Grilling chicken is a beloved summer tradition that brings out the natural flavors of this versatile protein. However, achieving perfectly grilled chicken can be a challenge without the right techniques. Whether you’re a grilling novice or a seasoned pro, mastering your grilling skills can take your chicken to the next level. Here are some of the best tips for grilling chicken to perfection:

Start with the Right Cuts: Choose boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs for even cooking and faster grilling. You can also use bone-in chicken pieces for added flavor, but be sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly.

Prep the Chicken: Before grilling, season the chicken generously with your favorite spices, herbs, or marinade. Let the chicken marinate for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to penetrate the meat.

Preheat the Grill: Ensure your grill is preheated to medium-high heat before adding the chicken. This will help sear the outside of the chicken, locking in moisture and creating those coveted grill marks.

Oil the Grates: To prevent the chicken from sticking to the grill, lightly oil the grates with a high-heat oil like vegetable or grapeseed oil.

Use Direct and Indirect Heat: For larger cuts of chicken or bone-in pieces, start by searing the chicken over direct heat for a few minutes on each side to achieve a golden brown crust. Then, move the chicken to a cooler part of the grill (indirect heat) to finish cooking through without burning the outside.

Monitor Internal Temperature: Use a meat thermometer to ensure the chicken reaches a safe internal temperature of 165°F (75°C) for optimal doneness. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken without touching the bone for an accurate reading.

Avoid Flare-Ups: Flare-ups can occur when fat drips onto the hot coals or burners, causing flames to engulf the chicken. To prevent flare-ups, trim excess fat from the chicken and keep a spray bottle of water handy to extinguish any flames that arise.

Let it Rest: Once the chicken is cooked to perfection, remove it from the grill and let it rest for a few minutes before serving. This allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in juicier and more flavorful chicken.

Experiment with Flavors: Get creative with your grilling by experimenting with different flavor profiles. Try marinades, dry rubs, or glazes to add depth and complexity to your grilled chicken.

Practice Patience: Grilling chicken requires patience and attention to detail. Avoid the temptation to constantly flip or move the chicken around the grill. Let it cook undisturbed to develop a beautiful caramelized crust.

With these expert tips, you’ll be well on your way to mastering the art of grilling chicken and impressing your family and friends with delicious, perfectly cooked meals all summer long. Happy grilling!