BBQ Tips

How Long to Grill Chicken?

How Long to Grill Chicken

Photo: annebyrn.com

When grilling chicken at home, it is not unusual to end up with the dry slices. Well, drying can be because of many reasons, increased temperature of the griller for long hours being on top of the list.

Other than hamburgers and hot dogs, grilled chicken is just as popular. However, to be a pro at grilling chicken, you should know about the right temperature and time to keep the chicken in.

Things You Need To Know

Chicken is one such meat that you want to eat fully cooked, unlike beef or lamb that taste great on rare and medium rare. Before we can proceed, you need to know about certain things on grilling chicken.

1. What Is The Best Internal Temperature for Chicken?

The best internal temperature for a perfectly cooked chicken is 165-degrees F. This is the minimum safe internal temperature.

This is a case when you are cooking the whole chicken together. While legs and thighs usually take more time considering that they are thick, you should know that 165-degrees F internal temperature will keep the juices at their maximum glory.

1.1. What Happens If Chicken Cooks Too Long?

Chicken is basically lean meat and it dries too quickly if left unattended to be cooked for long time. Overcooking will definitely have a lot of impact on the texture, smoothness and taste of chicken. It will become chewy and tough.

The skin on chicken is tender and it will easily burn on overcooking. You will experience acrid burnt flavor in chicken instead of delicious and mild flavor.

1.2. What Happens If It Doesn’t Reach 165-degrees F?

Just like overcooked, the undercooked chicken is also not meant to be served. First of all, there won’t be any great taste and it will give instant feel of being undercooked to the eater. It is soft, mushy, and extremely tasteless.

Secondly, it is not good for hygiene because the natural bacterial in chicken only dies when the chicken has reached its ideal cooking temperature.

2. Average Grill Temperature

If you have been following the recipes then you must know how the grill temperatures are indicated there. Here is a chart to help you identify different cooking temperature levels in grilling.

  • Low heat – 250-275°F
  • Medium low heat – 300°F
  • Medium heat – 350°F
  • Medium high – 400-450°F
  • High – 500-650°F
  • Cremation – 650+°F

How Long To Grill Chicken?

Cut

Weight

Grilling Temperature

Whole Chicken

3-1/2 – 4-1/4 lbs

1-1/2 – 2 hrs on indirect medium heat

Chicken Breast (Bone-in)

10 – 12 oz

30 – 40 mins on indirect medium heat

Chicken Breast (Boneless, Skinless)

6 – 8 oz

8 – 12 mins on direct medium heat

Chicken Legs (Bone-in)

-

30 – 40 mins on indirect medium heat

Chicken Thighs (Bone-in)

-

30 – 40 mins on indirect medium heat

Chicken Thighs (Boneless, Skinless)

4 oz

8 – 10 mins on direct high heat

Chicken Wings

2 – 3 oz

18 – 20 mins on direct medium heat

1. How Long To Grill A Whole Chicken?

An entire chicken of 4-1/4-pounds will take between 1-1/2 - 2-hours. The cooking time will also depend on the efficiency of your griller, the weather, and starting temperature of chicken.

The preferred cooking temperature range of your grill should be between 200 – 300-degrees F. Please note that the cooking process of an entire chicken is long and it takes approximate of 1-1/2 – 2-hours. This will also depend on the bird size and your grill’s efficiency to maintain the temperature.

If you plan to spatchcock chicken then you can reduce the cooking time to 30 – 40-minutes. You just have to achieve the internal temperature of 165-drgrees F.

2. How Long To Grill Chicken Breast?

Chicken breast that is boneless and skinless and in weight of 6 – 8-ounces will take only 8 – 12 minutes in a grill. You need to cook them on medium direct heat and make sure to turn them every 5 minutes to avoid burning.

At the same time, grilling the bone-in chicken takes around 30 – 40-minutes. In this case, cook on indirect medium heat for the first half and put it on direct heat while finishing cooking. Just make sure you don’t burn the skin.

3. How Long To Grill Chicken Legs?

Chicken legs has the biggest bones and it takes longer than wings or breast to cook. It will take around 30 – 40-minutes on indirect medium heat. It is essential that you turn the legs every 15 minutes.

You can finish the cooking on direct medium heat for 10-minutes and 5-minutes on each side. Because this part has bones and dark meat, you will want to wait for the internal temperature to reach 180 – 190-degrees F.

While 165-degrees F is safe but because of the thick meat part, chicken legs can be cooked to 180-degrees F for better taste.

4. How Long To Grill Chicken Thighs?

The part is the thighs and they take a minimum of 40-minutes. There are two approaches that you can follow here.

You can either cook it on direct medium/high heat but in this case, you will have to turn them every 5 minutes to prevent burning.

The alternative method is to cook them on indirect heat for 30 minutes and last 10 minutes on direct high heat to give the beautiful brown color.

Irrespective of the method you select to use, if you want the dress the meat with some sauce, make sure to do that in the last 10 minutes of cooking. This will prevent the sugar from burning.

5. How Long To Grill Chicken Wings?

It takes not more than 18 – 20 minutes to perfectly grill chicken wings on direct medium heat. Leave them in the grill with lid closed for 2 – 3 minutes. Then open and turn the wings to ensure that they get brown color evenly on all sides.

Don’t forget to put the thermometer in after every 15 minutes to check the temperature. Take them off the grill as soon as the temperature hits 165-degrees F.

Conclusion

Chicken is liked by many people but its cooking should be done carefully. You cannot stay unobservant while grilling chicken as under or overcooked chicken can completely jeopardize the taste.

We hope that you find our guide useful and next time you grill chicken; you will not make any mistake. Enjoy!

References

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