In our August issue, F&W editor in chief Dana Cowin asked chefs Greg Denton and Gabrielle Quiñónez Denton to help her make a great grilled chicken dinner with sides. Now that it’s the height of grilling season, it’s good to make sure you have your best chicken grilling hat on. We returned to our notes from Dana's chat with Denton and Quiñónez Denton for a few extra secrets on how to get the juiciest grilled chicken.
1. Always oil your grate (not just the chicken) before grilling to avoid sticking and to ensure great grill marks. To oil the grate, roll up a hefty paper towel and dip it in vegetable oil. Use tongs to grasp the paper towel and rub the oil onto the grate.
2. Use a brine like the one here from Gabby and Greg Denton. This keeps the meat juicy (especially breasts).
3. Pound your chicken parts so they're fairly thin and completely uniform in size. Thin pieces will cook in just a couple of minutes, with no time to dry out. Side note from Greg Denton: chicken thighs are far more forgiving on the grill than breasts.
4. Resist the urge to move your chicken around a lot. This will help it cook more quickly and give the meat great grill marks. You can also use your tongs to press the chicken into the grill for deeper color.
5. If you’re using any kind of sauce (especially a sweet one), be sure to baste at the very end of grilling so the sugars in the sauce don’t burn on the grill.