Today I decided to conduct a little experiment using a couple of off the shelf marinades. I'm not a big proponent of marinades for barbecue but I figured, what the hell I'll give it a shot. The two marinades I used were Stubbs Chicken Marinade and First Street Southwest Marinade from Smart & Final.
I prepared eight thighs total, four with each marinade. They were all put in the marinades overnight and seasoned with the same rubs.
I cooked them in my MAK Grill 2 Star. I altered my technique a little bit. I smoked the thighs at low temperature in an attempt to get more smoke flavor. Then I cranked it to 300 degrees to finish the cook. When the reached 170 degrees internal, I dunked them in sauce and put them back to caramelize the sauce a bit. The results were quite interesting.
First off the skin was inedible on both. I'll never do that low temperature smoke again. Second, and more interesting, the skin popped loose and shriveled on all of the Stubbs thighs but not on the First Street thighs. Also the rubs, never seemed to "melt" on the Stubbs thighs. That left them with an unpleasant sandy texture that was not apparent on the First Street thighs. Finally, both sets had a distinct after taste. The First Street thighs had a pronounced jalapeno flavor. It was not unpleasant but it was out of balance with the rubs and the sauce. The Stubbs had a weird after taste with pronounced citrus notes and something else that we couldn't identify.
While it could have been a bad mix with my rubs or sauce or the way I cooked them, I would never use the Stubbs marinade again. I would use the First Street marinade for a home meal but never in competition. There were far too many variables for this experiment to be conclusive, so go out and try them on your grill. Experimenting with BBQ is half the fun!