Best Grilled Chicken


Have you ever attended a grill shindig where chicken is the star of the show and what you are served resembles eau d’ashtray or worse the bird is literally still raw.  Bleck.

For some reason, people feel the need to char the heck out of grilled chicken, leaving it dry and literally unpalatable.  But you eat it anyway to be nice. 

And then there are those who remove the chicken from the grill too soon because they put the grilling sauce on way too early and now it’s burning.  Their solution…take the uncooked chicken off the grill… a very dangerous choice.  There seems to be no middle ground.

However, if you want to serve the best and juiciest Grilled Chicken ever….follow these tips.  I promise, no burnt pieces and no uncooked parts. 

No one will believe you are not a grill master.

First, I always buy a split fryer, a whole chicken that has been cut in half.  I never grill different sized, individual pieces, it’s too difficult to vary the cooking times and the pieces dry out too easily.  Forget them.  A split fryer is the answer to your grilling prayers or buy a whole chicken and cut it in half yourself.

Next, make a dry rub (recipe to follow).  You do not want a dry rub with sugar in the list of ingredients.  It will burn.  The dry rub should be spread on the chicken, under and on top of the skin and in every nook and cranny.  Do this three hours prior to grilling.

Also, bring the chicken to room temperature.  You do not want to put iced cold chicken on the grill.  Trust me.

Preheat the grill to very high heat, about 500 degrees.  I then turn the middle burner completely off and place the chicken in there while lowering the other two burners, bringing the temperature to 350 degrees.

Next, baste the chicken (recipe to follow) and close the grill.  Set a timer for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes turn the chicken over and baste again.  Repeat this step every 15 minutes for a total of one hour.  At the last basting, let the chicken cook for only five minutes more.

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Using your favorite grilling sauce, Asthmagirl sent me this yummy one, baste both sides of the chicken.

After basting with the sauce close the grill and cook for only five minutes.  Not longer, this is when the chicken will burn.  Make sure you have washed your baster or are using a new one to prevent any contamination from residual raw chicken.

Let the chicken rest for at least five minutes before cutting into it.

Using this method, the chicken remains so juicy you won’ be able to stop eating it.  Make sure you take a nibble of the skin, it’s to die for.

Print Recipe

Best Grilled Chicken

Recipe from: Created by Noble Pig | Serves: 4-6

Ingredients

Dry Rub

  • 1 Tablespoon seasoning salt, any brand
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon chile powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground tumeric
  • 1/8 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

Basting Sauce

  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon oil (I used a roasted garlic oil but any kind is fine)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • Juice of one lemon
  • One drop liquid smoke, optional

Other ingredients

  • One 4 lb split fryer chicken (or one whole chicken cut in half
  • Your favorite grilling sauce

Directions

  • First, I always buy a split fryer, a whole chicken that has been cut in half. I never grill different sized, individual pieces, it's too difficult to vary the cooking times and the pieces dry out too easily. Forget them. A split fryer is the answer to your grilling prayers or buy a whole chicken and cut it in half yourself.
  • Next, make a dry rub. You do not want a dry rub with sugar in the list of ingredients. It will burn. The dry rub should be spread on the chicken, under and on top of the skin and in every nook and cranny. Do this three hours prior to grilling.
  • Also, bring the chicken to room temperature. You do not want to put iced cold chicken on the grill. Trust me.
  • Preheat the grill to very high heat, about 500 degrees. I then turn the middle burner completely off and place the chicken in there while lowering the other two burners, bringing the temperature to 350 degrees.
  • Next, baste the chicken and close the grill. Set a timer for 15 minutes.
  • After 15 minutes turn the chicken over and baste again. Repeat this step every 15 minutes for a total of one hour. At the last basting, let the chicken cook for only five minutes more.
  • Using your favorite grilling sauce, baste both sides of the chicken.
  • After basting with the sauce close the grill and cook for only five minutes. Not longer, this is when the chicken will burn. Make sure you have washed your baster or are using a new one to prevent any contamination from residual raw chicken.
  • Let the chicken rest for at least five minutes before cutting into it.

One Year Ago Today:  Something Different

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73 Comments and 2 Replies

  1. We will be trying this. Grilled chicken , done well is my favorite . More often than not, the chicken is as you say, under or over done.

    We are making Sliders for our family reunion this Sunday! Thanks, and hope you all are getting unpacked while you enjoy summer in Oregon! ( Paradise )

    Reply
  2. Now that’s some awesome looking chicken. We once went on our annual motorcycle trip vacation alternating staying with friends and staying at B&Bs and every friend we stayed with served us barbecued chicken and broccoli salad. It was funny. Luckily, they all did a pretty good job on the chicken though. I have no doubt this recipe is the best just by looking at the ingredients and reading the instructions! (And it’s all naturally gf … just have to be sure to use a gf grilling sauce, but there are many of them.)

