How to Grill Chicken

Grilling chicken brings out the best in the bird by crisping its skin, juicing up its meat and lending every part a deliciously distinct flavor.
WHOLE CHICKEN
chili lime chicken

Grilling time: 40 min butterflied

Grilling the entire bird is the ultimate flavor bomb -- cooking meat on the bone keeps things juicy while the skin crisps up, and turns out an outer layer brimming with flavor. Plus, a whole grilled chicken makes for a stunning presentation. Butterfly it so that it lies flat and grills evenly over direct heat. Bonus: This cuts down the cooking time by half. And small, hibachi-size grills need not apply, as you'll need extra grate space to move the chicken around when inevitable flare-ups occur.

 
CHICKEN WINGS
chicken wings in jala peach juice

Grilling times: 14 to 18 min

Grilling brings out the best in these snack-size pieces -- the fat drips away, leaving behind a crisp wing perfect for gnawing to the bone. They are easily separated into the drumette and the wing end by hacking at the joint using a cleaver or heavy knife. Some people prefer the meatier drumette, but the crackle and crunch of wing ends have their own appeal. Be prepared to move the wings around as flare-ups occur, and arrange them so that the smaller ends point away from the high heat to prevent burning.

 
CHICKEN LEGS
Grilled Chicken Legs

Grilling times: 20 to 25 min for legs, thighs and drums

There's nothing quite like the dark, juicy meat of a chicken leg. The extra fat found in this part keeps the meat moist, making it a forgiving cut to throw on a grill. Grill these pieces over a split fire of high and medium heat. The high heat lets some of the fat drain away first, resulting in the desirable crisp, charred surface. Finishing the legs over medium heat lets the chicken cook through without burning. This holds true whether you're grilling whole legs or drumstick and thigh portions separately.

 
CHICKEN BREASTS
tea soaked chicken breasts

Grilling times: 10 to 12 min for breasts, 6 to 8 min for cutlets

Skinless, boneless chicken breast is the number-one bestseller at meat counters; it's ideal for beginning grillers because its cooking time is the easiest to predict. Pound to a uniform thickness (1/2 inch for a breast, ? inch for a cutlet) for even cooking -- the expanded surface area will also show off the grilled exterior. But let's not overlook the skin-on, bone-in breast. Sure, its natural shape requires extra coddling on the grill, but meat is tastier and juicier cooked on the bone, and the skin lets the meat baste in its own fat as it cooks. Turn this cut regularly, at least four times, to minimize flare-ups, and arrange the thinner edges away from the heat to prevent burning while the thicker portions cook through.

 
Continued on page 2:  Sauces, Seasonings, Marinades and More

 

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