Healthful Chicken on the Grill

Grilled Chicken

Chicken cooked on the grill offers many tasty and healthful options. Skinless, boneless breasts or breast tenders are low in fat and cook quickly. Chicken legs, thighs and leg quarters have a little more fat and take a little more time to cook, but the payoff is a moist and tasty meal.

Basic Method for Grilling All Chicken Parts:

It’s best to cook chicken parts over steady, medium heat. To ensure even cooking and to prevent burning, grilled chicken should be closely monitored and turned often. Chicken absorbs flavors readily, so it is perfect for marinating, adding spice rubs or brushing with a flavorful barbecue sauce.

Chicken Breasts:

Chicken breasts can be grilled with or without the skin, cut into strips and threaded onto skewers, or cut into cubes for kebabs. They are great for seasoning with dry rubs, pastes, marinades or sauces.

Breast meat will be juicier if grilled with the skin on. However, the skin can be removed after grilling to reduce calories.

Sear bone-in chicken breasts for about 4 minutes per side and then move to lower heat and continue to grill for 18-20 more minutes until the breasts reach an internal temperature of 165 F.

Cook skinless, boneless chicken breasts over medium heat for about 10-15 minutes, turning every 4 or 5 minutes. Cook to 165 degrees F.

Chicken Leg Quarters and Half Chickens:

Grilled chicken leg quarters make an impressive presentation, as do half chickens. They cook in about 30 to 35 minutes. Turn them often to prevent burning. They are done at an internal temperature of 170 degrees F.

Chicken Wings:

Chicken wings make tasty appetizers and take about 10 to 15 minutes to grill. They should reach an internal temperature of 170 degrees F.

Chicken Thighs and Drumsticks:

Thigh and leg meat are rich in flavor. They take longer to cook than breast meat, about 25 to 30 minutes on the grill. Cook to an internal temperature of 170 degrees F.

Tips for Grilling Chicken:

  • Always thaw frozen poultry in the refrigerator or microwave oven, not on the kitchen counter. Chicken may also be thawed by running it under cold water.
  • Keep all poultry in the refrigerator or in a cooler until ready to grill.
  • Before marinating or grilling, wash the chicken in cold water and pat dry with paper towels.
  • Thoroughly wash your hands, utensils and work area after preparation.
  • It is best to grill on a clean rack. Heat the grill and scrape away any food or debris with a stiff brush.
  • Oil the grates or use a non-stick cooking spray to prevent the chicken from sticking. Don’t spray the cooking spray directly into the fire.

*Use an instant-read thermometer to check for doneness.