As promised, here’s a reblog from the Blogger site on my second attempt with the Pickled Pig Chicken Method:
Today I finished my second go round on cooking chicken using the Pickled Pig Method. I am learning where I need to tweak my execution of chicken preparation, so this was a good learning experience.
The goal today was to practice the de-boning/skin removal/thigh trimming steps that make this method quite labor intensive and see if I could get consistently sized thighs and “bite through skin”. I had twelve thighs I purchased from Whole Foods, and it took just about an hour and a half to de-bone, trim, remove the skin/scrape the fat and replace the skins on the folded trimmed thighs. I felt I worked steadily without sacrificing quality. Even so, I think I’d like to do this prior to arriving at a competition. The idea of scraping fat off chicken skin at 6:00 AM is not particularly appetizing to me.
This time around, I cooked the chicken in my Caldera smoker. I employed BBQ Guru’s Bob Trudnak’s suggestion to use one of the top racks so reflected heat off the top surface of the smoker would aid with crisping the skin. Since it was raining, I decided not to fire up my Weber gas grill for direct heat finishing and instead moved the chicken to a lower rack on the Caldera for the last ten minutes. This may have affected the end product. Here’s some pictures and comments/observations:
Trimmed thighs. I tried to make them all the same size, and perhaps a template of some sort will help me size them a little better next time.
Trimmed and wrapped thighs
Thighs in the half steam pan with margarine ready to go into the smoker
Thighs on the smoker grate after braising in margarine for 30 minutes
The finished product with collard greens!
- I probably used too much rub, as the chicken was a little spicy for my taste. I used Mike Mills Magic Dust, which is great stuff but perhaps on the strong side for this preparation. If I use Magic Dust next time, I will use less.
- I did get bite through skin on some of the thighs, but it is still hovering somewhere around 50 percent success. I will continue to work with the technique and see if I can get a better bite through success rate. Next time, I will attempt to scrape more fat off the skins. Also, I will try using a hotter direct heat grill finish next time as the high heat finish may crisp the skin a little better.
The texture was good, but brining may have given a bit more moisture. Next time I may try marinading in Italian dressing or a salt/sugar/honey brine for several hours prior to braising.