If grilling is the supreme leader of summertime cuisine, then the chicken is her right-hand man. A perfect choice for gatherings of all sizes or a simple weekday meal, there are very few “wrong” ways to prepare poultry. But that doesn’t exclude you from learning about how to better prepare your meal. Here are some helpful tips for cooking chicken on the grill.
When grilling, the most crucial ingredient is the meat, so make sure to pick the highest quality chicken you can find. Another decision involving selections you must make is about the size of the cut you are grilling. Remember that the larger a piece is, the longer it takes to prepare. This is important to consider when crafting your weeknight menu.
There are several methods you can use to add flavoring to your chicken before cooking. Though many of these add prep time, prepare your meal before grilling by rubbing, brining, and marinating—these are all great ways to positively impact the chicken’s taste. When preparing barbecue chicken, some will tell you to add the sauce before putting the meat to the heat, but this will cause the meat’s skin to burn. Instead, you should wait until the last 10 to 15 minutes to brush with sauce.
Just like you wouldn’t use a dirty pan for cooking food on the stovetop, you never want to be grilling on a filthy grill grate. It is important to always clean the grill before use. Make sure you have enough of your fuel source to complete the meal. Finally, rubbing a small amount of cooking oil onto the grates will make flipping and removing the chicken much easier.
Another one of our tips for cooking chicken on the grill is to be cautious with the heat. This is especially important for larger pieces of meat because the outside can finish cooking, but the inside may still be undercooked. If you have a charcoal grill, only put the coals in one half of the grill and put the chicken on the other half. For gas grills, simply cook on medium heat instead of the high setting you use to cook steaks and burgers.
While the meat from chicken is usually very healthy, if the food is not prepared and cooked correctly, it can make you sick. Anything touched or used on the chicken before grilling must be washed and sanitized before coming into contact with other food, or you risk cross-contamination between your foods. Another risk is not cooking your food all the way through on the grill. Use a meat thermometer to verify your poultry is cooked through to the middle before serving to prevent other types of food-borne illnesses.
Vincent’s Meat Market proudly serves fresh chicken meat in the Bronx’s—the best place for locally sourced meat. For more tips on grilling the best chicken of your life, check out the premier meat market in all of Little Italy.