One of the rites of passage for summer cooking is grilled chicken, which is always the star of the evening, whether it is for a weeknight dinner or a big barbecue blowout. Grilled chicken can be used in so many ways. You can grill chicken breast pieces, wings, or leg and enjoy it on its own, slathered with some delicious sauces or have it with your salad and sandwiches. Here are a few guidelines to follow when grilling the perfect chicken dinner.
It is always best to use fresh chicken right from the grocery shop. If that is not available, then you can use the frozen version also. Make sure you separate your chicken from the other groceries and keep the wrapped chicken on a plate in the bottom shelf of the fridge. When using frozen chicken, make sure you do not thaw it on the counter and always do it in the microwave, as it cooks immediately. You should never partially grill the chicken and finish the cooking process later – ensure that you do it all at once and destroy all possible bacteria.
The marinade is an essential part of keeping your chicken juicy and tender with extra flavor. For best results, put some vinegar, lemon juice, oil, and lemon pepper in a pan or a medium-sized bowl and then add in the chicken. Flip and turn the chicken to coat all over and then cover it. Once it is covered, keep it in the fridge for at least thirty minutes and then drain and discard the marinade. Chicken does need to be marinated for long hours, as compared to beef and pork, mainly if the marinade contains acidic ingredients like lemon juice, vinegar, and buttermilk. It takes about thirty minutes to an hour for the marinade to work its way into the meat. Even if you are running late and have to grill the chicken quickly, even then set the chicken marinade aside, also if it is for ten minutes only, for best results.
Wet marinades are ideal for bringing in flavor but increases the cooking time for the skin on chicken since it takes longer for it to brown. Using the dry rubs for chicken keeps the skin dry and does not affect the cooking time.
Many people prefer not to use a lot of ingredients in their marinade, but even for the basic, salt and pepper is the simplest yet the most useful seasoning, especially if you plan to slather the chicken with sauce in the end.
Make sure you keep the heat at medium, and then with the help of tongs, place the chicken on the grill. You don't need to have a high temperature since it is not steak or burgers where you would prefer a good sear on the outside. Cover the grill and let the chicken cook for at least five to seven minutes. Then using the tongs, flip over the chicken and grill for another five to seven minutes or until the thermometer reads 165 degrees.
If you're using a charcoal grill and are unsure whether the heat is medium or not, hold your hand at least five inches above the cooking grate. If you can keep your hand there for at least five minutes, then the heat is medium.
Moreover, if you plan to brush the chicken with a sweet glaze, for example, barbecue sauce, then you should wait at least after a few minutes of grilling. This will ensure that the outside of the chicken does not get too dark because of the sugar from the glaze.
It is also advisable to use the right tools for your grilling process and never try to move the chicken on the grill with a regular kitchen spatula. Poking with a fork would cause the juices from the chicken to escape. It is best to use long-handled tongs on the grill.
You should not risk serving undercooked chicken. If in doubt, make a small cut into the thickest part of the chicken to ensure it is not pink inside. You can also use a meat thermometer and check whether the chicken has reached a safe internal temperature of 180 degrees for a whole chicken and 170 degrees for chicken breast.
This is the ultimate guide to grilling the perfect chicken, whether it is breast, legs, or wings. It is always good to use a thermometer to check for the doneness of the chicken, or else no matter how much effort you have put in the cooking process, nobody would like to eat raw chicken. When in doubt, use salt and pepper to season. Grilling chicken is a simple process, yet the final result is fantastic that it becomes truly rewarding!