Just sharing a couple quick tips for those of you grilling chicken this weekend – some favorite brines, rubs, sauces and marinades and lessons I have learned from many years of chicken grilling. Happy Holiday!!
- The first step is to brine, rub and/or marinate your chicken before grilling. Chicken is a relatively light flavored meat, so you will want to add flavor before serving. Here are some of my favorite chicken brines, rubs, sauces and marinades:
- Ad Hoc Restaurant Brine
- Art Smith’s Brine & Marinade Process & Recipe
- Big Bad Bob’s BBQ Brine and White Sauce
- Bobby Flay Spicy Paprika Rub and Mint Sauce
- Brine with Juniper
- Dean Fearing Texas Barbecue Sauce
- Eastern Carolina Vinegar Sauce
- Emeril Chicken Thigh Marinade
- Hestor Blumenthal Brine & Rub
- Jerk Rub
- Rick Bayless Garlic and Ancho Rub
- Ad Hoc Restaurant Brine
- It is fun to play around with brine, rub marinade recipes, adding some local flavor or just adjusting spices to better fit your eaters. I prefer brines, which do not contain oil, to marinades, as the fats block the liquid water-holding capacity in the meat, thus inhibiting the addition of flavor. Chicken should brine for a much shorter time than other meats – only 30 minutes to an hour. I do like marinades for chicken pieces, and if I’m feeling particularly energetic, will sometimes combine a brine with a rub.
- Remove the chicken and allow it to reach room temperature before grilling – do not allow meat, particularly chicken, to sit unrefrigerated for too long however – an hour at most.
- I setup my grill with all of the charcoal distributed only half of the grill. This way you can place the chicken over the half without coals, allowing the chicken to cook slowly over indirect heat.
- To test for doneness, prick a thigh and make sure the juices run clear.
- For whole chicken, the entire cooking process takes place over indirect heat. For cut-up chicken pieces, I start the pieces over the coals and cook them about 2 minutes on each side, until you get those nice grill marks. Then, move the pieces to the other, cooler side of the grill to finish. Again, check to make sure the juices run clear to ensure the chicken is fully cooked.
- Grill temperatures ran fluctuate broadly, so you have to pay close attention when grilling a whole chicken. Unlike beef, you do NOT want to serve chicken rare or even medium rare.
- Be sure to lightly oil the part of the grill that will be holding the chicken and the chicken itself. Without lubrication your chicken may stick to the grill – particularly if you place it over direct heat.
- Allow your chicken to rest for 3-5 minutes for pieces and 10-12 minutes for whole chicken before serving. This allows juices to redistribute to the external portions of the meat.
If you’re looking for a smashing (but simple) dessert, try these Gingersnap Cookies