Master the Grill: Chicken

North America’s top grilling chefs share their secrets

chicken wings grilling bbq wings chicken drumsticks

    Photo: Flickr

When a northerner beats the south in a nationwide poll for best barbecue, you know it’s gotta be good. Enter New York’s Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, which not only grabbed top spot in a “Good Morning America” nationwide poll, but has also been featured on the Travel Channel and Food Network. John Stage, founder and pitmaster of the restaurant, shares his tips:

“There’s no reason to parboil chicken before putting it on the grill, and you should never slather on sugar-laced BBQ sauce at the beginning of cooking,” says John. “Parboiling tosses all the chicken flavor out the window, while slathering on the sauce too soon leaves you with chicken that’s raw in the middle and charred on the outside.”

“Instead,” he says, “you’ll get great barbecued chicken by doing the following: First, rub your chicken with a spice mixture the morning before cooking for deep flavor penetration.” After it’s soaked up the flavor, it’s time to move to the grill. Get the grill going with a medium fire—325 to 350 degrees for charcoal, 325 degrees for gas. This temperature helps minimize flare-ups as fat in the chicken begins to render out.

On to placement. “Position the grill rack as high above the heat source as possible to minimize charring before the chicken is cooked through. Then cook with the lid of your grill down, which makes for good convection heat.”

What about that sauce? John saves it for a final step. “Glaze the chicken with BBQ sauce only in the last 15 minutes of cooking,” he stresses. “Slathering on too early will cause the sugars in the sauce to burn.”

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