How Long Do You Cook Chicken On The Grill
Ive found that it takes around 8-12 minutes to cook boneless chicken breasts on the grill, or 4-6 minutes per side. The thicker the chicken is, the more youll have to cook it.
In any case, I recommend using an instant-read meat thermometer to check for doneness. Your chicken will be good to go once the thickest part of each breast registers at 165°F. Full disclosure, I usually take it off a degree or two sooner since itll continue to cook for a little after its removed from the grill.
How To Grill Chicken Breast On A Gas Grill
- Coat both sides of chicken with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper or desired seasonings. Let the chicken sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
- Preheat gas grill before cooking to medium-high heat, or 350-400° F.
- Lightly grease grill surface and add chicken. Close lid and cook 8 minutes, or until bottoms are browned with sear marks.
- Rotate chicken, close lid, reduce heat to medium, and cook 7-10 minutes more, or until internal temperature reaches 165° F.
- Remove chicken breast from the grill and let rest 5 minutes before serving.
What’s The Difference Between A Brine And A Marinade
Both brines and marinades are meant to enhance plain meat, but they do it differently. A brine has more salt than a marinade, and meat gets totally immersed in a brine. It works because the salt penetrates the meat as the brine and the meat reach an equilibrium. Brining adds moisture to the meat that keeps it from drying out while grilling, helping it to come out juicy.
A marinade often contain oil, and the oil does not penetrate the meat. The meat is usually not immersed in a marinade. Marinade flavors only the outside of the meat so there’s a chance it will come out dry after grilling.
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What Is The Best Internal Temperature For Chicken
If you only remember one temperature, its 165 degrees F . This is the minimum safe internal temperature of chicken.
While you want to cook your legs and thighs a bit higher, you will know that theyre safe to eat.
Some recipes will tell you to cut the meat, and if the juices run clear, the chicken is cooked. Clear juices are not a reliable indicator of doneness. Depending on the age of the bird, juices might not run clear until its way overcooked.
How To Grill Split Chicken Breast
Grilling chicken breast with the bone in is no different than grilling the chicken without bones, except sometimes the amount of time it will take to cook varies.
So you might want to consider when youre grilling to have an area that you can put the chicken without direct heat under it after you have crisped up the chicken. We will cover this when we grill the chicken.
If you really like this type of chicken you will really enjoy my grilled chicken leg quarters.
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How Long To Grill Chicken
The cook times will vary based on the size of the chicken. Make sure to use a meat thermometer to ensure that the chicken is cooked to the correct temperature.
When preparing your chicken for grilling, you want to make sure that each chicken breast about the same size. You may have need to filet you chicken or pound it to thin it out.
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Tip #3c: Cook Briefly And Check For Doneness
In my experience, it takes chicken breasts only a few minutes per side over direct, medium-high heat to both brown and get cooked through at the same time. That being said, it’s a good idea to always use a two-zone firewith all the coals piled on one side of the charcoal gratein case the chicken browns before it’s done cooking through. This way, if need be, you can finish the chicken up on the cool side of the grill, covered, and avoid burning the breasts.
We almost always recommend using an instant-read thermometer when cooking meat, to judge doneness perfectly each time. You can try to use one here, too, but the truth is that with thin cutlets like pounded chicken breasts, it’s very difficult to get an accurate measurement of the temperature at the coolest part: Mere millimeters away from that part, the chicken can be much hotter.
A better way is to determine doneness by sight. If you’re unsure, just make a small incision in a breast, which will allow you to peek into the center to see if it’s cooked through or not.
If you do want to try to take the temp, 150°F is your goal. That’s a bit lower than the 165°F recommended by the FDA, but if you go as high as the FDA says, you’ll be guaranteed dry chicken breast.
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Tips For Grilling Chicken Breasts
- Pound to even thickness: Pounding the boneless, skinless breasts to an even thickness will help the meat cook more evenly, so you don’t have the extremes of raw and dry.
