The One Tool You Need for Perfectly Grilled Chicken

Raise the bar on your barbecue with this top tip from a pitmaster.

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"Big Moe" Cason makes Memphis-Style BBQ Chicken Thighs, as seen on Food Network's The Kitchen

Looking to upgrade your barbecue chicken this grilling season? Take a page out of pitmaster Marlando “Big Moe” Cason’s book. The grilling extraordinaire has competed at more than 300 cook-offs across the country and has received perfect scores for his chicken.

This Saturday on The Kitchen, Big Moe shows the crew how the use of a meat tenderizer not only keeps his award-winning Memphis-Style BBQ Chicken juicy, but also gives the skin an incredible bite. He uses the kitchen tool to perforate the skin before placing it in a two-hour brine made up of sugar (brown or white), salt and water.

"Big Moe" Cason makes Memphis-Style BBQ Chicken Thighs, as seen on Food Network's The Kitchen

“The big kicker is the skin. That’s the thing you have to master – bite-through skin for chicken,” said Big Moe. “When the judge picks that chicken up, or your family and friends take a bite, you need to be able to bite through like a piece of chocolate cake.”

Big Moe says high heat is one way to achieve “bite-through skin,” but you run the risk of overcooking the actual chicken. A brine will make the chicken savory and juicy but can cause the chicken skin to be rubbery. He suggests the use of the meat tenderizer to work against the unpleasant texture and aims to cook his chicken between 275 degrees F and 300 degrees F.

Upon tasting, Jeff Mauro said, “It’s the best thigh I’ve ever had.” Sunny Anderson also praised the chicken’s sweet and tangy BBQ sauce and reminded everyone why Big Moe is a true pitmaster.

Watch new episodes of The Kitchen Saturdays at 11a|10c.

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