How To Slow Grill Chicken Perfectly
Perfect slow grill chicken is not hard to achieve. However, you need to follow a couple of tips and tricks to make it happen. Barbecuing is a fun task that rewards you and your family/guests with savory meals.
Prepare and Season the Chicken
The preparation stage is an essential part of grilling chicken. Follow the steps below to prep your chicken before slow-grilling it;
Step #1: Prep the Chicken Pieces
Start by washing your hands properly with warm water and soap. Dry your hands with paper towel or clean kitchen napkin. Then, start preparing the chicken. Trim off excess fat or skin using a kitchen knife. Run cold water on the chicken pieces after removing the skin and excess fat. Use thick paper towel to pat-dry the chicken pieces.
You may not take off the skin if the legs, thighs, wings or other chicken pieces are not de-boned. And, if the chicken is frost, avoid defrosting at room temperature. Instead, defrost in a microwave or refrigerator.
Step #2: Flat-Pound Boneless Chicken Breasts
For boneless chicken breasts, you need to flat-pound them to three-quarter inches (about 1.9 centimeters) thick. Get a re-sealable freezer bag and put the chicken breasts inside it. Use a meat pounder or rolling pin to whack the chicken after sealing the bag.
After pounding, take out the chicken and rinse. The sealed bag will prevent chicken juices and particles from splattering all over the place and messing up your kitchen. The chicken breasts will cook evenly when you pound them flat.
Step #3: You May Choose to Butterfly the Chicken
If your aim is to reduce the cook time, you should consider butterflying a full chicken. In essence, you should remove the breastbone and backbone of the chicken. Consequently, when you place the chicken on the grill, it will stay flat with ease. But, the grilling method in this post is slow cooking, which means you shouldn’t butter-fly the chicken so that it won’t cook faster.
Step #4: Marinate the Chicken
You may choose to marinate the chicken pieces for about 4 hours or more in a refrigerator. Use a plastic bag (the re-sealable type) to combine the ingredients you want to use for the marinade. If you are cooking 4 chicken breasts or other chicken pieces, you will need the following for a classic herb and lemon marinade;
- Extra virgin olive oil – 6 tablespoons
- Dried thyme – 1 teaspoon
- Garlic (minced) – 4 large cloves
- Salt – 1 ¼ teaspoon
- Lemon zest extract from a full lemon – 1½ teaspoons
- Dried oregano – ½ teaspoon
- Freshly ground black pepper – ½ teaspoon
Obviously, if you are grilling less quantity of chicken pieces, you will use less ingredients in terms of quantity.
Step #5: Consider Using a Rub
You may choose a preferred rub for the chicken thighs and legs you want to grill. In this case, just before grilling, apply the rub onto the legs, thighs or other chicken pieces. Alternatively, you can marinade the chicken for about an hour.
Bring your rub to a mixture and pat the mixture onto the chicken pieces. Here are the ingredients you will need for a simple rub;
- Ground cumin – 2 teaspoons
- Kosher salt 4 teaspoons
- Dried onion flakes – 2 teaspoons
- Dried cilantro – 2 teaspoons
- Chili powder – 2 teaspoons
Step #6: Brine the Chicken
Some people prefer to brine the chicken thighs, drumsticks or breasts. In that case, you would need about 4 cups of water containing ¼ cup of salt (or as you deem fit) – then, let your chicken sit in the salted water for about 3 hours or less. Brining should take less time than marinating, so that the chicken does not become rubbery.
Grilling the Chicken
Follow these instructions to achieve perfect slow grill chicken
Step #1: If you prefer smoky, delectable flavor, you should use the best smokers and grill with charcoal. This would aid slow grilling, in addition to a mouth-watering smoky flavor you will get.
But, if you opt to use a gas grill, make sure you turn the heat down – as low as possible.
Ensure the temperature is stable at 2750F and don’t start grilling yet until clean smoke starts to come out. It’s important to ensure the fire is as low as possible. Small fire is the most suitable for slow grilling.
Step #2: Place the chicken piece on raised grate, with the skin facing up. Placing the chicken 12 inches (at least) above the fire or charcoal will provide you with the best possible outcome.
For gas grill, many grilling enthusiasts prefer cooking the chicken or other foods on the warming shelf on top. The lid should stay closed. Also, make sure the temperature remains between 275 and 3000F.
Step #3: For even browning, rearrange chicken pieces or rotate grate every 15 minutes.
Step #4: Often, a really nice brown crust would form on the bottom after about 45-60 minutes (this time will be a bit less if you are grilling chicken wings).
Usually, if you are cooking on a low heat and turning the chicken every 20 to 30 minutes, the browning will be even. But, if the chicken is becoming burnt and really dark, it means your grilling temperature is too high – simply reduce the temperature. Alternatively, you should elevate the grate so that it is farther from the fire.
Step #5: As soon as the browning is sufficient or just exactly how you prefer it, you should flip the chicken skin to face down.
Step #6: Keep grilling and rotating grate for an additional 45 minutes or less. Or, you should continue until you get a brown skin.
The perfect roast chicken should be ready once you get to step 6 above. So, take it out from the grill and sit back to enjoy this great meal. If you are a fan of sauce or glaze, you may eat your grilled chicken with either.
Perfectly slow grill chicken is a sumptuous delight for summer get-together, family reunion or just any event. And, for the best possible outcome, you really need a good smoker and this doesn’t have to be expensive.