Choose the Right Cut of Chicken.
Grill Over Indirect Heat.
Let it Rest.
Choose the Right Cut of Chicken
Choosing the right cut of chicken for the grill will help tremendously when trying to grill the perfect chicken. There are four basic cuts of chicken: Breast, Thigh, Drumstick, and Wing. Each chicken will have two of each cut. I prefer to purchase a whole roaster chicken and octo-sect it myself.
Both the Breast and Thigh come in either boneless-skinless or bone-in skin-on. Always go with the bone-in cuts of chicken. The bone imparts great flavor, especially when cooking low and slow barbecue. Skin provides a protective fat layer that will baste the chicken during the cooking process. If you choose boneless-skinless chicken to grill, then be sure to watch it closely to ensure that it doesn't overcook.
My favorite cut for grilling is the bone-in skin-on thigh. It is forgiving and rarely comes out dry; it also has plenty of meat, unlike drumsticks and wings.
Grill Over Indirect Heat
Don't fall for the temptation to cook chicken the same way that you would grill a steak or hamburger. The second key to delicious moist grilled chicken is to cook it low and slow over indirect heat.
To prepare a charcoal grill for indirect cooking, draw an imaginary line down the center of the grill and move all of the hot coals over to one side. This produces two cooking zones. The direct zone which is directly above the coals, which is great for cooking hamburger or steak; and the indirect zone to the side of the coals, which is great for cooking chicken, roasts, and ribs.
Place the chicken over the indirect zone and cover to cook. It should take between 1 ½ hours and 2 hours to cook using this method. The temperature of the grill should be between 275 and 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
When you remove the chicken from the grill the skin should have rendered down to paper thin, and should be a little crispy.
Let it Rest
It is tempting to cut right in the chicken as soon as it leaves the grill. WARNING: Doing so will result in dry chicken. It is important to let the chicken rest for at least 5 minutes before digging in. I would recommend 10 minutes for optimum results. In order to preserve the texture of the skin that you have spent hours to create do not cover the chicken. Place it on a cooling rack, like those you use for cooling cooking, to rest.
By choosing the correct cut of chicken, grilling over indirect heat, and letting the chicken rest your grilled chicken will come out perfect every time.
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