One of the greatest American past times is barbecuing. There is a multitude of foods you can cook on various different types of grills. There are also many tips for grilling chicken on a charcoal grill.
There are two basic ways in which to grill food: direct and indirect. These methods work best on a charcoal grill. When your meat is directly above the coals (heat source), this is considered “direct” cooking.
This method works best when you want to brown the chicken you are grilling. Indirect cooking is when you have the heat source off to the side of your meat. When you pile the coal to one side or put a barrier between the chicken and the heat, convection occurs.
With indirect cooking, you can grill more slowly, tenderizing the meat, brown it a little or melt away the fat. Rotate the food when using this latter method so that the food closest to the charcoal doesn’t get overdone.
Let’s cover a few tips for grilling chicken on a charcoal grill.
Chicken breasts require a somewhat medium heat, with direct grilling being the best method. If you cook the breasts six to seven minutes per side, your chicken will not dry out. Chicken legs also work well with direct grilling. Make sure the legs are about five to six inches above the fire and you are using medium heat. Fifteen to twenty-two minutes per side should be all that they need.
If you wish to cook a whole chicken on the grill, you will want to use an indirect heat source. For best results, keep the grill covered for maximum heating efficiency. Fifteen to twenty minutes per pound over medium heat should do the trick.
Do you have chicken halves or quarters? When you cook chicken on the grill and it is not boneless, you will want to break the joints so that the pieces can lay flat on the grill. As with legs, quarters and halves should be six to ten inches above the coals and 350ºF (medium).
Halves will take about an hour and quarters of about forty-five minutes to cook. Start the chicken you grill with the skin side facing up towards you.
Now – when you grill chicken on a charcoal grill, you may wish to add a little pizzazz to the meat, a little more flavoring than just what the charcoal will add. For marinating, the best thing to do is place the chicken (legs, thighs, etc.) into a Ziploc plastic bag and add your marinade of choice (i.e. Teriyaki, BBQ sauce, sweet and sour, honey mustard, etc.) and put it in the refrigerator overnight.
For an even coverage with BBQ sauce on a whole chicken, it is advisable to split the chicken in half and coat it once with the sauce. A few other tips for grilling chicken include brining or rubs. Either way, it is recommended to leave the chicken in the fridge overnight. Apply the rub (a combination of dry herbs and spices) to both sides of the meat.
If you wish to turn the rub into a paste, simply add a small amount of liquid. Some ingredients include lemon pepper, salt, garlic, and brown sugar. Scores of ideas are out there; it just depends on your personal tastes.
Whichever way you decide to go about grilling chicken on a charcoal grill, make sure to watch the time, temperature and fire. Your chicken will be done when it is white and the juice flows freely. Following these tips for grilling chicken will leave you the envy of the neighborhood!