Grill Master :: Bone-on Chicken

1150900_10151829057417792_1614071769_nMove over hot dogs and hamburgers. Move over brats and grilled veggies. Sights have been set on one of the more intimidating grilled foods; bone-on chicken.

For many, taking on the challenge of grilled, bone-on chicken is something considered too difficult, too impossible, too risky. And therefore many a grill master miss out on the joy of not only grilling but devouring one of the finest foods one could ever grill.

Forget what you’ve maybe heard before about how difficult it can be to grill up delicious bone-on chicken. I intend to lay out for you some very simple, easy to follow steps, that with a little practice will lead to both confidence and amazing grilled, bone-on chicken.

I do all my grilling using a charcoal grill. If you happen to be using a propane grill (shame on you), these steps ought to work very much the same. The only thing you’ll likely be missing is the extra flavor given to you by grilling over charcoal.

1. In a shallow pan or cookie sheet, lay out your chicken, pat dry with a paper towel, and season both sides. I prefer to use course ground salt and ground pepper as well as a bit of Old Bay Seasoning, but you can use a which ever spices you prefer.

1. Whether you’re using charcoal or propane, you want to create a hot side and a warm side to your grill. Make sure that your grate is clean and clear of last nights dinner.
2. While not actually part of your grill, make sure you have a trustworthy spray bottle with water close by. It’ll be put to good use once the chicken goes on the grill.

1. Place your chicken over the hot side of your grill with the lid of the grill left off, for 5 minutes. During this time, you’ll be kept busy fighting off the flames that will surly be produced by the drippings from the chicken. When it comes to fighting the flames, you simply want to keep them in check. A little bit of flame won’t hurt your chicken.

*In the event that the flames win the battle, and your chicken skin burns. Don’t worry, you can always remove it prior to serving. In the mean time allow it to be a buffer between the chicken and the flames.

2. After the chicken has spent 5 minutes on the hot side of the grill, move it over to the warm side of the grill and cover the grill for 5-7 minutes. Be sure to NOT flip the chicken at this point. You want to be on the same side of the chicken as you started with. I will simply rotate my grate, moving me chicken to the warm side of the grill, without having to lift it.
3. At this point your chicken has been on the grill a total of 10-12 minutes. Now you want to flip your chicken and place it again on the hot side of the grill for 5 minutes. Remember where you left the spray bottle of water? You’re gonna need it again. You’re simply repeating step 1, but on the other side of the chicken.
4. After the 5 minutes has passed, return the chicken to the warm side of the grill for another 5-7 minutes, or until done. Or I could just say repeat step 2.

*At this point, I’ll reduce my heat in the grill overall by closing off my bottom vents (keeping the top vents open). If you’re using a propane grill, I might think you’d reduce your overall heat to low, but that’s a guess. You can continue to cook your chicken till it’s done. Using your grill tongs, press firmly on the fattest part of the chicken. It should feel firm and a bit springy; even releasing a bit of juice. If it feels soft, continue cooking. Whatever you do, try to avoid the temptation to cut into the chicken and have a peak. This will release all those savory juices that you’ve been waiting for the last 20 or so minutes to enjoy yourself.

5. Remove the chicken from the grill and let stand for 3 minutes before cutting or eating.
6. Enjoy and plan your next grill adventure.

1.If you’re planning to make BBQ chicken, I recommend applying the sauce while the chicken is cooking over the warm side of the grill. I will apply sauce to one side of the chicken during step 4 of the cooking process. Once the initial 5-7 minutes has passed, I’ll flip the chicken and apply sauce to the other side, allowing the chicken to finish cooking.
2. I try to avoid over-flipping the chicken. Bone-on chicken especially will tend to tear and break apart the more it’s handled during the cooking process. I typically will only turn my chicken twice. I will start off with my chicken bottom side down (the side where the bones are more visible), cook hot side/cook warm side. Flip to top side down (the side with all the skin), cook hot side/cook warm side. Flip back to bottom side down and allow the chicken to finish cooking on the warm side of the grill.

It may take a bit of practice, but the more you do it the more confident you’ll become and before you know it, you’ll be grilling up delicious bone-on chicken all summer long.

A New Journey

528067751_e569273d41_o (1)

Photo Credit: thotprovokr via Compfight cc

Like the sighting of Halley’s Comet, this update has been a long time in coming. Nearly four months ago I told you about three words that would forever change my life, and the life of my family. Since that time much has happened. And while I’ve thought often to share aloud, I never could seem to form the words.

Suffice it to say over these past few months, life has continued forward; sometimes quick and easy and other times not so much. Had you asked me at the time of resigning my pastoral ministry what I thought I’d be doing next, I in no way would have come up with a story anywhere close to what’s actually happened.

