There’s nothing like a backyard BBQ complete with all the fixin’s: pulled pork buns with a smoky BBQ sauce, your mother’s famous deviled eggs, sister’s potato salad, and of course, grilled chicken. The secret to great grilled chicken that has a soft, tender center with a flavorful, crispy skin, but misjudging the heat and grill-time can leave your wings raw or your thighs dry. Here’s how to grill chicken that tastes great and leaves you, your family, and your guests full and happy:
- Prep your bird. Bone-in chicken is usually more flavorful, but can be tricky to grill. Instead, try cutting the breasts and thighs into quarter-inch-thick strips, then pounding them out with a mallet. There’s no need to pulverize the meat, but aim for an even thickness from end to end. This method reduces cooking time and ensures that the chicken will be grilled and ultimately cooked more evenly.
- Marinate the meat. Marinade is critical to keeping your chicken juicy and kicking up the taste-factor. Place the cuts in a plastic bag with enough BBQ, hot sauce, or your favorite marinade to cover them completely. A mixture of vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice, and pepper will create a simple marinade with a classic taste. Seal the bag and let the chicken rest in the fridge for 30 minutes to 2 hours.
- Get grilling. Set the grill heat to medium and use a pair of metal tongs to place your marinated chicken onto the grates. Cover the grill for 5-7 minutes, then turn the cuts over and cook for another 5-7 minutes. When the time is up, remove each piece from the grill, cover with foil, and let rest for approximately 5 minutes. This is the secret key to keeping the chicken, as it allows the juices inside each cut to redistribute instead of running out onto your plate. The safe internal temperature for cooked chicken is 165° Fahrenheit (75° Celsius). A meat or instant-read thermometer is your best bet for determining the temperature of your chicken, and if you’re cooking a whole bird, it should be inserted into the thickest part of the thigh but not touching bone. Don’t have a meat thermometer? If the chicken is golden brown on the outside and off-white on the inside, it’s ready to slice and serve!
Grilled chicken is a healthy, delicious main course to serve by itself, but is versatile enough to be paired with hundreds of other dishes and flavor combinations. Serve it on fresh salads, stuff it into sandwiches, or shred it for chicken salad, soups and kabobs. Take your grilled chicken to the next level with Chef Lynn Michele’s recipe. Happy grilling!
Chef Lynn Michelle’s Grilled Chicken
- 6 lbs boneless chicken breasts
- 1 cup of grey poupon mustard
- 1/2 cup of italian dressing
- In a resealable plastic bag, or flat container with lid, mix dressing and mustard.
- Add chicken and marinade for 6 hours (or overnight if you have time)
- Before you turn on your grill, spray it with pam.
- Heat your grill so it’s nice and hot.
- Place marinated chicken breasts on grill meaty side down to get a great grill mark- then turn it about 15 degrees to get a nice bar-b-que cross grill mark
- Grill over hot grill 10 minutes on each side or until chicken is no longer pink (cook until internal temp reads 160)
- Remove from grill and let rest 15 minutes