Grilling chicken is a great way to keep the heat out of the house in the summertime. Not only does it keep you from having to turn on the oven, 90% of the mess stays outside. But not everyone has a hand for grilling. Here’s an easy step-by-step guide on how to grill chicken, and how to know when it’s completely finished cooking, before you cook it to a piece of shoe leather.
Step 1: Prepare the chicken
Chicken breasts are the easiest part of the chicken to grill. But if you get the frozen kind, you’re probably going to have to trim off some fat when it’s defrosted, otherwise it will melt off and drain right into the grate underneath your grill rack, leaving layers of grease for you to clean out later. So before you get started with grilling, you need to make sure any undesired pieces are trimmed off the chicken.
Secondly, cut the chicken breasts in half lengthwise, or at least put a diagonal cut through the middle to let more heat penetrate. Arm yourself with a large fork or tongs and a steak knife, and head out to the grill.
Step 2: Fire up the grill
Grills vary, so I won’t give you instructions on how to turn on your individual grill. However, you’ll want to make sure the rack is hot before you put the chicken on, otherwise it will just sit there getting lukewarm and attracting a bunch of flies and gnats. Depending on the kind of grill you have, you’ll know it’s hot when the grease in the bottom of the grate has turned to liquid, or the rack begins to sizzle.
Step 3: Add the chicken
It’s now time to add the chicken. The number of pieces you’re grilling and the size of your grill will dictate how much room you have to work with, but you need to allow some space between the pieces. As a general rule, put the bigger pieces of chicken in the middle, towards the center or a little farther back, and put the smaller pieces towards the outer edges.
Step 4: Cooking the chicken
During the cooking process, you’ll need to flip the chicken. After the first five minutes you should flip each piece of chicken over. If the outside is cooking faster than the inside, turn the grill down and put another diagonal slice through the chicken.
After another two to three minutes, you can add the sauce of your choice. Sometimes I like to add Western dressing or Famous Dave’s BBQ sauce by putting a little sauce in a bowl and spreading it on the cooking chicken with a pastry brush.
Step 5: Finishing the chicken
Throughout the cooking process you should be rotating the chicken every couple minutes to keep it cooking evenly. The chicken will likely take 15-20 minutes to cook thoroughly. You’ll know that it’s done when pink juices no longer flow from the chicken when you pierce a fork or knife through. The skin on the outside will be thin and easily penetrable. Shut the grill off and put each piece of chicken onto a clean plate – not the same one you brought them out to the grill on.
You can find great chicken recipes and grill ideas at foodnetwork.com as well.