The Ultimate Guide To Grilling Tools For Chicken

Geb's BBQ


Backyard grilling is one of the best ways to get flavorful, juicy chicken any night of the week. But having the right grilling tools on hand makes all the difference for properly handling and cooking chicken on a barbecue. This complete guide covers everything you need to know about choosing, using, and caring for grilling tools to masterfully grill chicken.

Why Grilling is Great for Chicken

Chicken is well-suited for grilling for a few key reasons:

  • Direct heat from the grill sears the outside of chicken, keeping moisture locked inside.
  • Cooking over an open flame imparts smoky, savory flavors.
  • The high heat cooks chicken thoroughly to a safe internal temperature.
  • Grilled chicken develops tasty char marks and caramelization.
  • Skin and bone-in chicken stay juicier on the grill compared to boneless, skinless chicken.

From whole chickens to bone-in breasts, legs, thighs and wings, there are endless possibilities for grilling tender, juicy chicken infused with smoky flavor.

Grilling Tools Checklist

Having the right set of grilling tools on hand makes the process of prepping, cooking, and handling chicken much simpler. Here are the grilling tools you’ll want to have for grilling chicken:

Tool Purpose
Tongs Flipping and moving chicken pieces
Instant-read thermometer Checking doneness and internal temperature
Basting brush Applying sauces and glazes
Spatula Lifting and turning boneless pieces
Skewers Threading kabobs and cornsish hens
Grilling basket Grilling small items like wings, drumsticks
Aluminum foil Covering ends of drumsticks, wings
Grill gloves Protecting hands from heat
Grill brush Cleaning grill grates

Having high-quality grilling tools makes grilling chicken quicker and easier from start to finish. Invest in sturdy stainless steel tools with heat-resistant handles.

## Grilling Preparation Tips

Properly preparing the chicken and the grill is key for safety and maximizing flavor. Follow these tips:

### Handling Raw Chicken

– Wash hands and sanitize surfaces after touching raw chicken to prevent foodborne illness.
– Use separate plates and utensils for raw and cooked chicken.

### Seasoning

– Season chicken at least 30 minutes before grilling to let flavors penetrate.
– Try dry rubs, marinades, herbs, spices, and zesty sauces.
– Oil or butter help keep chicken moist and prevent sticking.

### Cutting Chicken

– Cut whole chickens into 10 pieces: breasts halved, legs/thighs, wings, back, and rib cage.
– Butterfly or pound breasts to ~1/2 inch thickness for even cooking.
– Cut other pieces to equal sizes for consistent cooking.

### Safety Tip

– Defrost chicken fully in the fridge before grilling. Do not grill frozen chicken.

### Prep the Grill

– Preheat grill completely to achieve proper cooking heat.
– Clean grates thoroughly with a grill brush for good sear marks.
– Oil grates right before adding chicken to prevent sticking.

Following proper food safety and prep steps takes a little extra time but ensures safe and delicious grilled chicken.

## How to Grill Chicken on a Charcoal Grill

Grilling chicken over charcoal fire provides an authentic, smoky barbecue flavor. Follow these steps:

### 1. Prep the Grill

– Open vents for good airflow and use chimney starter to ignite charcoal.
– Let flames die down and coals become ashy white with some red embers. This means they’re ready for grilling.
– Position coals to create direct and indirect heat zones.

### 2. Season Chicken

– Take chicken out of fridge and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
– Pat dry with paper towels. Season all over with dry rub or marinade.

### 3. Grill Chicken

– Sear chicken first over direct heat, flipping once. This creates grill marks and locks in juices.
– Move chicken to indirect heat, cover grill, and finish cooking, monitoring temperature.
– Bone-in chicken pieces take 18-25 minutes, bone-out pieces 15-20 minutes.

### 4. Check for Doneness

– Use instant-read thermometer to check internal temp: 165°F for breast, 175°F for legs/thighs.
– Meat near bones may register up to 10 degrees higher when fully cooked.

### 5. Let Rest and Serve

– Transfer chicken to clean platter and let rest 5-10 minutes before serving.
– Chicken will continue cooking slightly while resting. The juices will redistribute evenly.
– Serve grilled chicken warm alongside favorite sides and sauces. Enjoy!