    Thanks, Cathy!
    Shirley

    Reply
  3. Great looking chicken!
    I Always over cook chicken:( I’m going to try this tomorrow for dinner. We are supposed to finally have sun!
    Hope you and yours are enjoying your new home! I can’t wait to see what’s happening in the Vineyard.

    Reply
  4. Donna 4

    What can I not asy about this chicken. OMG! The photo says it all. Printing for my FFH. Master of the grill will just have to learn something new:)

    Reply
  5. Thanks for the chicken recipe, I’ll be grilling it up this weekend. I really enjoy your posts.

    I live in Denver and we’re heading to McMinnville on the 22nd for the Pinot Noir Festival. Are you planning on attending? Lea Ann

    Reply
  6. Hilary 6

    Looks absolutely great .. I’m hungry – good it’s lunchtime .. just no grill, nor chicken on the menu – sad really!
    Thanks Cathy – Hilary Melton-Butcher
    Positive Letters

    Reply
  7. Mary 7

    That is an incredible looking chicken. I can’t wait to try it.

    Reply
  8. I bake my chicken in a rub (without sugar) and then transfer to the grill for that barbcued goodness. Looks so yummy.

    Reply
  9. Ramona 9

    Everybody’s already said it. Amazing looking chicken. Now if I can get Mr. only know’s how to cook one way to try something new, we’ll be in business!
    Ramona

    Reply
  10. Alta 10

    Can I eat this for breakfast? This looks amazing!

    Reply
  11. I’m hesitant to try this because no matter what anyone suggests, I ALWAYS burn the bird on the grill. Summer would not be summer around the asylum without at least ONE cremated chicken.

    But gosh, it just looks so good. I’m tempted Cathy, mighty tempted!

    Reply
  12. Melynda 12

    Grilling is a different way to cook. Different rules and different results. I could eat grilled food everyday, but I am still learning to do it well. Thanks for this post, great information, especially about the center burner.

    Reply
  13. This looks amazing! We’re going to have to give this a try. It looks delicious.

    Reply
  14. I’m glad you posted this b/c I think I am guilty of charring and or undercooking! Getting the chicken on the grill just right has not come easy for me! I will definitely try your method next time–thank you!

    Reply
  15. I’m becoming even more fixated on the rub. I had some pulled pork this week and I didn’t even review it because it was “all sauce”. No rub, no symphony of flavor… just sauce. Ack!
    And don’t you love the Country Bob’s sauce? Bob knows sauce!
    Great looking chicken!

    Reply
  16. I gotta get me some Country Bob’s….

    Reply
  17. elra 17

    Cathy,
    thank you so much!!!!!!!!
    I don’t know how to grill chicken, in fact I always a little scare. I can grill just about anything, grilling is my favorite way to cook any meat or fish. BUT not chicken. So, this post really help! Thank you!

    Reply
  18. Chicken is on the menu tonight. Your method looks dellicious. We’ll give it a try. That crispy skin is hard to resist.

    Reply
  19. leftfoot 19

    I always buy just breasts with the bones and skin still attached. Everyone I know isn’t really fond of dark meat. I marinate the chicken overnight and cook it on low heat for about 30 minutes (15 on each side), baste and then crank up the flame to medium to get the crispy edges for about 5-10 minutes. My grill stays hot, though, even on low heat so it cooks faster than if I had a nice, expensive grill. So often times if I’m going to slow cook, I turn only one of my 2 burners on and keep the meat on the other side. You just have to figure out how to work with the machine. And if you need to cut into a piece to see if it’s done, I always make sure I get that piece and the guests get the pretty ones.

    Reply
  20. imom 20

    Now I want grilled chicken and it’s only 8 am!!

    Reply
  21. Donalyn 21

    Looks wonderful Cathy – way too many times, people put those tomato based bbq sauces on too early so that they burn. I love your basting sauce – sounds like a great addition!

    Reply
  22. dawn 22

    You have just given me the confidence to cook on the grill…thank you!

    Reply
  23. Kayola 23

    YYUUUUUUMMMMMMMM…..I ♥ grilled chicken and you’re right it is always either or…..yours looks de-lish…but seriously what don’t you make that doesn’t always look to die for….we will have to try this….I have never done a split guy…I have always done him in pieces….I do grill/cook lots of chicken boobies though…..L O V E chicken!!!!

    Reply
  24. grace 24

    great tips, cathy, and gorgeous food porn! crispy-skinned chicken always makes me weak in the knees. :)

    Reply
  25. vanessa 25

    Looks delicious!! I have zero grilling experience and would love to change that. I guess a backyard and a BBQ are in order.

    Reply
  26. Lisa 26

    Thanks for the great tips. This sounds believably delicious. I’m going to try it and see if maybe I really do like grilled chicken!

