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Secrets to the best BBQ chicken

By Hilary Meyer, May 6, 2010 - 12:03pm

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In culinary school I learned how to barbecue chicken “the right way.” It involved closely monitoring a live fire on a charcoal grill, keeping the flame low and painstakingly checking the temperature. If it was too hot, the skin would burn. And if I kept it on too long, the chicken would be dry and stringy—kind of like eating dental floss. (Find our favorite, easy BBQ chicken recipes here.)

Of course if the results were perfect, it was a pleasure to eat. But you don’t have to go through all that hoopla to enjoy delicious chicken. (Get our 8 simple tips for fool-proof roasting on the grill here.)

Here are a few secrets to great barbecued chicken:

• My favorite way to get juicy barbecued chicken is to put beer in the cavity during cooking, and you can do that a few ways. You can buy a fancy contraption that will hold a can of beer inside the bird while it cooks upright or you can balance the bird on the beer can yourself. Or you can do as we do in our Beer-Barbecued Chicken recipe and just pour beer into the cavity. If you don’t want to use beer, water or chicken broth will work too.
• If you’re not barbecuing a whole bird, experiment with dark meat. It’s more tender than chicken breast and more forgiving if you overcook it.
• Sometimes the secret to good barbecue is in the sauce. Check out these recipes to find a good barbecue sauce to serve with your chicken and you’ll be set.
• For more must-have grilling know-how, check out EatingWell’s 13 Essential Grilling Tips to learn whether you should use gas or charcoal and why you shouldn’t skip marinating your meat.

Here’s a delicious barbecue chicken recipe to get you started. (Want something to eat with it? Check out our delicious recipes for sides and desserts including, Country Potato Salad.)

What are your secrets for great barbecued chicken? Tell us what you think below.

TAGS: Hilary Meyer, Food Blog, Dinner

Hilary Meyer
Hilary Meyer develops and tests healthy recipes in the EatingWell Test Kitchen. She is a graduate of New England Culinary Institute.

Hilary asks: What are your secrets for great barbecued chicken?

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