Perfectly grilled chicken – crunchy on the outside, moist and juicy on the inside – is a great addition to any picnic, barbecue, or summer meal plan.
It’s also an easy way to increase your protein intake.
And using grilled chicken in your food Meal preparation It can help you save time in the kitchen – just grill a batch on Sunday and use it all week long in a variety Delicious chicken recipesIncluding soups, salads, pasta and pizza.
So how long should you cook chicken on the grill — and how do you keep it from drying out? Here’s what you need to know.
How to grill chicken breasts
Follow these simple steps to get evenly cooked, juicy chicken with plenty of flavour.
An hour before grilling, take the chicken out of the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature, which helps it cook more evenly, says Holly Mackie Clark, a culinary specialist at Beach Body.
Chicken breasts usually have an irregular shape, so the longer you wait for the thicker side to cook, the thinner side becomes dry and chewy.
“To prevent undercooked or overcooked chicken, you want to create a flat surface — flatten the piece of chicken so that one side is not thicker than the other,” says Brittany Crump, MPH, RD at tasting nutrition.
Put the chicken breasts in a zip-top bag with a little oil, seal it and give it some good pounding with a meat mallet or other sharp object.
Get the grill ready
Always clean the grill to clean it before grilling, says McKee-Clark.
Before lighting the grill, gently rub or spray the grates with a hole cooking oil which has a high smoke point.
Add chicken to the hot grill
To preserve chicken’s freshness, cook it quickly on a preheated, hot grill for at least 10 minutes.
“Don’t put your food on the grill until it’s very hot, and don’t move it once in place until it’s time to flip it,” Mackie Clark says.
If possible, make sure that the grill surface reaches 425 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit before cooking.
Now, how long to grill chicken breasts? “Five minutes on each side should be enough,” Mackie Clark says.
Use food scissors to check for pink. Even better, a meat thermometer is a surefire way to make sure your chicken is fully cooked.
For safety reasons, chicken should be cooked at an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit‘ Crump says.
How to grill chicken thighs
If you know how to grill chicken breasts, you know how to grill chicken thighs! For the most part, you can simply follow the above steps.
However, there are a few additional things to keep in mind when cooking chicken thighs:
- Choose boneless and skinless thighs. Bone-in chicken thighs come in many different shapes and sizes, which makes them more difficult to cook evenly. (If you accidentally hit the raw center on a piece of roasted chicken thigh, you know what we’re talking about!)
- The boneless, skinless thighs also absorb spices better and cook more evenly. Because they tend to be more uniform in thickness than chicken breasts, you may not need to roll them out.
- If you’re wondering how long it takes to cook chicken thighs, the exact answer varies by thickness. As with chicken breasts, start grilling for 5 minutes on each side, and be sure to use a meat thermometer to ensure the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Tips for perfectly grilled chicken
Are you ready to step up your roast chicken game?
These tips can help you get expertly cooked, tender chicken full of flavour.
1. Brine before grilling
“Bringing the chicken before grilling is the best way to ensure it doesn’t get too dry,” says Mackie Clark.
Brings This is a method of letting meat soak in salt water to add moisture. Follow McKee-Clark’s steps to make an easy and delicious brine:
- Make the brine base: Add equal amounts of water and salt to a large re-sealable plastic bag.
- Bring more flavors: Add citruses (lemon, orange, lime), herbs (cilantro, parsley), and vinegar (balsamic, red wine). Shake bag until combined.
- Save the chicken pieces and wait: Leave it to soak for at least two hours or overnight. Soaking for longer helps the chicken absorb more flavor and moisture.
A good general rule of thumb is to boil chicken in salt water for 2 to 3 hours per inch of thickness.
If you need to save time, keep in mind that a thinner (or peeled) piece of chicken can only take 30 minutes to get cooked. For food safety reasons, always boil chicken in the refrigerator.
2. Add flavor
After the marinade, marinate the chicken as usual using the marinade or dry rub.
“Be careful not to add too much salt to the chicken after it has been marinated in the brine, because it will have already absorbed some of the sodium from the fermentation solution,” says Crump.
- Seasoning, usually made with oil and acid, will be best at making chicken tender. Plan to marinate for at least 30 minutes until the meat absorbs the flavor of the marinade.
- A dry rub – made with a mixture of herbs and spices – helps to get a crust and a well-roasted chicken. To avoid drying out the chicken, consider adding a glaze to lock in moisture. You can easily make a glaze by mixing the oil with a little honey or syrup. Grill the chicken naked first, to get it crisp on all sides, then glaze the last few minutes of cooking, a few times on all sides.
3. Turn it off
Grilled chicken is fine on its own, but you can add more flavor by covering it with a healthy sauce.
Try one of these:
Want more expert nutrition tips and delicious healthy recipes? head over to BODNutrition.com to learn how Beach Body Nutrition programs and products can help you lead a healthier lifestyle.