    Reply
  27. Katie 27

    we learned this the hard way this summer. hubby glazed the raw chicken as he was putting it on the grill, I didn’t have the heart to tell him it was going to burn up. It got pretty black but was still juicy and tasted not at all of ashes, but now he knows!

    Reply
  28. I will have to do this next time I grill because this time I have a cut up bird. I like the split idea for even cooking. Great Post!

    Reply
  29. I really hate when I have to eat almost raw chicken to be “nice” at BBQs. I would rather eat dry meat than the undercooked. Luckily nothing ever happened to me… and now thanks to your tips I can send them to my buddies and avoid the raw chicken situation altogether! :)

    Reply
  30. Mandi 30

    My mouth is watering just looking at the picture!

    Reply
  31. Bob 31

    Wow, that looks awesome. I love grilled chicken, but I run into the same problems as you. When I finally get a yard and a grill I will be trying this method!

    Reply
  32. Pam 32

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. I can’t stand blackened chicken from the grill. The rub sounds fantastic and I am certain I can do this recipe! Bookmarked.

    Reply
  33. You would have to physically remove me to get me away from this chicken. It looks delicious and the rub sounds like something that would be a hit at our house as well.

    Reply
  34. Perfect! I have a friend who is legendary for his (awful) black & pink chicken. :-) Maybe I’ll tactfully send him a link to this recipe. Can’t wait to try it myself.

    Reply
  35. lo 35

    It’s true. Chicken seems to be the most difficult thing for many to get right on the grill. This technique looks like a sure-fire solution :)

    Reply
  36. Biz 36

    Brilliant – I am the queen of removing chicken too early! Bring it to the table, hubby cuts it and its still raw by the bone – yet I keep trying!

    He will love this!

    Reply
  37. Paula 37

    I’ve had good luck with chicken if it’s been brined first. I must give your method a try. I’m curious how the liquid smoke comes through in flavor. My hubby and kids would devour every bite shown in your photos. EVERY BITE. Guard your fingers!:-)

    Reply
  38. Jenny 38

    OMG, I literally am drooling here! Also I am having a mad craving for bbq chicken. Kinda makes me sad to be eating leftovers tonight! Cathy you rock!

    Reply
  39. Bunny 39

    Oh my word that’s the best looking grilled chicken I’ve ever seen, I’m making this!!

    Reply
  40. Denaa 40

    Your article in the Chicago Sun Times brought me here. Nive chicken and nice site!

    Reply
  41. mouth watering wonder. I do remember when you did a post on barbecuing ribs, you have got that down too. You know you are just an awesome cook, hands down, slap your mama, awesome! period.

    Reply
  42. Katrina 42

    My husband doesn’t like chicken with the bone in or skin on, but I’d love a little BBQ like this. He’d actually love the taste, he just doesn’t like the work. Sometimes I think he’s crazy. 😉 Looks de-lish.

    Reply
  43. Claire 43

    We are so going to try this recipe!!! Thanks so much for posting it. We’re probably going to do it with boneless, skinless breasts & thighs. It might not be as good, but we’ll give it a shot!

    Reply
  44. What a great how-to. Very informative, and I always love your visual presentation. You make things very easy to follow and I am always inspired to try it for myself. Great stuff!

    Reply
  45. Oh yum!

    Reply
  46. Oh my I am drooling! I love the grill! Just did a post on home made pickles come over and check it out!

    I have been taking a bit of a blog break and am back to it now!

    link to sprucehill.typepad.com

    Reply
  47. NoblePig! You always have such words of wisdom. This looks like a fabulous method for cooking prefect BBQ chicken. Will definitely try this!

    Reply
  48. giz 48

    Great tips Kathy – you gave me an “aha” moment about the split fryers – not that I didn’t know it and of course it makes total sense but did I even think about it….oh nooooo. I’m bookmarking this one.

    Reply
  49. Carlos 49

    Looks fabulous! I often par boil my chicken in a seasoned stock of my choosing, then dry rub/baste. The fat’s mostly boiled off – so no fat fires – and the stock seasons the meat all the way through. Plus, it’s tender!

    Reply
  50. Wow does that look perfect! Gorgeous chicken and glistening sauce.

    Reply
  51. This chicken looks devine! I love to use indirect heat for grilling :)

    I also wanted to let you know I’ve given you an award on my blog. Thanks for always having such great posts and beautiful pictures!

    Reply
  52. Best looking chicken I have ever seen.

    Reply
  53. Indigo 53

    Is it wrong that I’m really attracted to the shininess of this? I need to grow up or something, haha. But ohh, this looks too good. Meat is really not my forte but I might copy you next chance I get and pretend I’m a natural XD.

    Reply
  54. Great tips! I’ve never bought a chicken cut that way before. I’ll have to try. What would you do if your bbq only had two burners?

