It's almost painful to type the title to this article and I realize it's not very appetizing, but this topic is gaining more and more press in bbq circles.
We've had a good amount of success cooking bbq chicken in FBA and KCBS sanctioned contests. We've always cooked our chicken thighs "low and slow" to an internal temperature of 170 degrees. To this point we've never had an issue with the judges and I hate to jinx it by talking about it, but it's a topic worth exploring.
There's a discussion at HomeBBQ.com that talks about removing the veins in chicken thighs to help reduce the effect from "clotting" that even can cause blood to appear in chicken cooked to a conservatively high 180 degrees.
It sounds like I need to start paying more attention to my chicken thighs and try to "devein" them before my next cook. It can't hurt.
Competition BBQ Secrets