Whenever I do it, it comes out all dry. What’s the trick?
Slowly. Which means low heat, or a high grill. Far less heat than for steaks, for example. A skinless chicken breast should take an absolute minimum of half an hour, preferably 45 minutes, with five-minute turnings.
I just do: 15 minutes bone-side down, turn, then 10 minutes skin-side down.
OK, so help me understand this one. Recently, at a relatively inexpensive diner, I ordered Caeser’s salad with chicken. The chicken was perfect, and served warm. There’s no way it took more than about ten minutes from the time I ordered it to the time it was served. So I’m guessing they cooked it earlier, then reheated it. But if I put chicken in the microwave, I ruin it. How did they do that?
I shall iterate: SLOWLY! I knew a guy who would put meat in an all-night smoker, and it would come out perfect every time. That thing could make wild boar fall apart.
Probably, they estimated that afternoon how much chicken they would be using that evening, and set that to cooking, and then kept it warm enough to be safe but cool enough not to dry out for the rest of the evening.
I get my best results when I marinate the chicken either overnight or in a vacuum chamber. Seriously, we have a food saver and the vacuum container really speeds up the absorption.
Grilling is done on high heat. Unfortunately grilling that way often dries out the chicken of makes the surface tough by the time you cook the center. I like my beefsteak bloody rare but I don’t know anyone who likes chiken that way. First make sure the chicken is completely thawed. I generally grill a brief time to get the surface to carmelize and make grill marks then I place the chicken in a foil pan on the top rack of the grill to sauté until done. Everyone loves chicken done this way. Another cheat is to parboil the chicken before grilling but you tend to lose any flavor you marinated in.
I strongly second this point – too often people underestimate the importance of starting with food that’s at the right temperature. If you take a fat chicken breast out of a 45 degree fridge and throw it on a grill, there’s just no way you’re going to get the center cooked without overdoing the outside.
Since this is about cooking, I"ll move this thread to the Cafe Society forum.
If you want to make sure you chicken doesn’t dry out…
bake it, don’t grill it.
The only things worth grilling are steaks, hamburgers and ribs. I’ve never tasted anything else off a grill that couldn’t have been done better in the kitchen.
Chuck your chicken into a covered bowl with your marinade. Let sit in the fridge overnight. Take the bowl out of the fridge at least 1 hour before cooking. Slap the chicken on the grill, or in the broiler. Cook slowly, adding fresh marinade as a baste as necessary. If they are skin-on bone-in breasts, don’t be afraid to char the skin. It comes off, you know.
In this vein: wrap it in a tinfoil pouch, so that it bakes on the grill. You don’t lose any moisture, and it steams in its own juices.
Why not just use the oven?
I’ve had good luck with Beer Can Chicken on a gas grill. I stand the chicken up in a pan on the grill. I use low heat under the chicken and high heat on the other burner, to crisp the skin. I’ve also used cans of juice instead of beer. The important thing is to get moisture inside the chicken while the outside is getting crisp. And don’t forget the dry rub!
Chicken does not have to be cooked slowly to come out juicy and tender. Slow cooking with a smoker is usually reserved for tough cuts of meat like pork butt, shoulder and beef brisket. Cooking time for cuts like those may run up to 24 hours.
For relatively lean cuts of meat like steak, pork tenderloin, and chicken a higher heat and direct cooking is usually used. Chicken can be cooked over a lower heat, but it does not have to be cooked that way to be good.
Here is Rick’s absolutely never fail, best grilled chicken you ever had, no baked chicken can top recipe.
First you must make a brine
1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
Dissolve into 1 gallon of tap water (Hint use 1 quart HOT water to dissolve, then add ice and cold water to dilute)
Place on whole chicken in a 2 gallon zip lock bag, or deep plastic container
Add brine and make sure chicken is covered.
Place in fridge for 4-24 hours (I usually shoot for 8-12)
Remove chicken, rinse
Cut along both side of the backbone and remove, cut on under side of breast bone to flatten.
Oil the skin with olive oil
Season both sides of chicken if you wish (No salt is necessary!) but you can use other spices, or just pepper.
Place on a medium grill over direct heat (350 or so)
Cover and cook for 30 minutes, turn and cook for an additional 30 minutes.
Pull from grill and enjoy.
No chicken cooked in an oven can compare.
