From the heat of jerk chicken to the smokiness of classic barbecue chicken, grilled chicken is a summertime classic and a crowd pleaser. But while grilling chicken over a fire might seem straightforward, chicken is prone to drying out and sauces can be cloying. Over the years we’ve come up with the best grilled chicken recipes and all the techniques you’ll need for perfect grilled chicken.
Types of Fires
The biggest grilling mistake most people make happens before the food even hits the cooking grate: they set up the wrong type of fire. Here are the four grill setups we use in our grilled chicken recipes.
Easy Solutions for Common Grilled Chicken Problems
Dry meat, flabby skin, charred skin and skin that just won’t let go of the grill are all too common problems when grilling chicken. Here’s why they happen—and how to keep then from happening to you.
Breaking Down a Chicken, Making Parts
It may seem intimidating, but carving a whole roasted chicken isn't difficult. Here are the step-by-step tips you'll need to make this task effortless every time.
Avoiding the Top Grilling Mistakes
Preparing a grilled chicken recipe, whether on a gas or charcoal grill, takes practice, patience, and attention to detail. Here are some tips to ensure that your outdoor cooking remains rewarding, successful, and safe.
1. STAY AWAY FROM DANGEROUS LOCATIONS
Make sure the grill is located in an out-of-the-way spot several feet from your home (and children and pets, for that matter).
2. DON’T RUN OUT OF FUEL
You don’t want the grill to peter out before the food is cooked, so make sure you have enough fuel on hand. This means at least 6 quarts of charcoal.
3. KEEP YOUR GRILL CLEAN
Check the drip pan on your gas grill; built-up grease can be a fire hazard. On a charcoal grill, dispose of ashes left over from previous grilling before firing it up again. These ashes will affect cooking times and give off-flavors.
4. CLEAN AND OIL THE COOKING GRATE BEFORE COOKING
This will prevent foods from sticking and picking up off-flavors.
5. THINK AHEAD
Gas grills need to preheat for 15 minutes, and charcoal takes about 5 minutes once the coals are hot to achieve the proper temperature. Be sure to factor these times into your plans.
6. AVOID CROSS-CONTAMINATION
Use separate platters for raw foods and cooked foods, clean utensils after handling raw foods, and always dispose of leftover marinades. When basting chicken, pour what you need for cooking into a separate dish and set aside the rest for serving.
7. DON’T JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER
Chicken parts with nice grill marks can still be raw in the middle. An instant-read thermometer is the most effective tool for checking doneness.
8. BIGGER (AND HOTTER) ISN’T ALWAYS BETTER
Gas grills have knobs for a reason, so adjust the heat as necessary to keep things in control. For charcoal grilling, use only the amount of coals specified in the recipe.
9. SAVE THE SAUCE UNTIL THE END
Sauces are affected by intense heat. If the sauce is applied to your chicken too early, the sugars in it may char and become bitter. There are exceptions, but we typically apply sauces 5 minutes before the food is done.
10. WATCH THE WEATHER
If it is cold or windy, you may need to cook foods for a few minutes longer than directed.
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