Great Grilled Chicken: Techniques, Sauces, and Recipes
Flavorful barbecue sauce and this family favorite are a mighty fine combination. Our techniques and recipes promise perfect results.
We spent plenty of time at the grill perfecting the recipes below. Some of the sauces double as both marinades and serving sauces; to avoid burning, be sure to baste the sweeter and thicker ones onto the meat during the last 30 minutes of cooking. Reserve your "sauce on the side" when you make up the batch, and serve it after the chicken comes to the table (never serve sauce left over from basting or marinating uncooked meat).
Steps to Great Barbecued Chicken
For these methods, we prefer to use a 3-pound whole chicken cut into quarters, which tend to cook more evenly. If you use chicken pieces, remove drumsticks and wings from the grill a little earlier to keep them from burning.
For Gas Grills
Indirect Cooking: Place 2 cups hickory, mesquite, or other wood chips in the center of a large square of heavy-duty aluminum foil; fold into a rectangle, and seal. Punch holes in top of packet. Preheat 1 side of grill, leaving center empty, for 20 minutes. Place packet on cooking grate on heated side of grill. Arrange chicken, skin side up, on cooking grate over unlit side. Grill, covered with grill lid, 2 hours and 15 minutes or until done (170°). Baste as directed.
Direct Cooking: Preheat grill over low heat, under 300°, for 20 minutes. Place chicken, skin side up, on cooking grate. Grill, covered with grill lid, over low heat 1 hour and 15 minutes or until done. (Don't turn chicken.) Baste as directed.
For Charcoal Grills
Indirect Cooking: Soak 2 cups hickory wood chips in cold water for 30 minutes; drain. (Wood chips for the gas grill are not soaked with water because they're encased in foil and placed on the cooking grate.) Prepare fire by piling charcoal on each side of grill, leaving center empty. Let charcoal burn 30 minutes or until flames disappear and coals turn white. Sprinkle chips over hot coals. Arrange chicken, skin side up, on cooking grate in center of grill (not directly over coals). Cook, covered with grill lid, for 50 minutes to 1 hour or until done. (Don't turn chicken.) Baste as directed.