- Marinate the chicken in an acidic marinade made with lime juice. It’s almost like using buttermilk, but lime flavored. The acid helps tenderize the meat for grilling.
- Work with chilled meat: Since the chicken breasts have been formed into rather thin cutlets, take them directly from the refrigerator to the grill. That way, they don’t overcook in the time it takes to get nice grill marks on them.
Remove The Loose Pieces Of Meat Called A Tender From The Chicken Breasts
If your butcher has not already done so, remove the loose piece of meatcalled a tenderthat runs lengthwise on the underside of the breast. If left on the breast, the tenders give it an uneven thickness, making it more difficult to grill properly.
Simply grill the tenders separately: Theyre small size ensures they will cook quickly, needing only 1 to 3 minutes per side, depending on their thickness and the heat of your grill.
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Boneless Chicken Breast Or Bone
Boneless chicken breasts wont have as much flavor as the bone-in/skin-on variety. Thats why basting in BBQ sauce at the end of the cooking time is where youll find a lot of flavor. And when seasoned and cooked correctly, even my recipe for basic sauce-less grilled chicken breasts can taste flavorful and juicy every time.
Most chicken eaters prefer the white meat of chicken breasts. So for chicken thats cooked quick, I use basic, skinless, boneless chicken breasts. Of course you can use this same cooking method for skin-on, bone-in BBQ chicken breasts, or for legs and thighs too. The technique is the same, the cooking times will vary.
Larger chicken breasts do not always translate to better chicken. Bigger breasts take longer to cook, and cook unevenly or overcook. Look for chicken breasts that are between 6 to 9 ounces per piece. If youre chicken breasts are thin on the ends and fat in the middle, trim the thin ends off so they dont crisp and burn..
If you want an extra fast BBQ chicken breast, slice your boneless breasts in half lengthwise to make two thin cutlets. Theyll cook in half the time.
Cooking Temperatures Thermometers And Food Safety
When it comes to checking the temperature of cooked chicken nothing can replace a quality digital, instant-read thermometer. They are highly accurate, fast and reliable.
I will touch on other methods to check for doneness if you dont have one, but nothing is better or safer. I STRONGLY recommend you have an instant-read digital thermometer before you cook your first piece of chicken! if you dont have one, check out our guide to the best instant-read thermometers.
Now that you have a thermometer in hand, you need to know the temperature of a properly cooked piece of chicken.
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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.
Tips For How To Grill Chicken Without Drying It Out
Grilled chicken is an incredibly versatile food. I am a huge fan of the flavor and protein boost that grilled chicken can add to just about any meal, from salad to stir fry to sandwiches, creating an incredible meal.
However, theres an issue with grilled chicken: its often incredibly dry. Overdry, stringy chicken is far from incrediblemore like barely edible. Not exactly the stuff of culinary dreams.
Luckily, attaining perfectly moist, evenly cooked, flavorful grilled chicken is within reach for chefs at any level. By following some simple kitchen wisdom in the ways of grilling chicken, youll be guaranteed great results every time.
14 Tips for How to Grill Chicken without Drying It Out. Armed with these 14 simple tips, youll be well on your way to concocting perfectly moist grilled chicken dishes.
Buy the best chicken you can, from a trusted and ideally local source. The better the quality of the chicken you start with, the better the quality of your finished results. This guide is a helpful resource on how to buy the best chicken.
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Use Hardwood Chunks Or Make A Smoking Pouch For Extra Smoke Flavor
When ready to cook, brush or scrape the grill grate clean and oil it well. For extra smoke flavor, toss a a couple of hardwood chunks or a handful of soaked, drained wood chips on the coals before grilling.
If using a gas grill, make a smoking pouch by enclosing the soaked wood chips in a pillow of heavy-duty aluminum foil and poke holes in it with the tip of a skewer or meat thermometer to allow the smoke to circulate. Lay the pouch directly on the grill grate.
Alternatively, position one or two chunks of wood directly over one of the burners.
