Grilled chicken is a crowd favorite at any summer barbecue. The super juicy and delicious flavor is hard to beat — if cooked properly. Luckily, these cooking tips will help you make the best grilled chicken this 4th of July and all summer long!
Choose the Best Cut For Grilling
The first thing you should think about is the cut of chicken you’re going to grill. From wings to drumsticks, there’s no shortage of tasty options. However, according to Allrecipes food writer Sara Tane, you’re better off going with chicken thighs. They are not only cheaper than breasts, they come from a fattier part of the chicken that makes them more flavorful and less likely to dry during the cooking process.
It’s up to you whether you prefer bone-in or boneless chicken thighs and if you want to remove the skin or not. Just remember, keeping the bone in means it’ll take a little longer to cook on the grill. Either way, thighs are the clear winner when grilling chicken.
Use Salad Dressing as a Marinade
Now it’s time to figure out how you’ll jazz up the chicken beyond just salt and pepper. Marinating it beforehand is a foolproof way to ensure delighftully tender results, but you don’t need to go searching through a bunch of different marinade recipes. The best option is probably already in your pantry right now: salad dressing.
This clever tip comes from The Kitchn and it actually makes a lot of sense considering dressing has oil, vinegar, and seasonings. It takes out all of the guesswork of figuring flavorings! They suggest using Italian dressing (Buy at Walmart, $0.92) to infuse the chicken with a garlic and herb flavor, but feel free to use any version of an oil-based dressing you have on hand.
Follow a one-to-one ratio with one 16 ounce bottle of dressing to every one pound of chicken. Place the chicken thighs in a plastic bag, pour in the dressing, seal the bag, and gently mix the two together. Allow it to marinate in the fridge for at least four hours, but no longer than overnight or the chicken might become tough and chewy.
Let the Chicken Rest Before and After Grilling
Let your chicken sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before they hit the grill to help them heat evenly. Boneless chicken thighs need to cook for about five or six minutes per side; bone-in chicken thighs need around eight to 10 minutes per side.
Be sure to check that the chicken’s internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit, a clear sign they’re done and dinner’s almost ready. You can also insert a fork or small knife into one of the thighs and if there’s only clear juices running out of the meat then it’s fully cooked.
Although it’s tempting to dig in while the chicken’s still piping hot, allow it to rest for 10 minutes. This redistributes the juices throughout the meat so that the chicken stays moist, which will pay off when you take that first mouth-watering bite.
A little bit of prep work and planning will go a long way if you’re looking to make the best grilled chicken, so get ready to impress your guests at your next barbecue!
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