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How To Grill Chicken


How To Grill Chicken

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How To Grill Chicken

How To Grill Chicken

A Comprehensive Guide to Grilling Perfect Chicken

Summertime is synonymous with grilling, and what could be better than sinking your teeth into a perfectly grilled chicken dish? Whether you’re a seasoned griller or just starting out, this definitive guide will equip you with the knowledge and techniques to elevate your grilling game and enjoy mouthwatering chicken every time.

Choosing the Right Chicken

The foundation of any great grilled chicken dish lies in selecting the right cut. Here are some popular options to consider:

  • Boneless, skinless chicken breasts: A lean and versatile cut that’s perfect for grilling.
  • Bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts: Provides more flavor and juiciness, but can be more challenging to grill.
  • Chicken thighs: Darker meat with more fat, resulting in a tender and flavorful grilled dish.

Marinating for Maximum Flavor

Marinating your chicken is essential for infusing it with flavor and keeping it moist. There are countless marinade options available, but some classic combinations to start with include:

  • Olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and herbs: A simple yet delicious marinade that complements any type of chicken.
  • Yogurt, spices, and honey: A creamy and flavorful marinade that tenderizes the chicken and adds a touch of sweetness.
  • Soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and sesame oil: An Asian-inspired marinade that imparts a savory and umami taste.

Achieving the Perfect Sear

A perfectly seared exterior is crucial for grilled chicken. Here’s how to get it right:

  • Preheat your grill to high heat: This will create the necessary surface temperature for searing.
  • Pat the chicken dry: Excess moisture can prevent a good sear. Use paper towels to thoroughly dry the chicken before grilling.
  • Season generously: Sprinkle the chicken with salt, pepper, and any other desired seasonings.
  • Grill for 2-3 minutes per side: This should be enough time to achieve a beautiful golden-brown sear.

Cooking to Perfection

Once seared, it’s time to cook the chicken through. Here are some tips for achieving even and consistent cooking:

  • Reduce the grill heat to medium-low: This will prevent burning and allow the chicken to cook evenly.
  • Use a meat thermometer: Inserting a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken will ensure that it has reached the desired internal temperature.
  • For boneless, skinless chicken breasts: Cook to an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).
  • For bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts: Cook to an internal temperature of 170°F (77°C).
  • For chicken thighs: Cook to an internal temperature of 180°F (82°C).

Resting for Juiciness

Once the chicken is cooked, let it rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing or serving. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in a more tender and juicy dish.

Grilling Techniques

In addition to the basic grilling techniques mentioned above, there are a few additional methods you can experiment with to enhance your grilled chicken:

  • Indirect grilling: This method involves grilling the chicken over indirect heat, away from the flames. This is particularly useful for bone-in, skin-on chicken or whole chickens to prevent burning the skin while cooking the meat through.
  • Rotisserie grilling: If you have a rotisserie grill, this is an excellent way to achieve evenly cooked, succulent chicken.
  • Smoked grilling: Using a smoker box filled with wood chips can impart a smoky flavor to your grilled chicken.

Side Dish Pairings

No grilled chicken meal is complete without delicious side dishes. Here are a few classic pairings to consider:

  • Grilled vegetables: Grilled peppers, onions, zucchini, and corn make for a colorful and flavorful side dish.
  • Potato salad: A classic summer side that pairs perfectly with grilled chicken.
  • Coleslaw: A refreshing and tangy side dish that balances the richness of the grilled chicken.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: How do I prevent my grilled chicken from sticking to the grill grates?

A: Make sure to preheat the grill grates and lightly oil them with a high smoke point oil like canola or grapeseed oil.

Q: What is the best way to check if my grilled chicken is cooked through?

A: Use a meat thermometer to insert into the thickest part of the chicken. It should read 165°F (74°C) for boneless, skinless chicken breasts, 170°F (77°C) for bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts, and 180°F (82°C) for chicken thighs.

Q: Can I grill chicken without marinating it?

A: Yes, but marinating enhances the flavor and keeps the chicken moist. If you choose not to marinate, make sure to season the chicken generously with salt, pepper, and herbs.

Q: How do I get a crispy skin on my grilled chicken?

A: For bone-in, skin-on chicken, pat the chicken dry, brush the skin with olive oil, and season liberally with salt and pepper. Grill over medium heat, skin-side down, until the skin is golden brown and crispy.

Q: What are some tips for grilling chicken on a charcoal grill?

A: Use lump charcoal for the best results. Light the charcoal and wait until the coals are white-hot and covered in ash before grilling. Arrange the coals in a two-zone fire, with a hot zone for searing and a cooler zone for cooking.