If you have never tried to BBQ or grill food outdoors, you are missing out on some really delicious and tasty cooking! Maybe you think it’s too complicated, or you don’t have the right equipment. Maybe you are apprehensive that everything will be overcooked and your guests will think you are a terrible chef! Well, put your fears aside, and get ready to embark on an outdoor cooking adventure to learn how to BBQ chicken. It’s fun, easy, and guaranteed to get rave reviews from your friends!
Before beginning, you need to know some basic facts about grilling and BBQ’ing. Most people use these terms interchangeably, to mean food that is cooked on a grill. Actually, grilling implies that you are using direct heat over an open flame to cook your food. When you BBQ, you are using indirect heat, possibly off to the side of an open flame. Grilling food may cook it faster, but it can also be more drying. BBQ’ing is a slower process that steams the food, similar to an oven. The food may stay moister than when you grill, but it will take longer to cook. You can use either of these two methods on either a charcoal or gas grill.
So which kind is better—charcoal or gas? Opinions on this topic are as varied as the number of dishes you can cook, and what it boils down to is that it depends on your preferences. A charcoal grill takes longer pre-heating and prep time, relying on charcoal and a starter, or lighter fluid. These may affect the taste of your food. However, once the grill heats up, the charcoal distributes the heat more evenly than a gas grill.
Gas grills require a propane tank of gas, which can be purchased and refilled at a gas station. It is easier to control fluctuations in heat with a gas grill, but because it is an open flame, food can burn more easily. Most gas grills have thermometers to help you. A gas grill would have the advantage if you are trying to cook two or more different types of food that require varying amounts of heat. If you are a novice to outdoor cooking, choose the type of grill that you think will work for you, read up on suggestions for use, and get busy cooking. Chances are you will be an expert in no time!
When BBQ’ing chicken, you have some choices to make. You can cook a whole chicken, using a rotisserie attachment, or you can cut the chicken into pieces and cook them separately. The latter method would ensure quicker cooking time. The first recipe is for a rotisserie chicken, the second recipe is for chicken parts, and the third recipe—well, judge for yourself!
Basic Rotisserie Chicken
1 chicken (3-4 pounds) washed, with giblets removed
¼ tsp. salt
1/3 C. melted butter or margarine
2 ½ tsp. salt
1 T. paprika
¼ tsp. pepper
Rub the cavity of the chicken with the ¼ tsp. salt. Place chicken on rotisserie, set grill to high heat and cook for 10-12 minutes. Mix butter, remaining salt, paprika and pepper in a bowl, and baste the chicken with the mixture. Turn heat to medium, close grill, and cook for an hour to an hour and a half, or until internal temperature reaches 175-180 degrees in the thigh area. (Use a meat thermometer). Cool for about 10 minutes and cut into serving pieces.
BBQ’ing/Grilling Chicken Parts
Your chicken will cook much faster than a rotisserie chicken if you cut up the bird before you cook it. You can leave the skin on if you prefer, or remove it for a healthier version. This recipe is primarily for grilled chicken, meaning that you use a higher, direct heat. However, it can be adapted for indirect grilling, or BBQ’ing, by adjusting to a lower heat and a longer cooking time.
¼ C. butter or margarine, melted
¼ C. Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
Lay chicken parts on lightly oiled grill, set at medium heat. Mix butter and Worcestershire together and baste chicken parts liberally. Cover grill and check about every 5 minutes, turning and basting each time. Cook approximately 20-30 minutes, until an internal temperature of 175 degrees is reached. Season with salt and pepper about 5 minutes before chicken is done.
Almost any kind of sauce or marinade can be used when grilling chicken parts, but this recipe combination always seems to get enthusiastic reviews.
This last recipe requires unique preparation, but the mouth-watering result is well worth it!
Beer Can Chicken
1 3-4 pound whole chicken
1 12 oz. can beer
½ C. brown sugar
2 T. chili powder
2 T. paprika
2 tsp. dry mustard
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. garlic powder
Pre-heat grill to about 375 degrees (medium-high heat). In a bowl, mix all of the ingredients, except the chicken and the beer. Empty half of the beer out of the can (what you do with it is up to you) and place half full can on a dish or cookie sheet. Wash chicken, removing giblets and neck, then position chicken over the beer can, keeping it upright. Rub the seasoning mixture all over the chicken and place it, with the can, directly on the grill. Close the lid and cook for 1-1 ½ hours, or until a meat thermometer inserted in the thigh reads 180 degrees. Allow the chicken to set for about 10-15 minutes before serving. Discard the beer can.
As you can see, there are many different and unique ways to BBQ chicken, and all of them are fun and scrumptiously delicious. So grab that grill and start BBQ’ing—welcome to the world of outdoor cooking!