I resigned February 5. My final Sunday at the church was April 7. May 6 I started a new job at our local coffee shop. At the time I knew this new opportunity wouldn’t be enough to pay the bills, yet it seemed right. From the moment I stepped around to the other side of the counter as a new employee, I knew this opportunity was God inspired. Functionally speaking I now had a job again. Beyond that however, I knew God was and is allowing me an opportunity where I can be in the thick of community. Then on June 10 I became the newest team member of the Brethren Church National Office staff, accepting a part-time position as Leadership Development Coordinator.

Without sounding too dramatic, this was the “thing” that I had resigned for; although at the time we weren’t even aware such an opportunity existed. I can only scratch the surface of imagining what our daily lives must look like to a God who is omniscient. All that we were unable to see in the moment of our current life situation, He’d already seen. He was leading us, and we were doing our level best to follow.

I remember when I accepted the position with the Brethren Office, thinking to myself, “this isn’t the end, it’s the beginning of a new journey.” It would have been easy for me to have considered all that we’d gone through, in a few short months, to get to this point, and to have considered ourselves finally having arrived. But we knew, my wife and I, that this was where the real work starts. This is where the story turns a page. And very much like the moment I resigned, or accepted the job at the coffee shop, I don’t have but the smallest glimpse of what will come next. However, I continue to remain resolute in the truth that I don’t have to know, because I have put my full stock in the God who’s already seen it all. He knows what’s to come, and that’s good enough for me.

So as we continue pressing forward into the future God is scripting for us, I leave you with an anthem of sorts…

Prestigious Recognition

A couple of months back, a friend of mine posted on Facebook that he’d been chosen as the Beard of the Month over at The Bearded Idealist. After reading more about my friend’s beard, and poking around the blog, I opted to toss my whiskers in the ring to see what might happen…

To my great surprise, I was award the prestigious recognition of being selected for the April Beard of the Month. Being as how today is my Father’s birthday, I’d like to dedicate this honor to him.

So, without further delay, I am pleased to share with you all, The Bearded Idealist April Beard of the Month. 



normalthis thing of life is not such an easy thing to live when living is comprised of doing that which runs contrary to that which is normal. yet i question who determines normal? if normal is the goal, i failed somewhere along the way. but if it’s not the goal what is? and if it’s not the goal why do so many strive to accomplish it? considering goals, it seems to be that goals are the sort of thing one works long and hard to achieve and as such it comes at a great cost. a cost that some would deem too steep to pay. those are the ones who pull up short and worse yet, never begin at all. i don’t fancy myself that sort of a person, although this thing of achieving the goal is no doubt a thing of great difficulty; at least these days. i find that my inner self is at war fighting hard to define what normal ought to be. what it ought to look like, feel like, live like. am i called to live a normal life? no matter how much i might wish i were, i know i’m not. so why bother striving for that which i know isn’t the goal?

no. i very much would rather define the goal to be that which is greater than myself and my ability to achieve on my own accord. the goal ought to be that which when looked upon is summarized as anything but normal. it’s the sort of thing that takes more of you than you have. and yet that’s what i want to be found doing. it becomes the sort of thing that wrecks a day, but redeems a life.

i think very easily i could ball my fist and cast darts of anger at God for calling me to that which isn’t normal. and he’d be okay with that. he’d remind me that he’s big enough to take it; that he’s taken it from so many before me and he’s none the worse for the wear. i think he’d remind me that i’m called because he both knew the outcome and the joy that could be had in the journey despite the pain and heartache and doubt and questions and depression and fear and hopelessness and anger and the sense of lostness. he’d remind me that this call is greater than i am and that in my pocket of greatest weakness i’m actually at my point of greatest need. and when i’ve exhausted all other options i’d turn to him and he’d be there to fold strong hands around mine and strong arms around me and he’s breath a firm whisper in my ear that soaks deep into my heart reminding me that my Dad is Abba and he loves and cares of me his child. that he loves me to the point of calling me to that which isn’t normal because he knows that he didn’t create me to ever be normal.

as i daily contemplate the work of God in my life and as i strive to find myself faithful to the call he’s placed in my heart and the journey he’s set before me and my family, i’ve come to take great solace in the words of this song, claiming them as a psalm over this present reality of life.


I’ve had the opportunity to do a good deal of reflecting and remembering these past two months, as I prepare to transition from my role as youth pastor into… well, whatever God has in store for me next. It’s a bit ridiculous, truth be told, how much “stuff” I’ve collected hoarded over the years.

In cleaning out my desk, I came across a folder that was stuffed full of pictures and cards and various other oddities, that at some point in my ministry and life, held a certain amount of significance. Tucked into the folder was a note from one of my former students, given to me on my 30th birthday. It’s a rare joy when a youth pastor gets to learn of  the impact they’ve made on a student’s life.

30 Things I've Learned