So you want to make the best grilled chicken in town? Lucky for you, this can be accomplished in a few simple steps. Once you get used to following these tips, you’ll feel confident experimenting with various recipes both on and off the grill.

Below are three tips for making the best grilled chicken your friends and family have ever tasted.

1. Butterfly (or Spatchcock) the Chicken

Whether you’re cooking chicken breasts or a whole chicken, we recommend butterflying or spatchcocking the bird. Here’s why. Chicken is a lean meat that has varying thicknesses. This is why many people end up with dry or overcooked chicken.

To prevent over-drying from happening, use a boning knife and slide it through the center and down through the thickest part of the chicken. Leave the sides attached or separate them into cutlets. This ensures the chicken is cooked evenly and it makes portion sizes easier, too! 

2. Brine, Marinade and Season the Chicken

Your chicken needs flavor! To achieve this, start with a brine. Brining adds moisture to your chicken and keeps it juicy. You can make your own brine by combining salt, water and sometimes sugar and vinegar. This draws moisture out of the chicken and then back in. Brine for up to 24 hours.

Whether or not you brine the chicken, you can still add flavor through a marinade. There are plenty of recipes to try, so pick something that brings out the flavor profile you’re looking for. Marinate your chicken for 30 minutes to 24 hours. If you’re in a pinch, you can use a dry rub instead. Toss the chicken with olive oil, add your seasonings and throw the meat on the grill.

3. Let the Chicken Rest a Few Minutes Before Serving

With all the work you’ve put into the chicken, you don’t want to ruin things now. This is why you should let your chicken rest for a few minutes to ensure it stays tender and juicy. Never cut into meat right after removing it from the heat source, otherwise the juices will leak out or evaporate.

Depending on the cut of the meat, you should let it rest for 10 to 20 minutes. The good news is that this requires nothing from you but a bit of patience. While the chicken is resting, pull out the side dishes and set the table. When the time is up, you can cut into the chicken and enjoy your meal.

These three steps will help you put out the best chicken dishes whether you’re grilling chicken breasts or roasting a whole chicken. And once you do them a few times, you’ll know how to build in this extra time for brining, marinating and resting.

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