- Done right, grilling imparts additional flavor and eye appeal to chicken, but the trick is to avoid the overdone-outside-underdone-inside trap. Fortunately, there are a number of methods that will consistently produce perfectly cooked, gorgeous results. Partially cooking the chicken in advance of grilling (see Method 1) is one way, but grilling raw chicken can produce excellent results with both boneless and bone-in chicken pieces.
- Always start with chicken you have thoroughly washed, dried, and trimmed of excess fat.
- When ready to grill, heat either a charcoal or gas grill to a medium heat level, about 300° F, or until you can hold your palm over the heat at about cooking level for approximately 4 seconds. Make sure the grate is good and hot, and it can be useful to either brush it with oil, bacon grease, or use a grill non-stick spray just before adding the chicken.
- If the cooking temperature is too hot, the outside of the chicken will cook too fast. The result is either a dried out piece of meat or it will be charred on the outside while still raw on the inside, so producing outstanding grilled chicken depends on indirect heat, cooking temperature, and timing.
- Bone-in and boneless chicken can be cooked on the grill from the raw state. Bone-in will take more time to cook thoroughly. Clean the chicken and prepare the grill as noted above. The secret is to sear the chicken over direct heat to retain juices and then finish cooking with indirect heat. Chicken can also be marinated in advance to add additional moisture, especially if a sauce is not used during the grilling process.
2. If using charcoal, when the coals are ready spread them evenly over only one-half of the grill bottom. If using gas, turn off one burner after the grill is preheated.
3. Place chicken skin side down directly over the hot coals or gas flame and cover the grill.
4. Cook until the skin is seared; turn and sear the other side. Keep the grill covered while cooking, but watch for flare-ups.
5. When both sides are seared, remove chicken to the side of the grill without the coals or the gas flame to finish cooking over indirect heat.
6. At this point sauces can be applied to the chicken if desired. These three sauces are easy to make and delicious on chicken, beef, pork, or seafood.
7. Turn the chicken every 10 minutes or so and brush with sauce again until the chicken is done with an internal temperature of about 160° F. Boneless breasts will cook thoroughly in only 15-20 minutes. Meaty, bone-in pieces will require 35-45 minutes of cooking over medium-low heat.
8. When the chicken is done, place over direct heat for a few minutes to caramelize the sauce and add deeper color if desired.
That’s all there is to it. Watch it, turn it, baste it, and enjoy the accolades for mouthwatering grilled chicken!
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