Tips & Techniques Grilling Grill the Perfect BBQ Chicken

Classic barbecued chicken doesn’t begin with boneless, skinless chicken breasts. You have to have bones to develop great flavor. Nor do you want your chicken to be burnt on the outside and raw on the inside, which is what happens to too many cooks. Here is how to fix those problems and more.

Classic BBQ Chicken

Click here for our perfect barbecued chicken recipe, and read on for tips on achieving the best results every time.

Brine the Bird

Brining adds some flavor, but more importantly, it ensures a moist result. It also makes the timing a little less fussy. If you get distracted and the chicken pieces stay on the grill 5 minutes too long, it’s no big deal.

Pat It Dry

Don’t forget this step before you throw the chicken on the grill. Patting the pieces dry with paper towels helps the surface caramelize, which is the slight charring that takes place once the meat hits the heat. If the surface is moist from a brine or marinade, it will steam rather than sear, and you’ll miss out on that tasty caramelization. 

Use Two Heat Levels

The chicken gets a quick sear over direct heat, but most of the grilling is done over indirect heat. That lower heat helps to develop an intense barbecue flavor.

Sauce It Up

Using indirect heat allows you to brush the BBQ sauce on the chicken earlier without fear of the sauce burning. That extra brushing time means you’ll end up with more of the signature tangy flavor of good barbecue.