BBQ Chicken Recipe: Step-by-Step Guide for Juicy & Flavorful Grilled Chicken

This article will provide a step-by-step guide on how to BBQ chicken, covering selection, preparation, and cooking techniques for perfectly grilled poultry.

Key takeaways:

  • Pat chicken dry for better sear and spice adherence.
  • Butterflying or spatchcocking whole chicken ensures even cooking.
  • Marinate or brine chicken for flavor and tenderness.
  • Apply BBQ rub generously to create a flavorful crust.
  • Use high heat to sear, then lower heat to cook through.

Preparing the Chicken

preparing the chicken

For optimal flavor absorption and even cooking, begin with patting the chicken pieces dry using paper towels. Removing excess moisture ensures a better sear and more effective spice adherence.

Trim off any excess fat to help reduce flare-ups on the grill. If using a whole chicken, consider butterflying or spatchcocking it to cook more evenly.

Always marinate or brine the chicken when time permits — the former infuses flavor, while the latter tenderizes.

For a quicker prep, a dry brine, sprinkling the chicken with salt, and letting it rest in the refrigerator for a few hours will also help to retain moisture and enhance taste.

Applying the BBQ Rub

To ensure your chicken is infused with flavor, a liberal coat of BBQ rub is essential.

Begin by patting the chicken dry to maximize rub adhesion.

Apply the rub generously, covering all surfaces, including underneath the skin where permissible.

For an even distribution, use your hands to massage the spices into the meat.

This not only seasons the surface but also helps to create a crust, known as ‘bark’, which provides texture and depth of flavor.

Allow the rub to penetrate the meat for at least 15 minutes before grilling, though marinating for a few hours in the fridge can deepen the taste profile.

Avoid using too much salt in your rub, as this can draw moisture out of the chicken, resulting in drier meat.

Grilling Techniques for Crisp Skin

To achieve that sought-after crispy skin while maintaining a juicy interior, start with a high heat zone on your grill to sear the outside of the chicken, creating a crispy, flavorful exterior.

Once seared, move the chicken to a lower heat area to cook through without burning the skin. Keeping the lid closed will simulate oven conditions, ensuring even cooking.

Avoid frequent flipping; turn the chicken only once to ensure a crispier skin. Lightly brushing with oil can also contribute to skin crispness.

Always monitor flare-ups, as they can char the skin too quickly and impart a bitter taste.

Testing for Doneness

Properly cooked chicken not only ensures safety but also maintains juiciness and flavor. Utilize a meat thermometer, the most reliable method for gauging doneness. Insert it into the thickest part of the meat without touching bone – breast meat should register 165°F (74°C), while dark meat can go up to 175°F (80°C) for optimal tenderness.

Additionally, juices should run clear when the meat is pierced. If without a thermometer, check the firmness of the meat; it should not feel rubbery or overly soft. Be vigilant to avoid overcooking, which quickly dries out chicken, diminishing both texture and taste.

Cleaning the Grill After Cooking

Neglecting post-BBQ grill maintenance is an all too common blunder. Leftover bits of chicken not only attract pests but also interfere with future grilling endeavors by causing uneven heating and impart grill flavors that are, simply put, off-putting.

For an effortless clean, start while the grill is warm (but not hot) to ease the removal of residue. Use a grill brush to scrub off any clinging particles from the grates. For tougher gunk, a paste of vinegar and baking soda can be particularly effective—just apply, let it sit for a few minutes, and then give it a good scrub.

Once the grates are clear, empty the ash catcher or drip pans. Grease accumulation is a fire hazard and should never be dismissed. Before wrapping up, a quick wipe-down with a damp cloth can remove any lingering debris or ash from surfaces and knobs, ensuring your grill stays in pristine working order for your next BBQ rendezvous.

Regular cleaning not only prolongs the life of your grill but also guarantees that the savory flavors of your next BBQ chicken recipe are untainted.