How to Grill Chicken Like a Pro on the BBQ

How to Grill Chicken Like a Pro on the BBQ

Grilling chicken on the BBQ is a summertime favorite that brings out the flavors and creates a deliciously charred exterior. However, achieving perfectly grilled chicken can be challenging without the right techniques. We’ll walk you through how to grill chicken like an expert in this blog post. These tricks and suggestions will up your grilling game and surprise your guests with delectable barbecue chicken, from choosing the perfect cuts to mastering the cooking temperature and adding a tasty barbecue sauce.

Choosing the Perfect Chicken Cuts for Grilling

Selecting the right chicken cuts is essential for the process of a barbeque chicken recipe and successful grilling. Consider the following options:

Bone-In, Skin-On Chicken Pieces:

Opt for bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces such as thighs, drumsticks, or chicken quarters. The skin serves as a layer protecting the meat and offers a deliciously crispy texture, while the bone adds flavour and aids in moisture retention.

Chicken Breasts:

Choose boneless, skinless cuts if you prefer chicken breasts. They cook faster and evenly on the grill. However, be cautious as they dry out more quickly than bone-in, skin-on cuts. Marinating or bringing the chicken breasts prior to grilling can help maintain moisture.

Preparing the Chicken for Grilling

Properly preparing the chicken is crucial for achieving succulent and flavorful results. Follow these steps:

Marination or Dry Rub:

Marinate the chicken in your preferred marinade or apply a dry rub for at least 30 minutes before grilling.

Room Temperature:

Let the marinated or seasoned chicken sit at room temperature for about 15-30 minutes before grilling. This ensures more even cooking and prevents the chicken from drying out.

Mastering the Grill Techniques

Now, let’s dive into the essential grill techniques that will help you achieve perfectly grilled chicken:

Preheating the Grill:

Preheat your grill to medium-high heat, around 375-400°F (190-205°C). Preheating allows for even cooking and prevents sticking. Make sure to clean the grates before heating.

Direct and Indirect Heat Zones:

Create a two-zone fire by arranging the coals or adjusting the burners. Keep one side of the grill for direct heat and the other for indirect heat. With this setup, you can cook the chicken until it’s seared on direct and indirect heat.

Oil the Grill Grates:

To prevent sticking, use tongs and a folded paper towel soaked in vegetable oil to light oil the grill grates. This creates a non-stick surface for the chicken.

Grill Lid Control:

Cover the grill with the lid as much as possible during cooking. The lid helps maintain a consistent temperature, ensures even cooking, and adds a smoky flavor.

Searing the Chicken:

Place the chicken pieces on the hot side of the grill, directly over the flames or burners. Sear each side for 2-3 minutes with the lid open, allowing for a nice charred exterior.

Moving to Indirect Heat:

Once the chicken is seared, move it to the cooler side of the grill, away from direct heat. Close the lid and continue cooking until the chicken reaches the desired internal temperature.

Monitoring Internal Temperature:

Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the chicken. It should reach 165°F (74°C) in the thickest part of the meat. This ensures the chicken is safe to eat and maintains juiciness.

Adding Flavor with Barbecue Sauce

Barbecue sauce is the final flourish that gives your grilled chicken a flavorful boost. Here’s how you can use it:

Applying the Barbecue Sauce:

During the last 5-10 minutes of grilling, brush the chicken with your favorite barbecue sauce. Apply the sauce generously on all sides, using a silicone brush or basting brush. This creates a sticky and caramelized glaze.

Caramelization: Allow the barbecue sauce to caramelize on the chicken by grilling it for an additional few minutes. The heat will create a delightful crust and infuse the meat with smoky and tangy flavors.

Serving and Enjoying Your Grilled Chicken

The final step is to serve and enjoy your perfectly grilled chicken. Here’s how to do it:

Resting Time:

Let the grilled chicken rest for a few minutes after removing it from the grill. The flesh becomes tender and juicy as a result of the redistribution of the liquids.

Garnishing and Presentation: For a splash of colour and extra freshness, garnish the grilled chicken with fresh herbs like parsley or cilantro. On a platter or on separate plates, serve the dish.

Accompaniments: Pair your barbecue chicken recipe with delicious sides such as grilled vegetables, corn on the cob, or a fresh salad. These accompaniments complement the flavors and complete the meal.


With enough practice and the appropriate methods, grilling chicken on the BBQ like a pro can be mastered. From choosing the perfect cuts and preparing the chicken to master the grill techniques and adding a flavorful barbecue sauce, each step contributes to achieving mouthwatering results. So, fire up the grill, experiment with different marinades, rubs, and sauces, and impress your family and friends with tender, juicy, and flavor-packed barbecue chicken that will make your outdoor gatherings unforgettable.


Q1: How long does it take to grill chicken on the BBQ?

A1: The grilling time for chicken depends on the thickness of the cuts and the heat of the grill. On average, bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces take approximately 20-30 minutes, while boneless, skinless chicken breasts may cook in 12-15 minutes. It’s essential to monitor the internal temperature to ensure the chicken is cooked thoroughly.

Q2: Can I use a gas grill or charcoal grill for grilling chicken?

A2: Absolutely! Both gas and charcoal grills work well for grilling chicken. Gas grills offer convenience and precise temperature control, while charcoal grills provide a smoky flavor. Choose the grill type that suits your preferences and follow the techniques mentioned in this blog for excellent results.

Q3: Can I use pre-made barbecue sauce or make my own?

A3: You have the option to use pre-made barbecue sauce or make your own. Store-bought sauces offer convenience and a variety of flavors to choose from. However, making your own barbecue sauce allows you to customize the flavors and tailor them to your taste preferences.

Q4: How can I prevent the chicken from drying out on the grill?

A4: To prevent the chicken from drying out on the grill, ensure that the grill is properly preheated, use bone-in, skin-on chicken cuts, marinate or brine the chicken beforehand, and monitor the internal temperature with a meat thermometer. Additionally, brushing the chicken with barbecue sauce during the grilling process adds moisture and flavor.