The Sunday Chef

Sure you can grill up boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a flash, but truly great grilled chicken, such as the recipe we're sharing here, takes time and attention to detail. Following this technique carefully will ensure a tasty end product, in large part due to multiphase cooking over both direct and indirect heat. The foil pan traps heat from the hot side of the grill and gently distributes it around the chicken as it cooks on the cooler side. Below we're breaking down the other keys to this recipe's success:

Best-Ever Grilled ChickenBones. Bones bring two things to the picture here: 1) flavor and 2) insurance. Bones are superconductive when it comes to heat, and they provide a little insulation that protects the chicken from drying out.

Brine. We're big fans. Unlike marinating, which mainly adds flavor, brining adds moisture – and moist chicken is good chicken. As little as 20 minutes makes a big difference.

Seasoning. With a brine you shouldn't need to add much (if any) salt, but don't forget to add at least pepper. If you're feeling frisky, add a dry rub.

Sauce. Glazes and sauces applied while this chicken cooks will prevent the skin from crisping and rendering its fat. If you must put it on while your food is grilling, do so near the end of cooking time or wait until you remove the food from the grill, before it rests. Sugary sauces also burn quite easily and may cause sticking (not to mention they are a pain to clean up).

Be patient. We can't say it enough, but once you've taken the chicken off the grill, cover it and let it rest to maintain moisture and allow for carryover cooking. Wait at least 5 minutes for bone-in pieces.

Grilling Reminders!

These tips are important no matter the recipe.

  • Preheat your grill properly – Gas grills need an average of 15 minutes to heat to high. For best results, always heat fully to high, then adjust the heat down if needed. If you’re using charcoal, wait until all the briquettes are white and ashy before moving them around.
     
  • Clean your grill completely and at the right time – Clean it when it’s HOT. In most cases, a grill is hottest after it has been preheated. Doing it after your food is cooked might work, if the grill is very hot and if you aren’t distracted by getting your food to the table. You will need to give stuck-on foods a few minutes to burn off (which is why doing it after preheating is preferred).

Featured Recipe

Best-Ever Grilled Chicken (pictured above)

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