I've studied the best pitmasters to learn how they cook competition thighs. I've attended BBQ school. And now, I'm sharing what I've learned to help you create winning competition chicken thighs.
Peel the skin from the top of the thigh, leaving part of it attached. Scrape off any fat that is still stuck on the top of the thigh.
Flip the thigh over. Using shears, cut off the knuckle. Square up the ends with a knife.
Using scissors and a knife, trim out the fat pocket and vein near the bone, and trim off any extra fat.
Using a sharp knife at a 45-degree angle, gently scrape the fat from the underside of the skin.
Fold the skin back on top of the thigh. It should wrap around the meat like a present. If there is excess skin, trim it off.
Using your favorite rub, season the chicken on all sides, both under and on top of the skin.
Fold the skin back around the meat, focusing on appearance.
Heat your smoker to 275-300F degrees.
Place two teaspoons of chicken broth into each cavity of the mini loaf pan. Add a thin sliver of butter (about 1 teaspoon) to each cavity.
Place the seasoned chicken in the molds, skin-side down. Top with another thin slice of butter.
Smoke over indirect heat for 1 hour and 15 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the cook.
Using seafood forks, carefully flip the thighs over. Place them in the pan skin-side up. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt.
Smoke 45 minutes, rotating halfway through.
Place 1-2 tablespoons marinade and 2 pats of butter in a 2-pound aluminum loaf pan. Add 3-4 chicken thighs to each pan, skin side up. Repeat with 3-4 pans.
Smoke at 275F for 45 minutes.
Cover with aluminum foil, and cook for 20 more minutes.
Remove the thighs from the pan and set aside.
In a shallow bowl, combine 1/2 cup of the pan juices with 1/2 cup barbecue sauce and a pinch of salt.
Dunk each thigh into the sauce, and place on a baking rack.
Return to the smoker for 10 minutes to set the sauce.
Dunk in the sauce again. Box and turn-in.