CHICKEN (NOT a fan of the fowl creature) so I'm here trying to figure it out. I have practiced a few times with bone in thighs, scrapped skin, and skin up and successfully got the vaulted bite through skin but . . . well, it's a pain!!! I look forward to the rest of the Pit chiming in on this


      Chicken Thighs are my goto thing to cook... I dont do competition stuff but really like bite through skin.

      Never use glaze. I usually dry brine a little add a rub and cook skin side up at 325 to 350 and voila!


      • risawyer
        risawyer commented
        Editing a comment
        Perfect Steve! Sounds like everyone goes for higher temps like you on chicken. Are you doing them on PBC or or something else (really considering a PBC)? Also, what is ". . . dry brine a little. . ."? A little salt or a little time?

      • smarkley
        smarkley commented
        Editing a comment
        risawyer Lately I use a kettle with SnS, but have cooked plenty on the PBC also... yeah dry brine is a little salt and a little time in the fridge

      I do bone in, skin on, chicken thighs. I marinade them overnight.

      I cook them at 325° skin side down until I get the crispness I want. Then I turn them over and baste them with more of the marinade, both sides, a couple of times while they to cook to 185°. Getting the right color and crispness on chicken thighs is difficult but that's what separates the the experts from the wanna be's.😎

      The marinade...
      Mongolian chicken thighs....

      1/2 cup hoisin sauce
      4 cloves garlic, minced
      1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
      1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
      1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
      1 tablespoon rice vinegar
      1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
      2 teaspoons sesame oil
      2 teaspoons white sugar
      1 1/2 teaspoons hot sauce... Any type I use Sriracha
      1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
      1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

      Last edited by Breadhead; October 1, 2015, 11:50 PM.


        Breadhead your chicken looks great, and the well positioned Thermapen in the photo is sweet!

        smarkley, I rarely glaze, because it takes time and they look so great without it!

        I didn't post my typical cook temps, bus 275-300 is my normal, and I'll do them 250 if i'm piggybacking on something already on the big cooker.


          Beautiful Chicken!

          Here's a sure-fire way to get bite thru skin... Cook your chicken to finished temp. Dip in sauce, room temp is fine. Put in a pan, seal it up tight and put in a warm cooler or Cambro for 30 minutes. Test skin with a toothpick, no resistance -- it's bite thru. No scraping skin, no butter bath (that makes sauce slide off).

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          • Jon Solberg
            Jon Solberg commented
            Editing a comment
            GREAT TIP Thank you!


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