What temperature should I grill chicken at?

What temperature should I grill chicken at, and what are some other grilling tips for chicken?
asked Dec 14, 2012 in BBQ / Grilling by answernest

1 Answer

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Grilled chicken is delicious!  If cooked properly, the outside is a bit crunchy, and the inside is moist and flavorful.  Of course, grilling chicken allows for a wide variety of experimentation with seasonings or sprinkling of sauces, and the like.  I suspect that's how the famous "Colonel" came up with his secret recipes (though his was with fried chicken, not grilled).
More Details:

Because we all have different personal preferences, the end product of the chicken-grilling adventure is likely to be as varied as we ourselves.  Some folks may prefer little or no added seasonings, while others want to enhance the heck out of the bird!  Needless to say, it is important to cook chicken safely and thoroughly, to prevent food-borne illness.  Chicken can be grilled using direct (food directly above heat) or indirect (food away from heat) methods of grilling, so long as it is cooked through.

Experts recommend cooking chicken until the internal temperature is at least 160 degrees F, and (preferably) as much as 180 degrees F. 

Chicken is best cooked over medium grill heat, to keep it from getting too dry.  Depending largely on what segment of the chicken is being grilled, cooking time varies.  For example, a five ounce chicken ****** over direct heat may be fully cooked after seven minutes on each side.  Chicken legs take a little longer, as much as 22 minutes on each side over direct heat.  Of course, cooking over indirect heat will extend cooking time significantly, but sometimes it is the best way; especially when cooking large segments or whole chickens.

When grilling large segments of chicken, it is best to keep the grill cover closed, to keep cooking time to a minimum.  Also, keeping the heat inside helps to sort of "roast" the meat while it is being grilled from below.  It is also important to keep a close eye on the cooking progress (though not so frequently that the lid is open more than closed!), and occasionally move each piece on the grill to keep it from sticking.  Of course, you must season to your own preference, and feel free to experiment with seasonings and sauces; vinegar, lemon juice...be creative...you might surprise yourself!

answered Dec 14, 2012 by answernest