We’re sharing all the tips and tricks on how we make our competition chicken – we’ve earned a 180 and had several calls with this method.


Chicken Rub

Sweet and Savory with just the right amount of salt and smoke.  This rub adds the perfect flavor profile and color to competition chicken. Small: 7.4 oz | Large: 13.9 oz


Competition Chicken Thighs


  • Smoker
  • Jaccard meat tenderizer


  • 18 chicken thighs skin-on
  • 1 c salted butter we use Challenge Butter


  • 40 oz water
  • 1/2 c Kosmos Q Chicken Soak & Brine


  • Cimarron Docs Seasoning
  • Montana Outlaw BBQ Chicken Rub
  • Kosmos Q Killer Bee Honey BBQ Rub


  • 4 c Blues Hog Original BBQ Sauce
  • 1/4 c honey
  • 1/2 c apple juice


Meat Selection

  • When purchasing chicken thighs for competition, we get 18. We brine 18, and cook 16 to ensure we have the best 6 thighs for turn-in.
  • When selecting chicken: purchase it as close to the cook date as possible, choose a 2 lb packages with 4 thighs (consistent, good size for turn-in), and look for skin and fat that is a white color (not overly corn fed; white fat will render out better and give a good bite).


  • Trim 4 at a time and keep the rest refrigerated.
  • Remove skin and set aside.
  • Trim thigh into a square, including cutting off the "knuckle" bone. Remove excess fat.  
  • Lay out skin, trim into a square shape, removing fat and excess skin.  Replace skin on thighs, folding skin underneath to secure. 
  • Using a meat tenderizer, perforate top of thighs completely. This ensures the skin will release when bitten.
  • Place 9 thighs in a tin half pan. Always brine more than you expect to cook (brine 18, cook 16); this gives you a larger selection to choose from when you go to cook.


  • Mix ingredients in a large water bottle (like a Nalgene) and store in refrigerator for up to 4 days in advance.
  • After trimming, poor soak in half pan until thighs are completely submerged.  
  • Brine chicken thighs in soak for 2 hours.  
  • Remove from brine, do not rinse, and replace to half pan. Cover and refrigerator overnight (11-12 hours).


  • Choose the best 16 thighs to season - look for uniform size and shape.
  • Season underside, first. Apply medium coat of Cimarron Docs, medium coat of MOB Chicken Rub, and a light coat of Kosmos Q Honey Killer Bee. Flip and repeat. 
  • Place 8 thighs each in 2 half pans.


  • Tuck skin under and make sure thighs are arranged close enough to hold their shape. Allow room along the outside of the pan for butter.  
  • Slice a stick (1/2 c) of salted butter into 6 even slices.  Place 4 slices on the long sides, 2 on the short. Repeat for the second pan.
  • Let chicken rest in pans with butter for 45-60 minutes. 


  • Move pans to smoker heated to 300°-315°. 
  • Cook for 45 minutes, flip and cook bottom-side up for 15 minutes, flip back over and finish for 45 minutes to 1 hour.  Spritz with water as needed.  Remove when internal temp reaches 190°.


  • Combine glaze ingredients in a pan and heat.
  • Dip thighs in sauce and replace to half pan.   Reserve remainder of sauce for touch up as needed.
  • Place on pit at 300° for 10 minutes to set glaze. 


  • When building a box, place 6 thighs in a 3 x 3 configuration, "knuckle" side in.


Keyword Chicken, Competition, Smoker