How to Prepare Chicken for the Grill

Learn how to prepare chicken for the grill from Pork Barrel BBQ pitmasters Heath Hall and Brett Thompson in this Howcast video.


Today I'm going to show you how to make barbeque chicken. It's the classic barbeque dish. It's the dish that's going to take you to new heights in the backyard when it comes to grilling, and it's going to have friends and family wanting to come over all the time. If you know how to do barbeque chicken, then you know how to do barbeque.

So we're going to first start out with a half chicken and we're going to also use another half and make a quarter chicken. You can really decide what you want to do when you're putting it on the grill, so we're going to do a little bit of both. I like to at least make it into two halves because it's going to cook a little bit faster than if you're cooking a whole chicken, so it's going to give you more surface area. We're going to take these two quarters and this half. You want to take a paper towel and just dry it off, make sure that there's no moisture. And then we're going to stick it onto a cookie sheet which we've lined with aluminum foil. What we want to do, is we want to take some vegetable oil or some olive oil, put a tablespoon or two on each half, and rub that in on both the front and the back underneath. Just get all the surface areas.

Now we want to take a spice rub. Today we're going to be using an all-purpose spice rub that's great on poultry. It's got some sweet, it's got some heat. It can really be whatever you want it to be if you're making it at home. You can have it hotter or sweeter by just altering how much sugar or spice you put in it. You can also get store-bought brands, like our All-American Spice Rub and use if you don't have the time or just don't want to make one of your own. So what we want to make sure we do is we cover all the surface really well. So we're going to get underneath here on the bottom of the chicken, so we want to really get a nice layer and then just kind of pat that in, or rub it in. Then flip that over, and we're going to do the skin side. And this is about six tablespoons for an entire chicken. And you can go heavier or lighter depending on what kind of level of spiciness you want. You're also going to get a lot of the nice flavor out of the smoke from the charcoal or the wood that you're using. And we'll be using a combination of charcoal, some oak and some hickory today to cook these.

So now that you've got it all rubbed in, let this set for about 15 minutes. Go out and get your grill started, get your charcoal or wood going, and then we'll take this out in 15 minutes and get it on the grill and start cooking.

OK. We're out here at the grill, we've got our chicken all seasoned up and it's been setting for about 15 minutes to let that spice and oil incorporate and kind of marinate the meat, and we've got our fire up to about 350 degrees, which is just exactly where we want it. Now I'm going to take the chicken, and for the first few minutes I'm going to set it directly over the fire to get a little bit of caramelization on the skin, crisp it up a little bit. So we're doing skin side down. So we're going to let this cook like this for about five minutes, and then we're going to come and we're going to flip it, and we're going to put it in an indirect cooking method, on opposite side of the coals, and we're going to let that cook for about 45 minutes. Then in about 45 minutes we're going to start basting it every five or seven minutes with some barbeque sauce for another 15 to 20 minutes, and it should be done. So in about an hour and 15 minutes, we'll have a chicken ready for the table.

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