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How to grill perfect chicken

Patricia Conte has a background in marketing communications and works as an independent writer. In 2010, she was given the opportunity to combine her love of writing and food when she started as a contributing writer for the Food channel...

Perfectly grilled chicken, every time

The taste of grilled chicken really can’t be beat. Even if you’re not entertaining, the mere act of grilling makes mealtime seem like a party.

Perfectly grilled chicken, every time

Firing up the grill on a Tuesday night can be like a little celebration, but there's no bigger party pooper than biting into a piece of over- or under-grilled chicken. With so many great options for grilled chicken recipes and fantastic meals, follow these tips to make perfectly grilled chicken every time you grill.

1Get up in your grill

So that your chicken doesn't stick to the grill and fall apart, rub or brush the grate with oil or spray it with nonstick cooking spray. Be sure to do this before the grill is heated.

2It's getting hot in here

Grill your chicken over medium-high heat. If your grilling heat is too high, you'll end up burning the outside of the chicken and not cooking the inside. To make sure your chicken is well cooked and moist on the inside, resist the temptation to watch the flames dance. When you are cooking chicken breasts that have first been marinated, you really want to ensure the grill isn't too hot, as some marinades have a high sugar content that could lead to burning.

3Don't flip out

It may seem like you're helping the chicken along when you continually flip it, but you're not. Follow the instructions of a recipe, or simply keep your turns to one or two times. Your chicken will cook more evenly and quickly when you let it cook properly on each side.

4Keep it under cover

There's nothing really to see while your chicken is cooking, so if your grill has a cover, make sure you cook with the top down. Keeping the cover on makes your grill operate more like an oven. It also helps to keep the temperature more consistent and keeps the flames from flaring up.

5Tool around

Grilling is a snap with the right tools. Use grilling utensils with long handles so you don't end up grilling yourself along with your chicken. Also, invest in a meat thermometer to help ensure safe internal temperatures of your chicken. Chicken breasts should usually check in at 165 to 170 degrees F when the thermometer is inserted into the thickest part of the breast.

6Dress it up at the last minute

If you're using barbeque sauce on your chicken, brush it on toward the end of your cooking time. Brush each side of the chicken with your sauce on its last turn on the grill. Not only does this keep the extra sauce out of the flames (and thwarts flare-ups) but it also prevents the sauce from burning and tasting bitter.

7Keep it clean

Make sure you clean off your grill after each use. Scrape the grate with a stiff wire brush while it's still fairly warm. You can also soak your grate in 1/4 cup of grease-cutting dish soap combined with 1/4 cup of baking soda, for about an hour. Then scrub it clean with a wire brush or heavy-duty scouring pad.

More expert grilling tips

Bobby Flay's grilling tips

Chef Bobby Flay gives his top 3 three tips for a great meal every time.

More grilled chicken recipes

Nothing beats the great taste of perfectly grilled chicken. Whether you're grilling for a summertime picnic or trying to melt away the winter blahs, check out the following recipes for unique tastes great for any occasion:

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