Grilled chicken is a household favorite and can be incredibly versatile. However, the only thing that can get in the way of a perfect piece of grilled chicken is it being overcooked and dry. Grill a piece of chicken and put in a stir fry, sandwich, or salad. Read below to learn how to perfectly grill chicken without drying it out. A guide brought to you by our experts in Springfield, Illinois at Loukinens on 4th.
Thaw Chicken Before Grilling
When you decide to grill chicken, make sure you take it out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before grilling it. Cold chicken on the grill cooks unevenly, overcooking the outside while the interior is still cold and raw. Don’t leave your chicken out for too long, 30 minutes is the perfect amount of time to ensure even cooking.
If Chicken Thickness Is Uneven, Pound It
One of the most popular cuts of chicken to grill is the chicken breast, and normally they are uneven pieces of meat. The tapered edges cook much faster than the thicker middle, giving you burnt edges and dried out chicken. The solution? Pound your meat to an equal thickness and make sure all pieces are uniform in size for a nice and even cook.
Salt is Key
While we encourage to dry various types of chicken marinades and spices to bring you your perfect piece of chicken, salt is the key and not just for flavor, it helps seal in moisture. Before grilling chicken, generously season the chicken with salt.
Skinless Chicken Is Grilled Different Than Chicken With Skin
Chicken with skins and/or bones isn’t cooked the same way as chicken without it. Skin helps with insulation, so if you are grilling a boneless, skinless chicken breast, it cooks for less time than chicken cuts with skin. Chicken with skin needs more time to cook and can be more forgiving with overcooking.
Prepare Your Grill Correctly
It doesn’t matter the type of grill, charcoal or gas, it is important that it is set up for success. This means having a grill surface that is completely clean, lightly oiled with a high smoke point oil (vegetable works great) to prevent the chicken from sticking.
Don’t Have The Heat Too High
While steak requires a high heat to create a beautiful sear and is quickly cooked on the grill, chicken doesn’t cook well under the same type of heat. If the grill is too hot, the chicken will be burnt on the outside, raw on the inside. Chicken is best grilled on a lower temperature. Medium-low on a charcoal grill and medium on a gas grill is the ideal temperature for perfectly grilled chicken.
Don’t Overcook It
The most important part of eating grilled chicken is making sure you don’t overcook it. For a medium sized chicken breast, you want to grill it for three to five minutes per side. Once browned, flip it. Pro tip: if the chicken resists being flipped, it is not finished cooking on that side.
Use A Meat Thermometer
Using a meat thermometer is an extremely important step to determine whether your chicken is fully cooked. You want the thickest portion of the meat to meet an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. By ensuring the temperature of the grilled chicken is above the threshold, you reduce the risk of foodborne illness such as Salmonella.
If you follow these grilling tips the next time you grill your chicken, you’ll be on your way to becoming a grill master!