Not everyone is a master of the grill – but even those who are may need to consult a recipe now and again! Check out our easy BBQ grilled chicken recipes that you can make at home for a little delicious inspiration!
Grilled chicken: one of the most loved proteins in the entire world. There are lots of myths about how it should be cooked – particularly when it comes to using your BBQ grill to do so. Don’t fret though. Because we are here to help you on your way to grilled chicken greatness, with a few good recipes and our unbeatable BBQ grill knowledge!
Table of Contents
BBQ Chicken Safety
First thing is first: before any of the recipes get underway we need to talk chicken safety. It sounds lame, but under-cooked chicken can kill you and overcooked chicken has the ability to land you in hospital. So let’s get a few things straight:
- Wash your hands when switching from other raw meats to handling chicken, also between handling raw and cooked meats.
- The internal temperature of cooked chicken is 165 degrees Fahrenheit. It doesn’t matter what color the meat underneath is – only that you test for temperature at the thickest point of the meat (The Kitchn).
- Clean your temperature probe between uses to prevent the spread of salmonella or other noxious bacteria.
- Ignore any ‘rules’ you have heard about cooking the chicken until the juices run clear. This is a lie.
Wait… The Juices Don’t Need To Run Clear?
Nope! It’s an old wives tale. According to Cook’s Illustrated this is a myth. The reason is a substance called myoglobin (Wikipedia) which is produced as the protein is cooked. Heat will eventually change the color of myoglobin from pink to clear – but the exact heat point at which this happens varies from chicken to chicken, from breast to thigh, from one piece of meat to the next – and testing has proven fully cooked birds can still ooze pink juices.
All we can tell you is that a cooked chicken is 165 degrees Fahrenheit internally at the thickest part of the meat. And if you use the temperature gauge to measure this you will never poison any of your guests.
Grilled Chicken Perfection: Choosing the Cut
Which recipes you want to use will depend greatly on which parts of the bird you have. When grilling chicken your typical choices are wings, thighs and breasts. Thighs, or drumsticks, are the meat found above the legs of a chicken, the wings and breast both come from the obvious places. Each chicken has two of each thighs, breasts and wings.
You can also choose to roast the full bird. Many rotisserie grills have this ability incorporated but if yours doesn’t you can always buy the separate attachments and motor from Amazon! If you are starting with a whole bird and preparing the bird yourself then be sure to save the liver and also flip the bird upside down to remove the giblets once cooked.
Easy BBQ Chicken Wings Recipes You Can Try At Home!
The easiest way to cook Chicken Wings on your BBQ is simply to place them face down on the grill and get to work. Turn them once or twice and cook for roughly 20-25 minutes. Adding oils and bastes, marinades and sauces is where we get the chance to spice it up a little.
Of course; for them to be true BBQ chicken wings then a few drops of BBQ sauce applied as baste just before you take them off the heat should see them sticky and delicious.
We found this interesting article from Girls can Grill regarding crispy chicken wings if that’s what you like…but let’s talk marinades.
For an Asian flavor try soy sauce, lemon or lime (or both) and a little honey. Or for a lovely tangy Italian dressing see this recipe, from Grill Master, or try an olive oil, basil, soy sauce and balsamic vinegar mix instead. Alternatively, for an Indian theme try some ready-made curry paste as your marinade.
When you cook any marinade with wings don’t rinse it off! Just toss it on the grill and get cooking!
Easy BBQ Chicken Drumsticks Recipes to Try at Home
Chicken drumsticks done on the BBQ are much the same as wings – except bigger and with more meat. This means that they aren’t traditionally covered in sticky sauces like wings are. Generally they still have the bone sticking out to make for easy grasping, and often they come with the skin still on. If you put your marinade on the skin it will do one of two things; make it soggy or prevent the goodness of the sauce seeping into the chicken. So for the best results, marinade under the skin and allow the skin to crisp using a butter baste.
A honey, soy and lemongrass glaze will give a lovely, lightly spiced marinade that has the same sweetness you find in BBQ sauce but without the calories. Again you can use shop bought curry paste for an Indian flavor or you can simply cook the legs and then apply your own sauce.
For a delicious pepper sauce mix cracked black or pink peppercorns in cream to whichever amounts you prefer, season with salt and serve. But do not boil it or you will split the cream. Just heat it slowly on a low flame. On the BBQ this will also have the added benefit of flavorsome smokiness.
Another favorite with chicken wings is to go spicy. Sweet chili sauce makes an ideal marinade but DO NOT BURN IT. Because the smell will catch in your throat and everyone at the BBQ will be wheezing. You can whisk through some extra chili powder if you like it really hot, or just go all out and dice up some fresh ones to toss into the mix. We quite like this recipe from Tesco for sticky chili drumsticks – just increase the chili amounts as you see fit…but remember: you have guests!
Easy BBQ Chicken Breast Recipes
Take everything we have learned so far and you can apply each of the above recipes to a chicken breast… but you can do a lot more besides. Chicken breast has no bones and can therefore be easily wrapped in prosciutto, parma ham, bacon and any other thinly sliced meat you can find. So the difference with breast is that if you simply toss it on the grill there is a high chance it will dry out and become rubbery. Try to avoid this by cooking it in pink paper.
For the ultimate in BBQ chicken do two things: stuff your breast and keep it wrapped to seal in those juices. Because giving your chicken the ability to simmer in its own juice stops it from drying up and giving that chewy texture. And as for stuffing your breast: cut a slit into the side of the breast meat and pack it with whatever you like. Cheeses are a favorite – usually blue cheese – as are other meats like bacon, herbs, butter and garlic.
Our favorite cheat is one that few people actually know…so listen closely. If you crush a garlic clove and then rub it on another item of food, that second item of food will taste of fragrant garlic. You don’t need oils, butters – anything like that.
Chili has the same effect. So if you want a fragrant breast without any sauce or marinade (say you have a gluten-free guest) then rubbing garlic or chili over the raw meat will be enough to inject a burst of flavor that means you don’t need to serve bland chicken.
Another tip: Lemon, thyme, and rosemary are a match made in heaven. When used in your BBQ it can elevate your chicken from just great to absolutely fantastic. And mixing these three in a little oil and rubbing it into the breast will do wonders. Mixing them with honey and using them as a marinade, doubly so. With this combination you can’t go wrong.
BBQ Whole Chicken Recipes
Rotisserie chicken is a little different. Starting with a whole prepped chicken you need to insert the pipe through it so that it is suspended. This way the whole bird is cooked while it turns.
The trick to fabulous rotisserie chicken is Duck Fat. It might seem odd, but a good basting once or twice while you are cooking is all it takes to create moist, succulent chicken.
You can also have a sort of stuffing, with dry ingredients like thyme, rosemary and lemongrass. Inserting these inside will allow the fragrance to soak into the meat from the inside out and provide a delightful feast for your BBQ gathering.
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