Last Updated on March 21, 2022 by Ed Joven
Here are some Tips for Grilling Chicken
Grilling chicken should seem like such an easy feat but it is only once you have tried it out that you realize that there is more to it than you initially realized. The good news is that all you need to know about producing beautifully grilled chicken is right here.
Without further ado, let’s get started!
Choosing the Right Cut of Chicken
First things first – it is all about choosing the right cut of chicken. While all cuts – wings, breasts, and thighs taste equally great, thighs and legs hold up best to grilling. There is just enough meat here to be forgiving with the high temperatures of the meat. At the same time, there isn’t much as with chicken breasts, allowing these cuts to cook faster.
You should also look for bone-in pieces with the skin on. As Alex Delaney, contributor to Bon Apetit explains it, cuts with the bone in are tastier because when you cook them, the flavor in the marrow permeates the meat, offering up a meatier and tastier cut.
As for keeping the skin on, this helps to track moisture inside the meat during the grilling process. You are then left with a juicier end result.
Look for Similar Sized Pieces
Whenever possible, you should always look for pieces that are of a similar shape, size, and thickness to each other. This isn’t just for presentation. Pieces of a similar shape and size cook at a similar rate, ensuring that the entire batch is cooked together. This reduces the risk of overcooking or undercooking any one piece.
In case you decided to go ahead and cook an entire chicken breast, just make sure to pound it to an even thickness first. This levels the meat out and guarantees more even cooking. As an added bonus, it is also great for tenderizing the meat ahead of time.
Marinate the Meat
Always marinate your chicken before throwing it on the grill. This allows the flavors to really soak into the meat, making it a far better option to sauces or anything else you can serve after the chicken is cooked.
The basic components to a good marinade is salt, sugar, and acid as well as other flavorings such a garlic (or garlic powder), onions, etc. Now, it is up to you to decide what flavors to marinade the chicken in. It should be a good accompaniment to whatever you are serving your chicken with.
Just make sure to marinate the chicken for between 30 minutes to 4 hours, depending on how much time you have. There is no need to marinate for longer than overnight. Always cover and allow to marinate in the refrigerator.
Cook to the Right Temperature
The other trick to beautifully grilled chicken is cooking it to the right temperature. Now, this all depends on the cut of meat that you are grilling. In case you are grilling white meat, then you can heat until the internal temperature is 165 degrees.
Dark meat, on the other hand is different. Chef and pitmaster, Kristy J. Norton attributes this to the fact that dark meat has “abundance of collagen, far more than white meat. At a high temperature, this collagen begins to break down, turning into gelatin. This acts as a lubricant for the meat, making it seem tender and juicy”.
This is why you need to take it off the heat when it is closer to 185 degrees Fahrenheit. Otherwise, you will end up with meat that is a little too tough and isn’t nearly as tender.
It is a good idea o invest in a meat thermometer for grilling chicken and any other meat. This makes it a lot easier to hit that perfect temperature.
Let the Meat Rest
Last, but certainly not least, never cut into or eat meat that has just been taken off the grill. Instead, let it rest for ten to fifteen minutes. During this time, the meat will reabsorb any juices that has been lost. The bigger the cut of meat, the longer that it should rest for.
These are the top tips to follow when grilling chicken. After a while, they will become like second nature to you and you will be able to produce perfectly grilled chicken time and time again.
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