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The grill grate is clean, the rubs are in the pantry, and a pair of chicken breasts are waiting in the cooler. Ah, the grill of anticipation.
For this battle of barbecue rubs, I fired up the Weber and decided to put Fiorella's Jack Stack
and Plowboys BBQ
head-to-head. Fat City interviewed
Plowboys' Todd Johns last October after his team was named Grand Champion at last year's American Royal.
While both have several rubs, I opted for ones that were meant to go on chicken. Jack Stack has a KC Meat & Poultry Rub, and Plowboys has its Yardbird Rub.
I added a medium coat of rub, enough to get the flavor of each, but still taste the chicken underneath. And then I sat back with a Single Wide IPA from Boulevard to wait from them to cook.
Jack Stack: This rub lets the chicken do the heavy lifting. It's complimentary, not overpowering. I get pepper right away and then mild hints of garlic and onion, which nicely flavors the juices from the chicken breast. Plowboys
The end result is a versatile piece of chicken that would work on a sandwich or in a salad; but if I were eating it without additional dressing or condiments, I'd want to add some barbecue sauce for a touch more heat and sweet.
: Thanks to paprika, the chicken rubbed with Yardbird cooks up with a beautiful red glow. The sweetness comes from white sugar, so I kept the temperature right at 350 degrees -- at higher temperatures, it would have charred. It's sweet and salty, and has a nice kick of chili pepper.
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The winner? Plowboys BBQ Yardbird Rub. It adhered to the chicken a bit better and had big, bright flavors. It made chicken exciting on a Wednesday.
Jack Stack is the rub I've given to out-of-town guests since I got married in Kansas City five years ago. And it feels slightly dated, like the tortoise shell glasses I used to wear in middle school. I understand why I liked it at the time -- but my eyes have been opened to a lot of new possibilities in the three years I've lived here.
Plowboys is on top, at least until my next trip to Smoke N' Fire
in Overland Park.