What is the best way to grill chicken? What is the best grilled chicken temperature? And how long to grill chicken is long enough? This is one of the most common grilling questions.
How long to grill chicken depends on a few things… the cut of the chicken, whether it is a whole chicken or maybe just legs and quarters, perhaps it is boneless breast, and how well done you like it. Some people like their chicken falling off the bone, and some like it DRY as a bone! So how many minutes to cook it is up to you and your desired outcome. Generally a good rule of thumb is to grill chicken no less than 30 minutes, turning several times for even cooking.
First things first though… Are you grilling on a charcoal or a gas grill? Are you grilling pieces or a whole bird? Are you grilling or just ‘cooking’ on the grill? Because today, you can boil, braise AND grill on most grills. So these things will make a difference with your time and preparation.
I’d like to cover “the how to cook chicken on a grill” part first. This will work for chicken breasts, leg quarters, wings or even entire chickens. Chicken leg quarters are more cost effective and can be substituted for chicken breast in any recipe. Chicken leg quarters have a higher fat content that will give you a juicy and flavorful choice for the grill.
Steps for grilling Perfect Chicken
1. Marinate or Rub. The best way to grill chicken is with a marinade. Wash the meat first. With cuts of chicken, rub it with some good seasonings to taste (I like garlic salt, and pepper) and then marinate it with Italian Dressing. Or if you don’t have that, then just use garlic, a small amount of vinegar, olive oil and some onion for your own home made marinade. Let it marinate for about an hour. If you choose a rub, Brush each piece with olive oil and season with your favorite rub or seasoning salt and pepper.
2. Prep the grill. Make sure it is clean by taking a wire grill brush and cleaning the racks. Take Pam grilling spray or a good dose of olive oil and rub it on the grill racks BEFORE you light the grill. Be careful though… Don’t apply oil to the open flame. Oil is flammable and too much will give you an out of control fire that you may not want!
3. Prepare the Grill. For Chicken, only heat one side of a gas grill or push coals to one side if you are using a charcoal grill. This is called indirect heating.
4. Preheat the grill to medium high heat which is 325-350 degrees. Grills cranked to high will easily reach 450 degrees. Chicken parts render off a lot of fat during cooking, too much heat will result in lots of fire.
5. Time to Cook on your already heated grill. Place the chicken directly over the heat and grill with the lid open for about 3 minutes per side.
6. Move the chicken to the away from the heat source to the other side of the grill. With the lid down, cook the chicken about 40-45 minutes for breasts and Chicken leg quarters, 30-35 minutes for legs and thighs. The best way to tell is with a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest portion of the piece. Although the normal temperature for grilled chicken to be ‘done’ is 165 degrees, 170 will ensure the chicken does not have any of that slight pink color that most people are hesitant to eat.
7. Add BBQ sauce or glaze during the last 10 minutes and let it set while you prepare your table to serve.
8. Bon Appétit!
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