Made right, grilled chicken can be your best ally, served hot or cold in a burger bun or chopped up in a salad. Check out these tips to avoid drying out chicken on the grill.
- Brine vs. Marinade? Or BBQ sauce? Brining is typically a salt and water mixture that is a great way to add moisture to chicken. Marinades are usually acid based and can add flavor while also making meat more tender. BBQ sauce can be added during the cooking process, although be careful if the sauce is sugar-based it will be more likely to burn. Or sauces can simply be added for flavor after the cooking is done.
- Brine: This is basically a salt and water mixture that will help your chicken retain moisture. You can add sugar or honey and spices of your choice or soy sauce for extra flavor. Dissolve the salt and sugar in hot water first. Add the herbs and mix with more cool water. Place the chicken in a baking dish or plastic bag with the brine. Let it sit for no more than 2 hours. Whether you’re brining a whole chicken or chicken breasts, the liquid should cover the chicken, so you’ll need anywhere from 4 cups to a gallon of water. With 4 cups of water, add just over 3 tablespoons salt and approximately 2 tablespoons honey. Add the herbs. Or if you’re adding soy sauce add approximately 3 tablespoons and a splash of olive oil.
- Marinade: Marinades add flavor and can help to make the outer layers of meat more tender. They usually have an acidic base of vinegar, wine or citrus—think lemon juice or teriyaki marinade with white wine. Marinades work particularly well with smaller, thin cut pieces of meat, such as boneless chicken breasts. Marinade for one to two hours before grilling, longer for tougher meat. If you poke chicken with a fork or make small knife slices in the breast, the chicken will better absorb the marinade. Marinating meats in plastic bags works well so that all of the outer edges of the meat are in contact with the marinade. Never use a marinade that has covered the raw meat as a sauce.
- BBQ Sauce: BBQ sauce can be added during the cooking process or used to add flavor after the grilling is done. Be careful in using sugar-based sauces on the grill as these will burn easily.
- Rubs: Rubs are usually a mix of spices salt and even sugar, that you pat directly onto the meat. It doesn’t offer any hydrating benefits but can provide super flavor. You can pat them on before cooking or leave them on overnight.
- For Best Results: For the best cooking results when grilling chicken breasts, flatten the breasts or pound them before placing them on the grill. To pound the chicken, place it in a plastic bag. And then use a rolling pin or meat pounder to pound the chicken until it is uniform in its flatness, usually about ¾ of an inch. If it’s too thin it will cook fast and likely turn out too dry. If you place a breast on the grill right out of the package it will have varying thickness, which will make it hard to cook without over-cooking certain parts. After cooking, be sure to let meat sit for at least five minutes so that the moisture, which tends to move to the surface during cooking, can redistribute itself throughout the meat.
- How to cook? Before placing chicken on the grill, make sure the grill is clean and oiled. Chicken is lean and does not have a lot of extra fat, so this helps to prevent the chicken from sticking to the grill.
- On the grill, chicken breasts should generally cook for 4-6 minutes a side on medium heat, roughly 375-400 degrees F. For a whole chicken heat grill to approximately 350-400 degrees Fahrenheit. Then turn off the middle burner. Place the chicken in the middle section and cook the chicken for approximately an hour to 1.5 hours (depending on size). Drizzle the outside of the chicken with olive oil about every 20 minutes. Chicken is done when meat thermometer reads 165 degrees Fahrenheit when inserted into the thickest part of the thigh.
- Direct versus indirect heat: Direct heat is the stuff that grill marks, yummy burgers and quick grilling foods are made of. This means food is grilled directly over the heat source. Indirect heat is often used for bbq-ing whole chickens, ribs or potatoes wrapped in tinfoil. For a charcoal BBQ items are placed in an area not directly over the flame or the hottest coals. On a gas grill, keep the outer burns on and turn the middle one off and place the food in the middle. Steaks and ribs, and even chicken are sometimes seared or flash cooked over direct heat and then placed over indirect heat to finish off the cooking.
Dry Rub BBQ Fryer Chicken
This chicken is easier than it looks to make and we promise it will bring praise from whomever your feeding it to. You can serve it with anything you like and the praise will keep coming.
In a bowl, peel and crush garlic cloves. Add cayenne pepper, Italian herbs, chili powder and sea salt. Mix together. Place fryer chicken on serving plate. Rub chicken with oil. Pat herbs and spices onto chicken, covering the whole chicken.
Turn BBQ onto medium-high. If there are three burners, after grill has heated to approximately 350-400 degrees Fahrenheit, turn off the middle burner.
Place chicken over middle burner that is turned off. Close lid of BBQ. Cook for approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes at approximately 375 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. About every 20 minutes lightly drizzle olive oil over the chicken. Chicken is done when meat thermometer reads 165 degrees Fahrenheit when inserted into the thickest part of the thigh.
1 Whole organic fryer chicken with dry rub
- 12 gloves garlic mashed
- 1-2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
- 4 teaspoons Italian herbs (oregano, thyme, basil)
- 4 teaspoons chili powder
- 4 teaspoons sea salt
- Olive oil