Have you ever tried to make the perfect barbecue chicken? Perhaps you succeeded and were able to put a juicy piece of chicken onto your plate, alongside an ear of corn and homemade potato salad.

However, you’ve probably run into a number of times when your chicken didn’t turn out so well. Maybe it looked perfect on the outside but was still pink on the inside. Or perhaps you charred the chicken by leaving it on the grill too long.

So how do you find that perfect balance for barbecue chicken? By avoiding a few common mistakes! By doing this, you can align yourself with the best dishes. Below you’ll find five common mistakes to dodge when preparing smoky barbecue chicken.

1. You’re not adding enough flavor - or any flavor at all.

Some people think that because they’re adding barbecue sauce, they don’t need to season the chicken. But a little bit of salt and pepper goes a long way in adding flavor to your meal.

Sprinkle the chicken generously with salt and pepper before putting it on the grill. This will lock in the moisture and add a ton of flavor to your chicken. Once the chicken starts to cook, you can brush each piece with your favorite barbecue sauce.

2. You’re slathering on the barbecue sauce too soon.

While you can put some BBQ sauce on the chicken before it touches the grill, be sure that you don’t slather it on. Barbecue sauce typically contains sugar that will brown faster than the meat. This can make it difficult to tell when the chicken is done. To ensure you don’t pull the chicken off too soon, add the BBQ sauce when you’re nearly done cooking the meat.

3. The temperature is set too high on the grill.

Some types of meat (steak) need high heat to get a good sear. But chicken requires a lower temperature to get an even consistency. Rather than cooking your chicken on high heat, choose medium-low on a charcoal grill or medium on a gas grill. If you’re worried about hot spots, shift the chicken around on the grill.

4. You use your eyes to determine if the chicken is done.

Simply looking at the chicken isn’t always the best way to tell if it’s done or not. In fact, some factors can make it look like the chicken is cooked when it’s not, such as char grill marks and darkened sugar sauces. To make sure you’re pulling the barbecue chicken off at the right time, use a meat thermometer. Take the chicken off once it reads 165 degrees Fahrenheit or so.

5. You’re not giving the chicken time to rest after grilling.

No matter how hungry you and your guests are, take a few minutes to let the chicken rest before digging in. Just like a fine steak, chicken needs to rest before you cut into it. This allows the juices to redistribute themselves through the meat so it’s evenly moist. Use this time to take out the side dishes and set the table!

When you avoid these five mistakes when preparing BBQ chicken, you’ll be able to produce more memorable dishes for yourself and your guests!

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