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How to grill the best BBQ chicken

Summer means using the grill as often as possible, right? Here, we’re showing you how to grill the best barbecue chicken you’ll ever taste. Yes, it’s that good!

BBQ chicken on the grill

I’ve always been a huge fan of any food that comes off the grill. Whether it’s shish kabobs, baby back ribs or corn on the cob, there’s just something about grilled food that tastes 10 times better than food prepared in the oven. Maybe it’s the fact that you get to be outdoors, maybe it’s because it’s generally healthier or maybe it’s because there’s always remnants of the last meal you grilled lingering around. Whichever it is, I’m a fan. Here, we’re showing you how to grill up the best barbecue chicken — and providing recipes for some top-notch side dishes to go with it!


Choose and prepare your meat

Barbecue chicken can be made with chicken legs, thighs, breasts or even the whole bird. We’re going to use chicken breasts since they tend to be the meatiest and the least fattening. Chicken is one of the leanest meats you can eat, though, so if you’re watching your weight any of the cuts are a good choice. Make sure to trim off excess fat clumps before placing on the grill.


Season your meat

To give your chicken a distinct, bold flavor, sprinkle a little bit of dry rub onto the meat before placing on the grill. We love a simple mixture of salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, cayenne pepper and oregano.

Looking for more variety? Check out these 4 homemade spice rubs for barbecuing >>


Set the right temperature

Tip: Place the larger pieces of chicken closest to, but not on top of, the hot burners. The larger pieces cook slower so it’s best to have them slightly closer to the heat.

The key to barbecuing the best chicken is in the way it’s cooked. For gas grills, turn all the burners on high until the grill is fully preheated. Then, turn off one of the burners. This is the burner you’ll place the chicken on, otherwise known as indirect grilling (direct grilling is placing the meat directly on the hot burner). For charcoal grills, place all the briquettes on one side of the grill and place the meat on the other side once they’re preheated. Have patience and remember the grilling motto of “low and slow” in order to have the best-tasting chicken.


Grill the chicken

Chicken grills slowly — typically taking about 1 to 2 hours to be fully cooked (remember, the internal temperature needs to be 165 degrees F). Rotate the chicken about every 15 minutes. Signs that the chicken needs to be turned include it being brown on the bottom and more firm. Try not to open your grill more than once every 15 minutes. If you notice the chicken browning but not firming up, turn down the heat.


Add the sauce

Tip: Once the chicken is done, let it sit (off the grill) for 5-10 minutes to keep the juices in. Trust us, it’s well worth the wait!

Add the barbecue sauce once the chicken is about 5 minutes away from being done. You’ll want to lower the temperature of the grill, too, to prevent the sauce from burning. Slather one side of the chicken with sauce, shut the lid and let it continue cooking for a few minutes. Once the few minutes are up, flip the chicken over, slather the other side with sauce, shut the lid and let it continue cooking. This gives the chicken a nice, thick coating that looks great and tastes even better!

Recommended sides

Simple Caesar salad
Simple Caesar salad
Spanish veggie brown rice
Spanish veggie brown rice
Homemade dinner rolls
Homemade dinner rolls

And for dessert, try this vanilla berry trifle >>

More on barbecuing

Tips for becoming a BBQ master
Grilled pizza recipes for summer
Quick, tasty burger recipes

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