Can I Substitute Table Salt In The Brine
We don’t recommend using table salt in this brine. There’s a big difference between the size of kosher salt flakes and table salt grains. Using table salt will add much more salt to this brine recipe, and the chicken will come out too salty.
If table salt is all you have, use 1 1/2 tablespoons of table salt in this recipe. You can also use 1 1/2 tablespoons of fine sea salt.
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Should You Marinate Brine Or Rub Before Cooking Does It Affect The Cooking Time
Wet marinades and wet brining add flavor but can increase the cooking time for the skin on chicken. It takes longer for the skin to dry before it can brown.
Boneless cuts of chicken take the same amount of time, marinated or not.
Dry rubs for chicken will help the skin to dry and will not affect cooking time.
Keep in mind that good old salt and pepper are the simplest yet best grilling seasonings. The smoke from the charcoal while grilling will overpower more delicate flavorings like herbs. And, if you plan on slathering with sauce at the end, youll just mask the other flavors from the marinade or rub.
While this guide works well, it still comes down to what thermometer says. You cant rush quality.
I hope the information here helps you the next time you grill your chicken, whole or parts. Let me know what you think in the comments below, and I hope you found this article helpful.
Time To Grill Some Delicious Chicken
Before you grill your chicken, here are some important points to remember.
- Remember to not make the heat of the grill too high, as chicken has to be well cooked throughout.
- When it comes to chicken, it has to be cooked well. It is not safe to eat if it is still pink.
- If there is still blood or pinkishness in the chicken when you slice it, there is no harm in putting it back on the grill.
- Chicken dries easily, so marinating it or putting it in a brine is an important step.
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Grilled Chicken Breast Marinades
The recipe card below includes a Mexican-inspired marinade we like to use for making grilled chicken tacos, burrito bowls, and more. Its a pretty simple blend of canned chipotle peppers in adobo, orange and lime juice, garlic, cilantro, salt, and a few dried spices.
In case you dont have a go-to chicken marinade, heres a handful of ideas for different flavor profiles:
Should You Oil Grill Grates
Oiling your grill grate helps prevent food from sticking when cooking. To to this, dip a wadded paper towel in a little oil and, using tongs, wipe the oil evenly over the grate. Be careful not to use too much oil, because thats a sure fire way to start a good flare-upa little goes a long way here.
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How Long To Grill Chicken Breasts
According to the USDA, all poultry should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Using an instant-read meat thermometer is really the only accurate way to gauge your chicken’s doneness. But in the case that you don’t have a thermometer, cut into the chicken and ensure that the juices run clear. Here are the estimated grilling times for chicken breasts, based on an internal temp of 165 degrees F.
- Boneless chicken breasts: 7 to 8 minutes per side
- Bone-in chicken breasts: 15 minutes per side
Seasoning For Grilled Chicken Breasts
I have a suggested seasoning that you can adjust to your needs but use what you want. Most commercial seasonings are heavy in salt, and if used with a brined chicken breasts will be too salty for most tastes.
BBQ sauce will work fine the last few minutes on this, but I prefer to build up a base of the sauce and suggest you see How to BBQ Skinless Boneless Chicken Breast on a Gas Grill.
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Choose Your Cut Wisely
While fattier chicken thighs can handle going skinless, when it comes to grilling chicken breasts, its skin-on, bone-in all the way. Not only is crispy, rendered skin delicious, it protects lean, delicate meat from drying outespecially in an open-fire cooking situation. And the bone underneath insulates the meat from the flames, allowing for more even distribution of heat. If you have access to a butcher, ask for skin-on, bone-in breasts, and if youre looking at a supermarket selection, skin-on boneless is the next-best compromise, and most likely easier to track down.
How To Grill Chicken
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Easy Grilled Chicken Breast
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Grilled Chicken Breast is a quick meal with tender juicy chicken in a flavorful marinade. Its extra quick to make and perfect to enjoy on its own, add to pasta, or even put on top of a salad!
A quick and flavorful marinade and an even quicker grill time means this is meal on the table in no time at all!