Grill Over Indirect Heat
I know our tendency when grilling is to cook hot and fast from start to finish, but we can tear a page out of the low and slow playbook to really improve the overall texture and tenderness of our grilled chicken breast. The key is to bring the chicken up to temperature over indirect heat. This means you have direct heat going on half of your grill and no heat on the other half.
Your chicken breasts are going to be grilled on the indirect heat side of your grill where the heat is circulating and cooking the chicken without charring the outside edges of the chicken or burning those thin ends to a crisp before the middle is done. Your overall grill temperature should be hovering around 350 degrees F. This means you will have juicy, flavorful chicken from edge to edge!
Use a great internal thermometer in the thickest part of your chicken breast to check the temperature of your chicken as it cooks. I recommend an instant read thermometer from ThermoWorks. Your target temperature for this indirect cooking step is 150-155 degrees F before moving on to the next step. If you can keep your grill temperature at 350 degrees F, depending on the size of your chicken, this should take about 20-25 minutes.
Dry Brine With Kosher Salt
This is a trick to get your chicken skin to tighten up a bit and also get rid of some excess moisture on the surface so that you can get crispier skin.
Simply add a generous amount of salt to the entire part of the chicken quarter. Dont be afraid of the amount of salt, some will not be pulled into the meat and fall of on the grill.
Put the chicken into the fridge uncovered for at least 4 hours. You can go more or less with mixed results. Longer is typically better.
This is an important step if you want to get amazing grilled chicken leg quarters.
Tip: Doing a brine is also a great way to add flavor and crispiness to chicken wings and chicken breasts. And dont forget grilled chicken drumsticks!
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Actor David Boreanaz + Rach’s Comfort Food Pasta Dish
Becoming a grilling expert takes time , so we brought in someone who says himself he has “years of experience” grilling chicken, sausage, veggies and more.
And speaking of burning, that’s definitely something you want to avoid on BBQ night. So once you’ve got the prep down, how do you know what order to cook different kinds of meat and poultry in so they’re all done around the same time?
“Generally speaking, things that are fattier take a little bit more time, and they also have a larger window of success to hang out near the grill,” Richard says. “Things that are super lean, you want to cook those last like chicken breasts.”
Here are a few more helpful hints on timing when it comes to grilling meat and poultry.
The minimum internal temperature recommendation for ground meat is 160 °F.
Heat your grill to medium . Use direct heat and cook sausage for 18-22 minutes, turning occasionally, to reach an internal temperature of 160 °F.
Because sausage has a lot of fat, you can cook early and it can rest, Richard says.
The minimum internal temperature recommendation for poultry is 165 °F. Heat your grill to medium . Use direct heat and let all poultry rest for 15 minutes off the grill before serving.
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How To Grill Chicken Wings
There are several ways to grill wings, but first, lets look at the wing itself.
Wings can either be left whole or separated into drumettes and flats. With this method, I remove the wingtip, saving them with additional chicken parts for a future batch of chicken stock. Separating the wing creates more work on the grill, but in my opinion, it makes for easier eating one-hand eating especially when the other hand is clutching a beer.
Now, on to the grilling part!
How Long To Grill Chicken Leg Quarters
Since legs and thighs have the biggest bones, it takes longer to cook than the breasts or wings.
Youll want to grill whole chicken legs over indirect heat for 30 to 40 minutes, turning every 15 minutes. Finish over direct heat for about 10 minutes, 5 minutes per side.
Because of the dark meat and bones, you want to wait until the internal temperature is 180 °F to 190 °F before taking them off the grill. 165 °F is safe, but at 180 °F the meat tastes much better, and it will be tender.
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Internal Temperature For Dark Meat Chicken
Dark meat chicken is technically good to eat at 165°, but its better to reach a minimum internal temperature of 175° or higher . This type of chicken has more connective tissue than white meat chicken, so it needs higher temperatures to break down. Its similar to lean beef tenderloin versus fatty beef brisket: Beef tenderloin tastes great at rare or medium-rare temperature, but beef brisket needs to reach 195° to 200° to become tender.
