Grilling chicken can be a bit frustrating as we all dislike dry chicken but fear eating chicken that has not been cooked enough. The general rule on chicken is to remember that whole chickens and chicken parts cook differently than chicken breasts. Here’s our take on perfect chicken grilling.
Chicken Preparation – Remember that anything that raw chicken touches, your counter your hands, sinks, should be completely washed with soap and water after use. Try and limit your chicken prep area to one section of your kitchen and have all the seasonings you need at hand so you’re not cross contaminating the handles of your appliances or kitchen cabinets. Always rinse your chicken in cold water and then pat dry with a paper towel.
Chicken Seasoning – Be it marinade, rubs, herbs, stuffing, or just plain kosher salt and EVOO seasoning your chicken is a great way to add flavors and enhance recipes. We recommend that you avoid rubs or marinades with sugar as it tends to burn on the grill. If you are going to baste your bird or add BBQ sauce, and your basting liquid or sauce contains sugar, apply the basting liquid or sauce near the very end of grilling.
Grilling Chicken Breasts
The method for grilling chicken breasts varies depending on if you are using Boneless Skinless Breasts or Bone-in Breasts.
Bone-in Breasts: When grilling breasts with the skin on, remember that the fat content will cause more flare-ups. Sear bone-in chicken breasts for about 4 minutes per side on direct medium heat and then move to indirect low heat and continue to grill for 18-20 more minutes until the breasts reach an internal temperature of 160° F
Boneless Skinless Breasts: Boneless skinless chicken breasts should be cooked over medium high heat. They will be cooked in about 10-12 minutes, turning once every 4 minutes. Boneless, skinless chicken breast should be cooked until an internal temperature of 160° F is reached.
Grilling Chicken Leg Quarters and Half Chickens
Grilled chicken leg quarters make an impressive presentation, as do half chickens. Grill 1 minute on each side over direct medium heat. Then cook about 30 to minutes using indirect medium heat turning every 5 minutes.
Quarters and halves should reach an internal temperature of 165° F in the center of the thigh.
Grilling Whole Chickens
Maybe the easiest of all to grill, doing a whole chicken on the grill is semi-foolproof. Use the Indirect grilling method such that half your grill is heated to medium and the other half with no direct heat. Place your washed and seasoned chicken breast side up on the “off” side of your grill.
After 30 minutes turn the chicken over and continue to cook indirectly for 30 more minutes. Resist the urge to peak as you don’t want to lose heat as the chicken cooks. Turn the chicken back to breast side up and using an instant read thermometer cook the chicken this way until it reaches an internal temperature of 165° F when measured in the center of the thigh (don’t touch any bone with our thermometer!).