For variety, you can add OJ or apple juice to the brine mixture instead of some of the water.
Thanks, love this board.
The beer can method is by far the best way to do a whole bird. It takes a while, but I’ve never turned out anything but a perfect bird with it.
Another good method is to spatchcock the chicken, which is a way of cutting and manipulating it that allows it to lie almost flat on the grill. (I don’t have my book handy telling how to do it.) This lets you grill it over direct heat.
By barbecue chicken, what exactly are you talking about? BBQ is generally slow slow cooking to make a really crappy piece of meat good. If your talking BBQ chicken as in with BBQ sauce, differnt story, its basicly cooking chicken with sauce on it.
Boneless skinless breasts, really simple to make them good, even easier to screw them up. Get yourself a decent thermometer, the kind that has about a one inch dial on it. In a pan or in the oven or on the grill, doesn’t matter, I usually pull mine at an internal temp of 135, let them sit for bit and you get beautiful juicy tender chicken. Just on this side of pink is perfect. I know 160, but that is just overkill. Another easy way is to buy the frozen injected breasts, a lot more forgiving, and you can go higher on the temp and still get good juicy chicken.
For dark meat, thighs(my favorite) legs and wings, get them up to at least 180 - 185 internal temp, and you will once again have lovely tasty chicken.
Whole birds, you will have a compromise between the light and the dark. Covering the breasts with foil can help keep the temp down in that region and allow the dark meats to do their thing. I usually will temp both areas (thighs and breasts) and make a compromise, (it seems like a breast on a whole chix is a little more forgiving than its naked counterpart) I like the beer can thing because you get lots more tasty crispy skin, I dislike it because it wastes half a beer, however a full bird has so much more flavor that I will forgive the loss of half of a beer.
If your having dry out problems, I’m guessing its because your using breasts, switch over to thighs, they have so much more flavor, and as far as I’m concerned a better total mouth feel, must be the extra fat. You can cook the snot out of dark meat, and it won’t dry out to a point(you can’t make juicy jerky) , but remember that dark meat needs to get to at least 180 to get nice and tender. Add sauce and or marinades to taste.
I’m sure I’ve posted this before, but here we go again:
How to make perfect barbequed chicken:
1 stick butter
1/2 cup light olive oil
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 minced over.
Combine the ingredients over low heat and let simmer for ten minutes.
Preparing the grill:
I cover the grate with non-stick tin foil with holes poked in it. You want enough holes so the fat will drain, but will not allow flare-ups.
Soak your wood chips overnight and wrap in heavy duty tin foil with plenty of holes poked in it to allow the smoke to come out. Place the packets directly on your hottest burner. (If you’re using charcoal, just toss the chips directly on the hot coals just before you pup on your grate.)
I keep one burner on medium low, and the rest on low. The medium-low burner is for the smoke. Only cook over the low burners.
Preparing the Chicken:
Wash, dry, and trim the excess fat off your bone-in chicken. Make sure all your chicken is completely thawed.
Dip the chicken in your sauce before putting it on the grill. (All the butter and oil in the sauce makes it extremely flammable, so be careful.)
Flip the chicken every five to seven minutes, wetting it down before and after each flip keeps the chicken moist.
Bone-in chicken takes about an hour. Boneless takes about 35 minutes.
Chicken is a lot of things.
Wings: I’ll bake in the oven with salt & pepper until basically done. Then, I’ll marianade or toss with a dry rub, and grill for 5-8 minutes, turning once.
Chicken breasts: pound flat, get 'em about 1/2" thick Grill over high heat.
Chicken breasts 2 : cut into strips, marianate. Thread onto skewers.
Whole chicken : I’ll do the beer can method. I have two “semi-circle” containers that I dump the coals into and move them to the outside of the grill. I stand the chicken in the middle of the grill over a drip pan.
Thighs & legs on the bone : can be grilled over somewhat high heat. Grill until done.
Still, if I’m making a whole chicken, I usually just roast it in the oven. The “Beer Can Chicken” is good, but not necessarily so much better to make it worth the hassle.
The cookbook I got with with my Weber gas grill talks about “direct” and “indirect” grilling. With the indirect method, you turn off the burner under the food, leave the other burners on & close the top. Granted, this is closer to roasting than grilling and it requires gas which can make charcoal enthusiasts fly into a rage, but it works nicely for me, especially when the chicken is marinated. YMMV