With a proper charcoal setup and using a thermometer, you’ll achieve juicy, flavorful backyard grilled chicken.

## How to Grill Chicken on a Gas Grill

Cooking chicken on a gas grill provides convenience, great results, and less mess than charcoal. Here’s how:

### 1. Prep and Pre-heat Grill

– Clean grates thoroughly and coat with vegetable oil to prevent sticking.
– Pre-heat grill on high with lid closed for 10-15 minutes.

### 2. Arrange Chicken

– Pat chicken dry and coat all over with oil, dry seasoning or marinade.
– For bone-in pieces, arrange skin-side up on main grate.
– For boneless, arrange on lightly oiled perforated grill pan.

### 3. Grill Chicken

– Sear chicken over direct high heat for 2-4 minutes per side.
– Move chicken to indirect heat, close lid, and finish cooking until done.
– Rotate chicken and swap placement periodically for even cooking.

### 4. Check for Doneness

– Bone-in breasts: 18-22 minutes until 165°F.
– Boneless breasts: 8-12 minutes until 165°F.
– Bone-in thighs/legs: 22-28 minutes until 175°F.

### 5. Let Rest and Serve

– Give chicken 5-10 minutes to rest before carving and serving.
– Use gas grill’s side burner or stove to make quick sauce to serve with chicken.

With a hot grill and digital thermometer, you can easily achieve juicy, beautifully grill-marked chicken.

## Best Practices for Grilling Chicken

Follow these top grilling tips and techniques for perfect chicken:

– **Use the right heat level** – Sear over direct high heat to start. Finish cooking over indirect medium heat to prevent burning.

– **Know ideal internal temperature** – Chicken is safe to eat once it reaches 165°F for breasts, 175°F for legs and thighs.

– **Close the lid** – This traps heat for thorough cooking and infuses smoky flavor.

– **Rotate periodically** – Swap chicken placement on the grates for even, consistent doneness.

– **Watch flare-ups** – Move chicken away from excessive flare-ups which can char chicken.

– **Use a meat thermometer** – It takes the guesswork out of doneness. Thermometers ensure safely cooked chicken.

– **Let chicken rest** – Giving it 5-10 minutes before cutting lets juices redistribute for moister meat.

– **Clean grates thoroughly** – This prevents chicken from sticking and minimizes risks.

– **Use indirect heat** – After searing, indirect heat gently finishes chicken without drying it out.

– **Brush on sauces at the end** – Saucing too early can burn sugars and ingredients. Brush on just during last few minutes.

Mastering these best practices takes your grilled chicken from average to incredible.

## Grilling Tools for Handling Chicken

Having the right grilling tools makes cooking chicken on the barbecue much easier and more efficient.

### Tongs

– Use long sturdy tongs for flipping, rotating, and moving chicken.
– Scalloped edges provide better grip.
– Look for at least 16 inches long to keep hands away from heat.

### Instant-Read Thermometer

– Digital thermometers quickly and accurately read doneness.
– Thermocouple sensors provide precise temperature in seconds.
– Check in thickest part of breast, thighs, and legs.

### Basting Brush

– Use to glaze chicken with sauce for added flavor.
– Look for heat-resistant silicone bristles.
– Opt for angular brush head to get into crevices.

### Spatulas

– Ideal for turning boneless chicken breasts and thighs.
– Thin, flexible edges slide easily under chicken.
– Stainless steel provides durability.

### Skewers

– Metal and wooden skewers hold kabobs and cornsih hens in place.
– Soak wooden skewers before using to prevent burning.
– Double skewer for extra stability.

### Grilling Baskets

– Baskets keep small items contained, such as wings, thighs.
– Look for sturdy steel mesh construction with handles.
– Allows flipping multiple pieces at once.

Having the right grilling tools allows you to confidently handle chicken and ensures the best possible results. Invest in quality tools for efficiency and safety.

## Caring for Grilling Tools

Taking proper care of grilling tools ensures they work effectively each time you grill. Here are some tool care tips:

– **Hand wash** – Use hot soapy water, nylon brush to remove residue after each use.

– **Dry thoroughly** – Prevent bacterial growth and rusting.

– **Store properly** – Hang utensils or place in drawer/bin to prevent damage.

