Chicken 101: Mini recteq Academy Course

Today, it’s all about the chicken and we are coming in smokin’ hot with ALL the info. In fact, you could call this a mini-recteq academy class, rolled into a series of blog posts. Have you heard about recteq Academy?

recteq Academy is the ever-popular workshop at recteq HQ that gives you an incredible taste of competition-level cooking skills using the recteq wood pellet grill. There is always a waiting list, rave reviews, and unbelievable results every time recteq offers this popular course. Whether you have been to recteq Academy and would like a little refresher, or if this is all very new to you, we hope the recteq 101 Blog Series will prove helpful and we know it will be delicious.

In this mini recteq Academy series, we’re giving you insider tips on all the best ways to recteq your way to delicious cooks time after time. Last time, we served up recteq Brisket 101 and broke it down step by step to give you a mouth-watering brisket that is worth the wait. Today, with the help of our expert panel, including Chef Greg, we’re sharing all the best tips for mastering chicken.

Chicken Thighs Done Right

Here at recteq, we often say that chicken thighs are a great first cook, but they are also a great crowd-pleaser to have on standby. Chicken thighs are a cheap, quick option that will benefit from cooking beyond the safety marker of 180°F because of the high fat content. That’s why chicken is a great easy starter recipe, because it’s truly hard to mess these up. We know once you’ve gotten a taste of these chicken thighs, they’ll become a favorite meal for your family.

For chicken thighs, preparation is super simple. Trim any excess fat, especially the thin pieces around the edges along with any veins. Removing those extra fatty edges will prevent potential grease fires. If you really want a competition-level chicken thigh, you’ll want trim it up even more neatly.

Pro Tip: Craving white meat? Chef Greg recommends split chicken breast over boneless, skinless chicken breast.

Any of our recteq rubs will work great for chicken thighs; it’s just up to your personal preference. Try mixing different rubs for even more flavor. Chef Greg says, “just like us, the rubs are all friends” and each brings “flavor to the table”. Just sprinkle the finer one on first, followed by the heavier rub. Sprinkle the rubs high, heavy, and evenly for the best results. Cook these chicken thighs on your wood pellet grill at 400℉ for about an hour.

Pro Tip: Use duck fat spray and higher temps, over 325°F, to get a seriously crispy skin.

bbq pulled chicken sandwiches smoked chicken legs on a recteq wood pellet grill

Spatchcock Chicken

Ready to cook a whole chicken? Don’t be intimidated to try Spatchcock chicken; Chef Greg promises us that it’s super easy and says that once you spatchcock, you won’t go back. In this video, he shows us how to spatchcock a chicken. What makes this method so delicious? Flattening out the chicken gives it a more aerodynamic way of cooking. You’ll get more surface area for direct heat, crispy skin, and tender flavor. Remember, dark meat benefits from overcooking, so this way the whole chicken gets the direct heat it needs. It’s also a faster way to cook, so it’s a win/win. After you’ve cut it and seasoned it, cook it on your recteq at 325°F and start checking it about the 90 minute mark.

Pro Tip: A 6” knife will work just fine to spatchcock chicken, but if you want an even easier method, grab a pair of poultry shears.

You might notice a pink tint to the outer layer of your chicken and worry that it's undercooked. This isn’t a raw area of meat; it’s just the flavorful “smoke ring” that cooking on the wood pellet grill provides. It’s delicious and totally safe. In fact, a smoke ring means bragging rights when it comes to backyard cooks.

Pro Tip: Remember, we cook to temperature, texture, and probe-tenderness, not time.

BBQ Chicken Success

At recteq, we often say that your 100th cook will be better than your first. It’s not just because we know that your cooking skills will improve with each meal, it’s also because your recteq will be building up a delicious seasoning that will enhance the final product.

It's a great idea to keep notes on your cooks for future reference. Just simple facts like times, temps, seasoning, and recipes you referenced will prove helpful. This will help you gain proficiency and confidence in using the recteq; pretty soon everyone will be asking your advice when it comes to grilling!

Pro Tip: “When it comes to cooking on the recteq wood pellet grill there is no secret sauce. The secret is that the grill is doing the work for you” – Chef Greg

Looking for more chicken inspo? We have to recommend the Smoked Pulled BBQ Chicken Sandwich, finger-licking Smoked Nashville Hot Chicken Wings, or classic Smoked Chicken Legs. What’s your favorite way to prepare chicken?