Using lower, slower cooking methods is best for dark meat chicken. Roast dark meat in a 300° oven, braise it in a flavorful liquid or cook it over indirect heat on the grill.
The Ideal Temperature For Grilled Chicken
When you grill chicken, you want to get the internal temperature to 165 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature is lower, the meat will be undercooked and run the risk of food poisoning. If its higher than that, the meat will be overcooked and dry.
If the temperature is right, the chicken will be cooked through . The juices will run clear and will have an internal temperature of 165°F.
Always check the grilled chicken temp with an instant-read thermometer. Insert it into the thickest part of the chicken, like into the thigh or leg, and look at the thermometers display.
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The Three Main Temperature Ranges
Low & Slow –
When you want to cook low and slow, you should aim for a temperature of between 225 to 275 Degrees Fahrenheit. In order to reach a higher temperature you can adjust the vents to create more heat.
The best thing to do when you reach a temperature of 225 F is to open the top vent about two-thirds of the way open, and it should get you to 250 F. You can leave the vents alone as soon as you get to the temperature you want.
On a windy day, you might have to leave the vents closed slightly more so the wind doesn’t sneak in and prevent excess flames.
Mid-Heat Range –
The mid-heat temperature range is going to be between 375 to 450 Degrees Fahrenheit. This is a great temperature range if you want to add a nice sear to your food.
To achieve this range, leave your bottom vents about half-way open and leave your top vents open all the way .
You’ll have to make sure you have an idea of checking the grill temperature as it’s vital to know whenever you’re grilling. You can purchase high-quality grill thermometers if you need one.
High-Heat Range –
Use this range when you want to grill at temperatures of 450 Degrees Fahrenheit or higher. Leave both the top and bottom vents completely open for maximum heating results. To reduce the amount of heat you can adjust the top vent to between fully open and halfway closed.
Chicken Wings And Chicken Drumsticks
Its difficult to check the temperature on chicken wings and drumsticks. The goal is to insert a thermometer into the thickest part of the meat without touching bone, but wings dont contain a lot of meat and drumsticks have a large bone running through the middle.
If you cant get an accurate reading, you can tell if chicken drumsticks and drumettes are finished cooking by looking at the meat on the skinny side of the leg. The meat should shrink up, and you should be able to see a lot more bone than you could when you started cooking.
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How To Season Grilled Chicken
While you can always use a , my go-to method of seasoning grilled chicken is with a generous sprinkling of spices.
My friend Deborahs Jerk Seasoning Mix looks like another great option too!
Dont have a spice blend ready to use? Just sprinkle each piece of chicken with salt, pepper, garlic, and paprika for an easy and very tasty option.
Im not including spice amounts here, because its subject to a number of factors size of the chicken pieces, amount of meat youre cooking, how spicy you like to make things etc.
You just want to sprinkle the spices generously enough to cover each piece without coating it completely and causing it to become salty.
Once youve made this a few times, you wont even need to think about it.
Top Eight Tips For Grilling From Top Chefs
- Season the best meat at least one hour before cooking
- Light the grill one hour prior to grilling
- Let the meat to come to room temperature before cooking
- Add flavored wood to your coals for delicious extra flavoring
- Cook over a range of heat
- Rest meat halfway through grilling
- Allow meat to rest a minimum of 10 – 15 minutes after taking it off the grill smoker combo
As you can see, there’s a “resting time” which will allow all the juices, flavors, and taste to settle into the meat after the grilling. Its and resting your meat halfway through grilling , will all go a long way in giving you a juicier, more tasting, flavorful meal. Make sure you don’t forget to do both of those things, as it will provide you with much better results.
You’ll be able to tell a huge difference , from eating the meat when it gets directly off the grill and letting it set for the proper resting time.
Also, remember never to flip any meat with a barbecue fork, this will let all the juices run out of the meat and into the fire, thus causing your meat to dry out faster.
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Do You Put Kabobs Directly On The Grill
Using skewers, thread meat cubes onto the sticks, about 4-6 pieces per stick. Prepare the grill for direct grilling over medium heat and allow it to warm for 10-15 minutes before you begin to cook the meat. Clean the cooking grate with a stiff brush. 5) Now, grill the Kabobs over direct medium heat, rotating once or twice, until they are cooked through.
