Nothing screams summer better than a nice piece of perfectly grilled chicken. However, grilling chicken can be more difficult than it seems due to many things you have to keep in mind. For example, what type of chicken works best for grilling, how to prepare it, and how long you should cook it so that your chicken is neither raw nor too dry.
To help you get perfectly grilled chicken, we prepared this guide so you can learn everything about it!
What Chicken Cuts Work Best On The Grill?
Not every part of a chicken cooks well on the grill. You can break the chicken into sight pieces for grilling, two breast halves, two thighs, two drumsticks, and two wings. The best cut of the chicken for grilling is the breast. They are generally the easiest part to grill because it typically cooks more evenly and requires less attention.
However, if you choose to grill the thighs, wings, or drumsticks, you will have to watch them more carefully, rotating them more often to ensure an even cook.
How To Prep Your Chicken Before Grilling
Pound, poke, and let your chicken sit in the marinade for at least 15 minutes before grilling. If you have the time, it would be even better if your chicken could marinate a bit longer. Chicken is able to marinate in the fridge for at most 24 hours.
Start by pounding your chicken. It will make your chicken more tender and tasty. Pounding your chicken also ensures it is all equal in thickness and, therefore, will cook evenly.
After pounding out your chicken, it is time for you to season your chicken. There are a lot of good spices you can use to season your chicken. The best seasoning is salt, pepper, smoked paprika, garlic powder, dried sage, dried thyme, and onion powder. However, do not use sugar because it tends to burn on the grill.
The best marinades for the perfect grilled chicken are the simplest ones. They contain olive oil and lemon zest. Add lemon zest and olive oil to a bag or container with your seasoned chicken, and mix.
Poking holes in your chicken may not be required, but it is recommended because by doing it, the marinade will get inside your chicken making it juicier.
How To Grill A Chicken?
Now that your chicken has been prepped, seasoned, and marinated, it’s time for you to start grilling it. It is important to check the temperature of your chicken with a meat thermometer. A safe cooking temperature is 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Turn your grill on so it can warm up. Before putting your chicken onto the grill, make sure it is hot for a nice char flavor and grill marks. When you first start grilling your chicken, make sure it is directly over the heat and flame.
Now that your chicken is on the grill, do not move it around too much. It needs to cook for about two to three minutes on each side, possibly more depending on how thin you pounded it out. If your chicken is sticking to the grill, give it about 30 more seconds to cook. It should come loose on its own.
When your chicken is cooked, let it rest for three to four minutes before cutting it. It allows your chicken to keep its juices inside, making it more tender and tastier.
The worst thing that could happen to your grilled chicken is for it to become dry. You can still eat dried-out chicken, but it gets rubbery in texture and does not have the best taste. If your chicken is fattier, it may be hard to chew when overcooked. When your chicken is overcooked, it will change color from white to a more yellow-white color.
When testing your chicken’s temperature, poke into the thickest part of the chicken and not push it down. As mentioned before, your chicken is perfectly grilled when it is 165 degrees. Anything more, and you risk eating overcooked chicken.
To Wrap It Up
To have the perfect grilled chicken, make sure you have the best chicken cuts and pound and poke your chicken. Remember to season your chicken before marinating it to ensure it gets all the flavors. After you have let your chicken sit in the marinade for at least 15 minutes, it’s time to grill your chicken. It shouldn’t take too long, so leave it two to three minutes on each side. In the end, let your perfectly grilled chicken rest and enjoy!
Do you have a favorite grilled chicken seasoning? Share it with us below!