Grilled Chicken and BBQ Chicken are a mainstay for grilling and BBQ alike. Here are some of our favorite grilled chicken recipes from the standard BBQ chicken to the exotic. Everyone has had the proverbial “Rubber Chicken”. Or the joke that everything tastes like chicken. Well, let’s break that paradigm right now. The following grilled chicken recipes will take you on a tour of different flavors, styles and cuisines. A great chicken dish really hits home, we traditionally have chicken on Sundays, not sure how that happened. But I really look forward to those dinners. So, check out some of our recipes and enjoy!
For starters, a great meal starts with great product, in this case great chickens. These days in many areas there are a whole bunch of choices in the bird department. Free range chickens, organic chickens, big chickens, little chickens, white chicken, black chickens. What to choose?
Free range chickens are raised outside of pens or cages, running around the farm. "Happy chickens taste good" is the theory here. This can be one of the better tasting chickens. One great example of this would be the brand “Rocky the Range Chicken”. These are raised by “Petaluma Poultry Company" in Northern California. Great product if you are willing to fork out a couple of extra bucks.
Organic Chickens are raised without the use of antibiotics and are fed a diet of all organic and natural foods. They are also required to have access to the outdoors as well, though not necessarily as freely as your free range bird. The Petaluma Poultry Company's organic bird is Rosie the Organic Range Chicken.
Kosher Chickens are handled a bit differently. They are hand processed rather than by machine, which makes for a cleaner chicken. A kosher chicken is also processed by being packed in salt for an hour and then rinsed. This is the Koshering process used to remove impurities. Almost akin to brining, it does improve the flavor but without the issues of “pumped” chicken.
Supermarket brands can be OK, but some are not so look for quality and freshness. On the west coast Foster Farms seems to be a pretty solid brand and there are other to be found that are good too.
These guidelines apply to chicken parts too, breasts, thighs, etc.
Fresh is better, period. However, convenience does count. One way to improve your results is to defrost the chicken slowly in the refrigerator the night before. But, realistically, the great thing about these is that you can pull them out and chuck’em in some water to defrost quickly. If you watch your cooking times they come out okay. Many of these are already “pumped” with saline to reduce the dryness affect. We are not really fans of this, but given the option of the dreaded "B.F. Goodrich Bird"or pumped, we will take the pumped bird in a pinch. We would rather brine the birds ourselves with cool stuff, not just saline. I have never had an acceptable cooked-from-frozen piece of chicken. These are not good enough for my grill or for the following grilled chicken recipes.
For grilling whole or half chickens, the best sized birds are five pounds or less. Game Hens (small chickens) are good not the grill too.
For grilling chicken breasts you do not want them too big especially bone in. If you have really big chicken breasts it is a good idea to bone them and pound them flat to even and speed the cooking times. See below.
Bone-in chicken breasts hold their moisture a bit better than boneless but are somewhat harder to handle on the grill. Indirect grilling is the key here as with whole bone-in chicken breasts.
Boneless chicken breasts are great for grilling, with close to uniform thickness. You just have to be careful not to overcook them or they will become dry and tough. They do take attention while on the grill. Although hard to find these days, I like them skin on. They do not dry out as much on the grill, plus I like the skin. But not everyone does, so it is your choice in that regard.
Bone-in chicken thighs are great on the grill as long as you like dark meat. These are great for a crowd since it is pretty hard to overcook these unless you turn them to cinders.
Boneless chicken thighs are also great on the grill. Great for brochettes, kabobs, satays and just by themselves.
Chicken Wings, what great messy fun! I like my wings spicy. Check out the Sriracha Chicken Wings. Not for the faint of heart! Also check out my Jerked Chicken Wings. Have your ice chest close by, because you will want some cold beverages.
According to the U.S.D.A. chicken should be cooked to 165 degrees. Use a pocket thermometer to make sure.