How Long To Grill Chicken
Cooking chicken on a grill can take anywhere between 10 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of the chicken and how hot your grill is.
There are a few factors to take into consideration when determining how long it will take to grill chicken. How big the chicken pieces are or if you are grilling a whole chicken?
Whether it has the bone in it or not, and the temperature at which you are grilling are also factors to consider. Also what kind of grill are you using, gas or charcoal?
Generally, smaller pieces will cook faster than larger pieces. Additionally, bone content will affect cooking time. The higher the temperature of the grill, the less time it will take for the chicken to cook.
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Key : Pound Your Chicken
One of the keys to moist juicy chicken breasts is to pound the breasts flat before cooking. People often think of boneless, skinless breasts as ready to cook, but, when it comes to grilling, thats just not true. A chicken breast is a thermal-gradient nightmare! Look at this illustration of the thermal gradients in an un-pounded chicken breast. The thick part will be much cooler in the center than the thin bit at the end. By the time the center is up to temperature, the edges will be super dry.
In tests we have conducted in the past, we measured the gradients within chicken breasts by measuring temps at different locations. We found that in unflattened breasts, the temperature swing from center to edge could be as wide as 53°F . However, flattening out the chicken also flattens out the gradients:
By pounding out the chicken breasts to a relatively even thickness, that gradient was pushed down to 19°F . The more even the thickness of the meat, the more uniform the heat transfer rate will be. The result is a more homogeneous final temperature. Flattening out the meat is a step that just makes sense and has a real impact.
Kenji with seriouseats.com has explained how flattening chicken breasts yields a superior finished product:
How Long Do I Grill Chicken
In conclusion, the average grilling time for all chicken cuts is 10 to 12 ounces bone-in chicken breast, cooked for 30 to 40 minutes over indirect medium heat . 30 to 40 minutes over indirect medium heat for a bone-in leg or thigh 4 ounces of boneless, skinless thigh cooked for 8 to 10 minutes over direct high heat .Also interesting: How Long Do I Grill Chicken?
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Is 145 Safe For Chicken
According to ThermoWorks, pasteurization of chicken is obtained by reaching 165° or by holding chicken at 145° for 8-1/2 minutes. Both of these methods kill harmful bacteria like salmonella and E. coli. Thats why you may see some sous vide recipes that call for cooking chicken at lower temperatures. That said, you should use the USDA recommended temperature minimum of 165° if you have any concerns about food safety or if youre feeding an at-risk population.
A Brine For Chicken Breasts And How To Cook Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts On The Grill
- Pounding the chicken breast to an even thickness results in more even cooking throughout.
- Brining the chicken breast helps the meat retain moisture during cooking.
- Drying the breast well before grilling leads to quicker browning.
In our constant quest to deliver the best of the best via the Serious Eats grilling recipes, with fancy dishes like homemade merguez sausage and peppered duck breast, it’s easy to lose sight of the basics. And there’s one really basic basic that no grilling recipe collection should be without: grilled chicken breast.
Despite their ubiquity, chicken breasts are arguably one of the most difficult of the standard meats to grill. It’s all too common of an occurrence to find yourself with dry, chewy, cardboard-y meat. This is all correctable, though, and chicken breasts can be fantastic on the grill it just takes a little know-how. This article will tell you everything you need to know about how to grill chicken breasts, including how long to cook them and a couple easy tips to ensure you don’t end up with tough, rubbery, dried-out grilled chicken.
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How To Prepare And Preheat Your Grill
While your chicken is marinating and before youre ready to grill it, its important to get your grill ready.
How Long Do You Cook Chicken On The Grill
Grilled chicken is a summer classic and is a nice switch up from the all-American burgers or hotdogs.
How long it takes to grill chicken is a common question that is asked but doesnt have an exact answer, for a few reasons.
There are several different kinds of chicken parts, some with bones, and some without, some large and some small. All will vary in grilling time.
The type of grill and more importantly the temperature of the grill are big factors in how long it will take your chicken to grill.
In this post, I am going to go over how long it takes to grill all of the different chicken parts so that they come out juicy and delicious every time!
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