The General's Championship Chicken Plus an Upscale Version

This is the exact recipe that The General competes with and wins with on the BBQ circuit. You, too, can be a winner with this recipe!

For the Rub

Lemon Pepper works really well, but for competition you might want to try Mike Mills’ Magic Dust as The General did last night. Mike is three times World Champion of Memphis in May and co-author of “Peace, Love and Barbecue.” The recipe for Mike’s Magic Dust is published in the book, but I decided just ordering the finished product is a lot easier than ordering all of the ingredients for our small test kitchen. Also, Happy Holla Rub is the one we always use in competition. Our good friend and mentor, Ed Roith, would love for you to order some of his rub! Or you can just use your favorite rub….

The trick here is to make sure that you get the rub underneath the skin. And always cook “skin on” chicken to prevent the meat from drying out too much. (Forget about health here, it is a matter of flavor!)

After you properly season the chicken, place in the marinade.

For the Marinade:

8 oz of chicken broth (I use Swanson brand)

24 oz Italian salad dressing

8 oz Grey Poupon dijon mustard

2 T minced garlic

Combine ingredients in a gallon size Ziploc bag.

Be sure to seal the bag tightly and refrigerate overnight or up to 24 hours.


Prepare your grill for indirect cooking. Remove chicken from marinade and check and make sure you did not lose too much of your seasoning in the marinating process. You may want to add more seasoning, but do not cake it. Remember rub is an accent flavor and should not be a predominant one.


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Melt some butter and add a small amount of garlic salt to it. Have your injection needle handy. Inject each piece of your chicken with the mixture. You play with this to get just the right amount for each piece.


Close the cover of your grill and get smokin’. (This is the time to light up a good smoke…like a Padron 4000.)

The little woman likes my ‘upscale’ chicken.

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To ‘upscale’ add bell peppers, salsa and Swiss cheese at the end of your cooking process. If you do this for a party, The General can almost guarantee you that you will get rave reviews.

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Now, if you are cooking competition DO NOT use the upscale recipe…you will be disqualified for “marking” your entry! On the subject of competition, there is an additional step that we do not do at home, but always do in competition. It is called “letting your chicken waller.” Jumpin’ Jim on the BBQ circuit gave The General this tip years ago. What does “waller” mean? It means taking your chicken off at approximately 160* and warming your sauce in a half pan and placing the chicken into the sauce for about one hour. (The chicken does not go back in the smoker when it is ‘wallering.’) After one hour, return to the grill over indirect heat and finish the cooking process…and you are finished when the meat reaches 170* internal temperature.

Over the last few years, just about every successful team cooks chicken thighs because they are the juiciest part of the chicken and give you less risk for drying out.

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