Chicken on the Grill

Chicken - Peruvian grilledHawaiian chickenChicken - barbecue with pantry sauce

Our grill sits on our deck and we use it most of the year, but particularly in the summer. We started to grill a lot when we purchased our first gas grill, over 30 years ago. So much easier and quicker than cooking with charcoal.

Having a gas grill came in handy when we redid our kitchen and were without a stove and oven for 3 months. We do have a funny story about that, though. Usually I buy fresh chicken, but this one day I was using chicken that had been frozen. It wasn’t quite defrosted so I left it on our dining table for a bit. When I came back an hour later, the chicken was gone and there was Donny, our little dachshund, in the corner of the living with just a bit of bone still hanging out of his mouth and a bulging tummy. Seems that he had managed to jump onto one of the chairs and then on to the table to get the chicken. No grilling that night. We ordered in.

We’re on our third gas grill now. This one has 3 separate burners – so we can turn off a burner and cook over indirect heat, which is a great way to cook chicken without having to worry about flare-ups from the drippings. I cook the chicken skin side up with the cover closed. It’s not necessary to turn the chicken or to baste it ― so no standing over a hot grill on a hot summer’s day ― and the chicken comes out moist with crispy skin every time.

General instructions for Grilling Chicken

  1. Combine the marinade ingredients in a large bowl or zip-lock baggie. Add the chicken and stir until the chicken is well coated with the marinade. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or more.
  2. Preheat the grill with the cover closed until the temperature registers 500°- 600°. Turn off one of the burners. Spray or brush the grill with vegetable or olive oil.
  3. Place chicken over the burner that is turned off to cook on indirect heat. Adjust the other burner(s) to maintain a temperature around 400°- 450°. Cook breasts for 20-25 minutes; dark meat and wings for 5 minutes more.

Note:  For a charcoal grill, you can push the heated coals to one side and cook the chicken on the side without the charcoal. If your gas grill does not have separate burners and you have to cook over direct heat, you’ll need to check periodically for flare-ups and move the chicken away from the fire to keep the chicken from burning and getting dried out.

Here are three different marinades. Each recipe is more than enough for 2 chickens or 8 legs. You can also use these marinades for roasting the chicken in the oven. I’ve done that with the first recipe, which I’ve made several times for MESH – always a big hit.

Chicken - barbecue with pantry sauceSweet and Spicy Barbecue Sauce
1 cup ketchup
¼ cup Dijon mustard
¼ cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1-2 tablespoons hot sauce

Hawaiian chickenHawaiian Marinade
½ cup ketchup
½ cup soy sauce
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar
1-inch piece ginger, peeled & finely grated (1 tablespoon)
2-3 garlic cloves, peeled & minced (1½ teaspoons) 

Chicken - Peruvian grilledPeruvian Marinade
¼ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup white wine vinegar
8 large garlic cloves, peeled & chopped (4 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon smokey paprika
½ teaspoon ground cumin

Plain chicken is also good cooked on the grill. And if you want a dry rub instead of a marinade, try Spice-Rubbed Chicken.  (See Plain and Not So Plain Chicken for both recipes).

Veg - Grilled zucchiniGrilled vegetables are a great accompaniment to grilled chicken, added to the grill for the last 8 to 10  minutes of cooking. My favorite is zucchini, cut in half lengthwise. I use medium sized zucchini (2 to 3 per pound). Use a basting brush or your hands to coat both sides with olive oil. Sprinkle both sides with garlic or onion powder. Place the zucchini with the cut sides down over the direct heat (that is, over the burners that are not turned off or over the charcoals).  Cook for 4 to 5 minutes. Turn over with tongs and cook for another 4 to 5 minutes.

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One thought on “Chicken on the Grill

  1. Thanks for this, Sarita. I don’t eat meat and haven’t grilled in years. But your marinade recipes and instructions for grilling zucchini have just about convinced me to give it a try again.

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