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Grilling Chicken Right

When I grill chicken I either grill a whole chicken cut into pieces or I
grill skinless, boneless chicken breasts. Each requires a little different
strategy when cooking. The challenge to skin on chicken is the flare-ups
and the burning chicken fat. Skinless chicken will dry out easy and can
quickly lose flavor.

When grilling chicken pieces with the skin on the first thing to do to avoid
flare-ups is to not pierce the meat. This will allow the fat to run out
quickly and catch fire. Always use tongs when grilling meat, especially
chicken. The second thing you can to is to keep the chicken moving. Try to
save space on the grill to move chicken pieces out of the fire. If worse
comes to worse move the chicken to the upper rack or off the grill
completely for a minute to let the fires die down. I avoid spray bottles
because I think they change the flavor of the food and a quick blast of cold
water can cause damage to your grill. They always tell you not to put water
on a grease fire, well that holds for the grill also.

If flare-ups are a problem and you don't want to have to stand in front of
the grill for the whole cooking time you can always opt for indirect
cooking. This can be accomplished in a couple of ways. If you are using a
charcoal grill put the coals in a ring around the edges of the grill and
cook the chicken over the part where they are not any coals. If you are
using a gas grill then you either have a grill with dual burners or you
don't. If you have the dual burners, preheat both sides and turn one side
off when you put the chicken on. If you don't have the dual burners then
make a pan out of a piece of aluminum foil and place if over the briquettes
(or lava rocks or whatever) and under the cooking grate. Place the chicken
directly over the foil. The foil will catch the fat and keep it from
reaching the burners. The downside of indirect cooking is that it will take
longer. Add about 10%-20% more cooking time, but keep a close eye on things.

When cooking skinless chicken always make sure you put something on the
chicken to keep it from drying out. This can be a thin coat of cooking oil
or a marinade. Also, flatten chicken breasts out before you grill them. If
you don't then the thin parts will dry out before the thick parts get
cooking. Pounding the chicken with a kitchen mallet will make the cooking
more even.

There is a third method for grilling chicken of course and that's to use a
rotisserie. Grilling chicken on a rotisserie will take some time but it's
well worth the wait. To keep the chicken from burning and to avoid flare-ups
put a piece of foil directly beneath where the chicken will spin to catch
the escaping fats. You will also want to turn the grill down as low as you
can to make sure the inside has a chance to cook before the outside gets

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