– **Inspect for wear** – Check for loose handles, worn bristles, rust spots, etc.

– **Replace as needed** – Don’t risk injury or contamination with damaged tools.

– **Clean grill brush thoroughly** – Removes grime that can stick to chicken.

– **Oil metal surfaces** – Coating with vegetable oil prevents rusting. Wipe off before use.

– **Disinfect with bleach solution** – Sanitize after handling raw chicken.

– **Avoid metal bristles** – Wire grill brush bristles can break off and contaminate food. Use alternative grill cleaning tools.

Taking the time to properly clean and store grilling tools extends their lifespan so they work effectively for years of grilling delicious chicken.

## Top 10 Grilled Chicken Recipes

One of the best parts of grilling is experimenting with different flavorful recipes. Try out these top 10 grilled chicken recipes:

**1. Beer Can Chicken** – Chicken roasted upright on beer can for incredible tenderness.

**2. Tandoori Chicken** – Yogurt marinated chicken with Indian spices.

**3. Chicken Shawarma** – Middle Eastern spiced chicken with garlic, lemon.

**4. BBQ Chicken** – Sauced with sweet, tangy, spicy barbecue sauce.

**5. Jerk Chicken** – Jamaican inspired chicken with spicy rub.

**6. Thai Chicken Satay** – Peanutty marinade with ginger, chili, cilantro.

**7. Chicken Souvlaki** – Greek chicken kabobs with lemon, oregano, olive oil.

**8. Chicken Fajitas** – Mexican spiced chicken, peppers, onions.

**9. Teriyaki Chicken** – Sweet Japanese-style chicken glazed with teriyaki.

**10. Buffalo Chicken** – Chicken coated in spicy buffalo wing sauce.

The possibilities are endless when grilling chicken. Try out global flavors for amazing results off the grill. Get creative with marinades, spice rubs, and sauces.

## Grilling Tools Shopping Tips

Equipping your grilling toolkit with high-quality essential tools makes grilling chicken an easy, enjoyable experience. Keep these tips in mind:

– **Sturdy, long handles** – Keep hands away from heat. Metal, wood, and plastic handles work.

– **Ideal length** – 16-18 inches for tongs and spatulas to keep hands at a safe distance.

– **High-heat resistance** – Look for tools rated to withstand 500°F+ temperatures.

– **Non-stick surfaces** – Stainless steel prevents food from sticking. Chrome plating also helps.

– **Comfortable grip** – Contoured handles and heat guards make tools easy to hold.

– **Full tang** – Continuous metal from tip through handle provides durability.

– **Mesh grilling baskets** – Tightly woven stainless steel contains small items.

– **Reputable brands** – Trust companies like Weber, OXO, ThermoWorks for quality.

– **Price** – Expect to pay $10-$50 per tool. Splurge on tongs, thermometer, brush.

Do your homework to invest in high-quality grilling tools that make handling chicken safe and easy. It’s worth it for the long haul.

## Grilling Chicken Safely

Improper grilling can lead to undercooked chicken harboring dangerous bacteria. Keep these safety tips in mind:

– **Thaw** – Defrost frozen chicken in the fridge 1-2 days before grilling. Do not thaw at room temp.

– **Marinate in fridge** – Keep raw chicken chilled in marinade for food safety.

– **Use separate plates/utensils** – For raw chicken vs. cooked to avoid cross-contamination.

– **Wash up** – Hands, cutting board, tools after handling raw chicken.

– **Cook thoroughly** – Use a meat thermometer to ensure chicken reaches safe minimum internal temperature.

– **Don’t reuse platters/utensils** – Use clean ones for cooked chicken to prevent bacteria spread.

– **Refrigerate leftovers** – Store grilled chicken within 2 hours, discard if left out longer.

– **Handle with care** – Use grilling gloves, tongs, mitts when dealing with hot chicken.

Following proper food safety guidelines reduces the risks of foodborne illnesses from undercooked chicken. Take precautions at each step.

Grilling juicy, flavorful chicken is easy with the right tools and techniques. Equip your grilling toolkit with high-quality essentials to handle chicken with ease. Master indirect heat and use a digital thermometer for perfect results. With the endless flavor possibilities, your backyard barbecue chicken will never get boring. Get grilling!

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About the Author: Staff Reporter