    Reply
  55. Debbie 55

    Thanks for the tips on grilling. I’m not great using a grill at all…I need the tips! Love the muffins below…..out of this world good!

    Reply
  56. OMG! I want a piece right now, my mouth is literally drooling!!!
    Kim, Ordinary Recipes Made Gourmet

    Reply
  57. I do one thing that makes chicken unbelievably moist on the grill: I boil it until it plumps up …say 5-7 minutes that cook slowly in my smoker with rub and then later add coals/woods to the fire and baste the sauce…heaven I’m in heaven…

    Reply
  58. The blackened chicken that has shrunk from the bone from being overcooked on the grill…yeah, that’s my hubs. He absolutley thinks he is THE grill master and I couldn’t possibly cook anything better on it than him. WELL, I am going to make this chicken and then we’ll decide! I parboiled chicken legs and thighs recently when they needed to be cooked quickly…so he just had to finish them off on the grill-and they were much better than his. He wouldn’t admit it though…but we knew 😉

    Reply
  59. Joanna 59

    I made your chicken and limoncello lemonade last night for a barbque/birthday party for my niece. The adults raved about the lemeonade and kids and adults alike loved the chicken, thanks!

    Reply
  60. Carla 60

    That is quite possibly the best looking grilled chicken I have ever seen. DROOOOOOOL!

    Reply
  61. Justin 61

    This recipe is fantastic. I actually used it for whole leg quarters and they came out so good. Moist and tender, with great outer crisp and flavor. Thank you!

    Reply
  62. Kim Day 63

    This is a great recipe. Chicken was so juicy and tender. LOVE the sauce! Cook time was perfect too. I wish I would have thought to take a picture because this was the “prettiest” chicken I have ever grilled!! Thank you so much for sharing!

    Reply
  63. Erika terrell 64

    I am going to try your method of cooking chicken with an added step…..brining first.
    Will let you know.

    Reply
  64. Jennifer 65

    Mine came out undercooked and I followed the directions! It’s got to be me. I just can’t do it!!

    Reply
    • Cathy 66

      If you are really having trouble, invest in a meat thermometer. A wireless one will tell you exactly when to remove it from the grill.

      Reply
  65. Chris 67

    I tried this recipe & it is awesome! The skin got a little burnt but I think it was the sugar in my basting sauce. I opted to by it at the store but that’s ok my first time! Maybe next time a little less season salt & more paprika.Looking forward to grilling some more! Thanks for the recipe!

    Reply
  66. Will try this soon, looks easy!!! Hope it tastes as good as it looks

    Reply
  67. mknghorn 69

    My uncle was the grill master for the volunteer fire dept chicken bar b ques for decades and this was his method. Decent heat, apple cider vinegar every fifteen,turn and repeat until done. This is how you grill chicken.

    Reply
  68. debbie hoy 70

    I followed your directions and receipe to the “t” ..I have 2 words for it “the bomb”… it was so good .. my family loved it and could hardly pull themselves away from it .. thanksfor a great recipe and good directions

    Reply
  69. Ted 71

    This was sooo good! Everyone at my gather RAVED about it!

    Only a couple of changes that I had to make due to lack of ingredients:
    I used two 8-piece fryers, pre-cut, table salt instead of kosher, and I substituted rice vinegar for the cider vinegar. The only thing is the marinade didn’t seem to make enough for me, so I might double that next time. Actually the basting/marinade is a step that I have never done with grilled chicken. Not anymore!

    The chicken is delicious and juicy. I used sweet-baby-rays BBQ sauce as the final step, and I used a meat thermometer.

    Since I used cut up pieces, I correctly assumed that 10-minute basting intervals and about 45-50 minutes was a good limit.

    Thank you for an awesome recipe!

    Reply
  70. Nataliya 72

    Cathy , thank you so much for such a fantastic recipe . I grilled my chicken already two times by your recipe and it turned so delicious even my first one get burned. But, second chicken was grilled without burning because I learned from my mistakes at first grill. Now, who can say that I am not master for chicken grill?

    Reply
  71. Shelby 73

    This is my go to recipe for chicken now. I’m so happy I tried it! We love it! Thank you :)

    Reply
  72. Diane leBlanc 74

    This is the best grilled chicken we have ever had, hands down! last night we tried it with Cornish Game Hens and it was really delicious! We used Chicken and Rib Rageous BBQ sauce, and rubbed the chicken and let sit in fridge for 4-5 hours before bringing it to room temperature and cooking it….well worth the time and effort! Thanks for the recipe!
    Diane from Saskatchewan

    Reply
  73. Lily 75

    So grateful to have discovered this recipe! Tried it tonight (with the absence of a couple spices) and turned out absolutely DELICIOUS! So tender and juicy. Methodically, the only thing I had to change was the cooking time – I added another 15 minute round of cooking and basting because my chicken was on the bigger side. Thank you!

    Reply

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