How to Grill Chicken the Right WayOctober 14th, 2011
How many times have you tried to grill chicken on that trusty old grill, only to dry it out every single time? If you’re wondering how to grill chicken that turns out juicy, rest assured, you are not alone. It’s a common dilemma.
However,Â the good news is that it’s not your fault. And the better news is that I can show you how to grill perfect chicken. And the best news is that it’s easy as pie. (If you do it right.)
By the way, when I refer to chicken in this post, I’m talking about chicken halves, quarters, thighs, or legs with the skin on.
Skip this: One way to correct this problem is to precook the chicken in water on the stove. Then before it’s done cooking, remove it from the water and finish it off on the grill. I’ve done this on my gas grill already and it works. But think of it, how degrading is it to cook the chicken in water. I mean hey, we’re talking barbecue.
There is a better way. Two, actually.
Offset the Fire
Most of the grills out there are not designed to grill chicken, or rather a full grate of chicken. The grate is way too close to the fire. But don’t get worried. If you have a plain ole’ grill such as the Weber Kettle grill, you can build a fire on one side and put your meat on the other side. Or build a small fire on both sides and put the meat in the middle. (If you’re cooking with gas, maybe just turn on the one burner.)
Throw a little wood on the fire to make some smoke, and now you’ve got a cross between grilling over a hot fire and smoking indirect. You will turn out some great barbecue.
But how is this going to work if you’re cooking for a family reunion or a wedding and you have 30 or 100 or even 500 people to feed? That’s where a big pit comes in.
Into the Pit You Go, Birdie
Okay, that sounds like a plan. We lay up two rows of concrete blocks on a flat area, build a nice fire in it, set some grates on top and get to loadin’ the chicken. We think we’re really cooking until the chicken starts drying out and the skin starts burning, and wait a minute, there’s still red juice on the inside. Believe it or not, this happens. Same frustration as on that grill you picked up at Home Depot. What’s worse yet is when you precook the chicken in the kitchen, finish it on your pit, and the guests still find pink stuff inside.
Here’s the problem. Your chicken is still way too close to the fire. Simply add another row of concrete blocks to that pit, and you’ll be able to cook some great chicken. (That is until your fire gets out of hand and you can’t turn the chicken fast enough.)
There are also other secrets to grilling outrageous chicken. It’s important to season it well and get some smoke flavor into the meat. If you want more step-by-step instructions, check out my article How to Grill Perfect Chicken Every Time.
Grilling chicken in a block pit is popular for parties and fund-raisers, but it’s also a lot of work. You’ve got to set up the whole thing and then clean it up once you’re done. You have to either flip each piece separately while it’s grilling or then lay a second grate on top and get a strong guy in each end to flip it hand-over-hand.
Meadow Creek’s chicken cookers make it a total breeze to cook perfect chicken every time. Their revolutionary sandwich grates pivot in the middle and make it easy to feed family in the backyard or hundreds of finger-lickers at the fire company benefit.
If you’ve never seen one, you’ve got to check them out. Watch the video above and check out our chicken cooker pages.
I hope these tips are helpful to you. Let us know if you have any questions.