If you’re like us, when you think of hot summer days, you probably picture yourself eating something fresh off the barbecue. There’s hot dogs, burgers, and grilled vegetables, but nothing quite beats perfectly grilled chicken. It’s juicy, flavorful, and tastes especially good with a cold beer. It’s also a travesty when you don’t grill chicken properly, so here are six helpful tips that will make you the ultimate grilled chicken master!
1. The Cut Of Your Chicken Is Important
The cut of your chicken is a huge factor in your cooking time. Think of how you treat different cuts of beef: you don’t cook a sirloin steak the same way you cook a beef brisket. Which means you don’t grill a boneless, skinless chicken breast the same way you grill bone-in chicken thighs. There are several factors that come into play when you’re determining the cooking time for each. It all comes down to thickness, size, and whether or not there’s a bone. Look into the cook times of your chicken cut before you start grilling – especially if you’re serving a group of people!
2. Season First, Sauce Last
What’s great about chicken is how easily it absorbs flavor. In order to knock the flavors out of the park with your grilled chicken, season it before you put it on the grill. When using a marinade, let your raw chicken soak in it for at least 30 minutes. If you’re hoping for stronger flavor, let it marinate overnight. Now, if you want to sauce up your chicken with a barbecue sauce, it’s best to brush it onto your chicken ten minutes before its fully cooked. Otherwise the sauce will stick to your grill, and cleaning will be a nightmare. Feel free to add more once your chicken is fully cooked and off the grill.!
3. Sear Your Chicken First
Obviously, we’re not recommending you eat seared chicken. If you want those gorgeous grill marks on your chicken, searing your chicken first accomplishes that. It also adds that mouthwatering charred flavor you get from the grill, so you definitely don’t want to skip this step! The trick is to pat your room temperature chicken dry first. It takes the moisture out of the chicken, so it won’t stick to the grill. This also helps when you clean and oil the grill before you fire up your chicken. Whether you’re using a skin-on cut or thicker cut, you’ll want to sear both sides before moving to indirect heat so it cooks all the way through!
4. Cover It Up
We know, it’s hard to fight the urge when you’re hungry and want to catch a glimpse of what you’re going to be eating soon. However, you’ll reap the rewards if you keep your grill closed for as long as you can. It builds that smoky flavor that comes with grilling. Plus, keeping the heat in makes sure your chicken is cooked all the way through!
5. Take Its Temperature
Meat thermometers will be your best friend if you plan on becoming a grill master. Using a thermometer gives you more accurate results than eyeballing it. We guarantee that you will never have dry or underdone chicken again when you use this. If you’re cooking with a chicken breast, you want it to reach 160F in temperature before taking it off the grill!
6. Let It Rest
Letting your chicken rest after you’ve taken it off the grill not only locks in all of its delicious flavors, but it will also redistribute all of its juices throughout the meat. This means you will have a succulent piece of chicken! Let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes before you serve it!