The Bird is The Word: BBQ Chicken

The Bird is The Word: BBQ Chicken

Chicken, poultry, hen, bird, poulet, fowl, pollo, yardbird, fowl, clucker, capon….any way you look at it, The Bird is The Word. 

Chicken is a very popular offering here at the Hensler House, and it has been for years. When the kids were coming up, we had it at least once a week, sometimes more. This necessitated the duty chef to become very creative to maintain interest and appetite. The boys loved their yardbird, whether it was breaded strips of breast baked in the oven or thighs cooked on the grill then covered with barbecue sauce, they enjoyed the chicken. 

This was until I became involved in competition barbecue cooking. For the unfamiliar, at most contests, we cook 4 categories, chicken, pork shoulder, beef brisket, and pork ribs. Back in the winter of 2009 during the competition off-season, I decided to try and perfect my contest chicken cooking method. This entailed my purchasing, preparing, then cooking anywhere between 15 and 20 chicken thighs every weekend. 

The first week or three, the kids and their friends would line up to sample the finished product, many times before I even had them ready to go. In other words, they couldn’t wait, they wanted them some, they were in clucker heaven. This was great for me, I’d cook em’, taste test em’, then serve what was left to the waiting masses, easy peasy, no leftovers, no muss no fuss. Life was good.

This went along well for a few more weeks before I started to notice a reduction in the gangs’ enthusiasm when it came time to dine on the finished fowl. They were not lining up anymore, in fact, I had trouble even finding them after the cook was complete and when I did, they told me they weren’t hungry, they had just finished lunch. This was quite a shock to me as it was rather unheard of back in those days for anyone under the age of 18 to prepare lunch on their own and I knew in this case, I hadn’t made them anything….hmmmmmmm could something be rotten in the Hensler House? 

No problem, the neighbors had always said they would love to be taste testers. You should have seen the smiles I got when I first knocked on their door with that huge plate of freshly barbecued chicken thighs. By the second week, they all said they wanted to nominate me for neighbor of the year if such an award even existed. 

All was well in Chickentown for a while, but by weeks 4 and 5, things began to deteriorate right before my partially feather-covered eyes. As I stood knocking on the neighbor’s door, I discovered they were not at home. Well, at least no one answered the door and I had just spoken to them on the phone. What is up? All of their vehicles were in the driveway and I could have sworn I could hear the television playing. Wait a minute, did that curtain just move?….hmmmmmm ‘what in the wide wide world of sports is a goin’ on here?’ 

For the next couple of weeks, I stuck the finished poultry in the fridge and then on Monday morning converted it to chicken salad that no one would eat. Honestly speaking,

I was having trouble eating it myself. It was at this time my wife said she had something she needed to discuss with me and we needed to talk NOW! 

She sat me down and said I needed to stop, no more chicken!!! If I cooked so much as a chicken nugget the kids, the neighbors, and she were all going to leave, they all had their bags packed. She even mentioned something about having me committed or at the very least, professionally evaluated. 

It was then I realized that perhaps I had gone over the edge, maybe, as they say, there IS such a thing as too much of a good thing. Either way, I am thinking that going forward, I need to work on pizza, crab cakes, soup or salads, ANYTHING but chicken!!

Check out the recipe for George Hensler’s Chicken!


Do you have BBQ Chicken questions? You can ask George Hensler at

If you want to learn more about Think Smoke and everything BBQ you can visit our BBQ Supply store in Bucks County!

For more BBQ recipes or BBQ smokers in Philadelphia visit Smoken’ Dudes today!


Post a Comment