Grilled chicken. It’s easy. It’s healthy. It’s a total snooze. At least that’s what we’ve always thought about the ubiquitous dinner staple until we realized the trick to making it sing is to grill it—not bake it, not sauté it.
The issue there? We’re not all adept —or comfortable with—working a grill, and tend to settle for dry, rubbery meat instead of taking a few minutes to learn. Who better to teach us than Angie Mar, executive chef at New York hotspot The Beatrice Inn, and season 2 grand champion of “Chopped Grill Masters.” If anyone knows grilling, it’s this girl.
Here, Mar explains how to cook chicken on the grill like a pro. Step away from the oven and keep reading.
One of my favorite ways to cook chicken is to grill it. Whether it’s charcoal or wood, there’s nothing like a beautiful piece of smokey, juicy, decadent chicken.
When I grill at home, I often grill for a group, so I like to leave my chickens whole and butterfly them, that way everyone can take the meat they prefer, white or dark. To butterfly a chicken is quite easy, you just remove the back bone and wishbone and flatten it out. Or any good butcher can do it for you.
Before I begin, I like to season my bird liberally with kosher salt, on both the skin and meat side, and let it sit for an hour or so while my grill is heating up. This helps to keep it juicy, and let the salt penetrate the meat so it’s more evenly seasoned.
Heat your grill to medium heat. Rub the chicken with olive oil and season once more with salt. Place the chicken on the grill, skin side down. Layer with herbs of your choice (I prefer thyme, oregano and savory), and thin slices of lemon on the meat side and close the grill. Let roast, moving every 4 minutes or so, allowing the skin to crisp and develop color. Chicken should be almost 90% cooked through, about 12-15 minutes.
Once the skin is golden brown and starting to crisp, you can remove the lemon and herbs, flip it over so the meat side is on the grill. Brush with a little olive oil on the skin side and close the grill. Continue to cook all the way through, about 4 minutes more. Remove the chicken to a platter and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.
I like to garnish my grilled chicken with additional halves of lemon that have been charred on the grill, and a spoonfuls of chimichurri, rich with mint and parsley.