Biting into a dry, hard piece of grilled chicken is always a big disappointment. It’s the kind of food that can go from juicy and delicious, to stiff and unappetizing in minutes. To help save you from the upset that is dry chicken, here are five ways to grill a great chicken.
1. Even Out Your Chicken
Chicken can dry out very quickly. If you’re grilling a chicken breast, a good way to ensure you get an even grill is to flatten it out. Simply place the chicken breast in a resealable bag (so that the juices don’t go flying across your kitchen) and pound out the uneven areas with a flat mallet or rolling pin until the breast is even, but not too thin. You want to keep the height to about three-quarters of an inch. If you’re prepping bone-in chicken, you can spatchcook your bird to keep it more flat while grilling. Spatchcooking is a technique where you cut away the backbone of your chicken with kitchen shears, flip it over and flatten it out. Most butchers can spatchcook for you to simplfy your grilling.
2. Marinate Away
Once you’ve chosen your favorite marinade, it’s time to let the flavor soak into the chicken. Depending on the type of marinade that you use, marinating can take as little as 30 minutes, but shouldn’t ever exceed 10 hours. Marinating too long can actually make the protein molecules in your chicken toughen up, drying it out and making it more difficult to grill.
3. Prep & Clean Your Grill
Before you place your chicken on the grill make sure it’s completely clean and free of any leftover residue. Once your grill is clean, rub the grate with a non-stick cooking oil by dipping a paper towel in the oil and using tongs to spread the oil on the grill.
4. Grill Slow & Steady
Once your grill is good and clean, turn it up to a medium heat. Use tongs to place your chicken on the grill and cover for 4-7 minutes. Resist the urge to turn the chicken; you should only turn over the chicken once after one side is completely cooked. To make sure your chicken is cooked all the way, through use a meat thermometer. The ideal temperature for a boneless, even chicken breast is 165°. Since bone-in chicken can be thicker in some areas the ideal temperature is between 170-175°.
5. Baste, Rest and Eat
When your chicken is done grilling, you can add on your baste with a basting brush. Once you’ve taken the chicken off the grill, let it rest for at least five minutes so that all those delicious juices don’t escape with your first bite. After your grilled chicken has rested, it’s time to eat and enjoy!
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