how long to grill chicken

Become a Backyard Barbecue Pro: Expert Tips on Grilling Chicken Perfectly Every Time

Ah, the sweet smell of summertime grilling. Nothing beats the taste of grilled chicken on a warm evening, but getting it just right can be a challenge, especially if you’re new to cooking on the barbecue.

how long to grill chicken

But not to worry, dear reader! As your neighbor who’s always throwing backyard barbecues, I’m here to teach you everything you need to know about grilling chicken to perfection.

In this article, we’ll cover the basics of understanding different cuts of chicken, how to prepare it for the grill, grilling times for various cuts, and checking for doneness and safe internal temperatures. Plus, I’ll share some of my tried-and-true tips for getting juicy, flavorful chicken every time.

So grab your tongs and let’s get grilling! Keep reading to become a backyard barbecue pro in no time.

Understanding the different cuts of chicken.

When it comes to grilling chicken, understanding the different cuts is essential for achieving the perfect cook. Each cut of chicken offers unique characteristics that affect cooking time and flavor.

Let’s start with the breast. This is a lean cut of meat that tends to dry out quickly if overcooked. To prevent this, grill your chicken breasts over medium heat for about 6-8 minutes per side until they reach an internal temperature of 165°F.

Moving on to thighs, this dark meat has more fat than breasts which gives them a richer flavor and juicier texture. Thighs can handle higher heat without drying out so try grilling them over high heat for about 4-5 minutes per side until they too reach an internal temperature of 165°F.

Next up are drumsticks which are great for feeding a crowd due to their larger size and easy-to-eat shape. Drumsticks take longer to cook than other cuts because they have bones in them but aim for around 25-30 minutes total on low-medium heat flipping every few minutes until cooked through (again, reaching an internal temp of at least 165°F).

Lastly we have wings; these little guys require less time on the grill due their small size but can be tricky since there’s not much meat on each one making it easier to accidentally undercook or burn them! We recommend cooking wings over medium-high direct heat using tongs (not forks) turning frequently until crispy all around – approximately another ten or so depending upon how hot your fire source is!

So now you know how long each cut takes plus some tips along the way! With practice you’ll soon become an expert like me neighbor Bob who always has perfect grilled chicken at his BBQs!

Preparing the chicken for grilling.

Preparing the chicken for grilling is a crucial step to ensure that your meal turns out perfectly. As someone who’s been grilling for years, I can tell you that there are a few things you need to keep in mind when getting ready to grill chicken.

First and foremost, it’s important to choose the right cut of meat. For best results, I recommend using bone-in chicken thighs or drumsticks. These cuts tend to be more flavorful and juicy than other parts of the bird.

Once you’ve selected your poultry, it’s time to give it some TLC before hitting the grill. To do this properly, start by seasoning your meat with a dry rub or marinade at least 30 minutes before cooking. This will allow all those delicious flavors and spices enough time to penetrate deep into the flesh.

Next up is prepping your grill for action! Make sure that both sides of each grate are clean from any previous bits left on them from earlier use (you don’t want anything ruining those beautiful char marks!). Then light up one side only so as not too much heat hits all areas at once- we want even cooking here!

Finally comes timing – depending on how hot your coals get after lighting them initially (aiming around 350°F), place each piece onto its own section over indirect heat if possible until internal temperature reaches about 165°F which typically takes around 25-30 minutes depending on size/cut chosen.

In conclusion preparing chicken isn’t rocket science but taking these steps can really help elevate anyone’s game when trying their hand at backyard barbecues!

Grilling times for various cuts of chicken vary.

Grilling chicken to perfection is an art that requires some serious skills. The key to mastering the perfect grilling time for different cuts of chicken lies in understanding the unique characteristics of each cut.

Let’s start with boneless, skinless chicken breasts – a popular choice among grillers. These cuts need around 6-8 minutes per side over medium-high heat to cook through properly. However, it’s important not to overcook them as they can easily dry out and become tough.

When it comes to bone-in chicken thighs, you’ll want to cook them for slightly longer – around 10-12 minutes per side on medium heat. The extra cooking time ensures that the meat is cooked all the way through while retaining its juiciness and flavor.



Drumsticks are another great option for grilling enthusiasts. They require approximately 8-10 minutes per side on medium heat until fully cooked and crispy on the outside.

If you’re looking for a more indulgent grilling experience, consider going for skin-on chicken wings or legs which take approximately 12-15 minutes per side over low-medium heat until thoroughly cooked with crispy skin!

Overall, mastering different grilling times is crucial in achieving perfectly grilled meats every single time! So go ahead and experiment with different cuts of chicken until you discover your own personal favorite!

Check for doneness and safe internal temperatures.

One of the most important aspects of grilling and barbecuing is ensuring that your food is fully cooked to a safe internal temperature. In fact, checking for doneness is essential in preventing foodborne illnesses and ensuring that your guests enjoy their meal without any health risks.

But how do you know when your chicken, burgers or steaks are done? A common mistake among new grillers is relying solely on time as an indicator of doneness. However, cooking times can vary greatly depending on factors such as the thickness of the meat or even weather conditions.

Instead, invest in a reliable meat thermometer to accurately check for safe internal temperatures. For example, chicken should be cooked until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) while beef should reach 145°F (63°C) for medium-rare or 160°F (71°C) for medium.

Additionally, it’s important to let your grilled meats rest before cutting into them. This allows juices to redistribute throughout the meat resulting in juicier and more flavorful bites.

As someone who has mastered the art of grilling and barbecueing over many years, I cannot stress enough how crucial proper doneness checks are when preparing meals outdoors. So invest in a good thermometer and take pride in serving up perfectly cooked dishes every time!

Here are some tips for grilling juicy and flavorful chicken.

When it comes to grilling chicken, achieving that perfectly juicy and flavorful result can be a challenge. But fear not, my fellow grilling enthusiasts! As someone who has spent countless hours perfecting the art of grilled chicken, I am here to share with you some tips that will take your grill game to the next level.

First and foremost, let’s talk about seasoning. You want to make sure you are using a good blend of spices and herbs that will complement the natural flavor of the chicken without overpowering it. My go-to mix includes paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper – but feel free to experiment with your own favorite flavors.

Next up is marinating. This step is crucial for infusing flavor into every inch of your bird while also tenderizing it for maximum juiciness. A simple marinade made from olive oil, lemon juice and minced garlic works wonders on grilled chicken.

Now onto the actual cooking process: timing is everything when it comes to grilling chicken. You want to cook each side evenly until they reach an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C). Depending on how thick your pieces are this could take anywhere between 8-15 minutes per side over medium-high heat.

But here’s where things get interesting – if you’re feeling adventurous try adding wood chips like mesquite or hickory directly onto hot coals or in a smoker box on top of gas burners for extra smoky flavor!

Lastly (and most importantly), don’t forget about resting time! Letting meat rest after cooking allows juices inside each piece redistribute throughout which ensures optimal moisture retention during serving time instead bleeding out all over cutting board – nobody wants dry meat!

So there you have it folks – my tried-and-true tips for achieving juicy and flavorful grilled chicken every time! Now go forth into summer BBQ season confident in knowing


Grilling chicken can be a challenge, but with the right knowledge and technique it’s easy to make delicious, juicy grilled chicken every time. Now that you know how long to grill each cut of chicken and the best ways to prepare it for grilling, you have everything you need for success! Be sure to practice your skills regularly so that you can hone your grilling prowess and master this classic dish.

Scroll to Top