The best cuts for BBQ chicken
The great thing is that almost any chicken cut is suitable for barbecuing. Generally, legs and thighs handle long, slow cooking better than breasts, but as long as you cook your chicken to the right temperature (160°F for breasts and 170°F for thighs), it will turn out delicious. If barbecuing a whole chicken, spatchcocking is recommended.
Chicken thighs and legs endure long, slow cooking better than breasts, which can dry out more easily. When barbecuing breasts, place them on the coolest part of the grill or use this method.
This recipe assumes larger chicken pieces (like the main parts of a 4-5-pound whole chicken). If you’re working with smaller pieces, they may need a shorter cooking time. For wings, they might be done before the larger pieces.
Regarding the skin, even if you don’t intend to eat it, it’s best to barbecue the chicken with the skin on. The skin helps prevent the chicken pieces from drying out.
- 4 pounds of chicken parts with bones and skin (legs, thighs, wings, and breasts)
- Kosher salt
- Extra virgin olive oil or vegetable oil
- 1 cup of barbecue sauce, either store-bought or homemade
1. Oil and salt the chicken pieces.
Apply olive oil to the chicken pieces and evenly distribute salt on all sides.
2. Prepare the grill.
Get your grill ready for two zones: sizzling hot on one side and cool and calm on the other. This way, you can sear those juicy steaks over high heat and then move them to the cooler side for gentle cooking without burning.
3. Sear the chicken, then move to the cool side of the grill.
Place the chicken pieces with the skin side down on the hottest part of the grill to achieve well-seared skin. Grill without covering for 5 to 10 minutes, adjusting based on the grill’s heat (avoiding chicken burning).
After achieving a satisfactory sear on one side, flip the chicken pieces and transfer them to the cooler section of the grill.
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For gas grills, keep the flame on one side only and relocate the chicken to the cooler side, avoiding direct exposure to the flame. Lower the temperature to low or medium-low (between 250°F and 275°F, not exceeding 300°F).
Cover the grill and cook undisturbed for 20 to 30 minutes.
4. Turn over, baste, and cook until done.
Flip the chicken pieces and generously brush them with your preferred barbecue sauce. Recover the grill and let it cook for an additional 15 to 20 minutes.
Continue the process by turning the chicken, coating it with sauce, covering it, and cooking for an extra 10 to 30 minutes.
Timing varies based on your grill arrangement, chicken piece size, and initial temperature. Smaller chicken pieces on a charcoal grill may cook faster. The objective is to sustain a sufficiently low grill temperature for a gradual and thorough cooking process.
The chicken is considered cooked when the internal temperature reaches 160°F for the breasts and 170°F for the thighs, as measured by a meat thermometer.
Alternatively, if you insert the tip of a knife into the centre of the thickest piece and the juices run clear, the chicken is done.
If the chicken is not fully cooked, flip the pieces over and continue cooking at a low temperature.
5. Sear a final time, then remove from heat.
Optionally, you can conclude by giving the pieces a sear on the hot section of the grill. Place the pieces, skin side down, on the hot side, and let them sear and slightly blacken for a minute or two.
Use a fresh brush to coat the cooked chicken with additional barbecue sauce, and then serve.
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