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.