Chicken is one of the most popular choices amongst grilling and barbecue enthusiasts. It's versatile - it goes well with a variety of seasonings, sauces, side dishes, and toppings. It's cheaper than steaks too, making it an ideal option for barbecue parties. And of course, chicken is also healthier. Did you know that skinless, light-meat chicken when cooked is 33% to 80% leaner than trimmed cooked beef (though it may of course vary on the cut and grade of the beef). In addition, chicken absorbs flavors easier than pork or beef that you can marinate it for as little as half an hour and off you go, ready for the grill.
Chicken Barbecue - The Best Parts... Virtually any part of the chicken makes for a great barbecue. You can even cook an entire chicken on the grill if you have the time. However, popular choices for individual servings include the breasts, thighs, drumsticks, marylands (i.e., the thigh and drumstick in one piece) and wings.
Chicken breasts are considered white meat. As such, they are considered to be the healthiest part of the chicken for a barbecue. Compared to dark meat, they are quicker to cook and easier to dry out when over-cooked. Also the largest portion of the chicken, they are available bone-in or boneless. Using either direct or indirect heat, bone-in chicken breasts require 10 to 15 minutes of cooking time per side, while boneless breasts only needs 6 to 8 minutes per side.
The thigh is the darker, more succulent meat. Thighs are also available bone-in and boneless. Barbecue cooking time for the bone-in variety is 10 to 15 minutes on each side and 6 to 8 minutes on each side of a boneless thigh.
Chicken legs or drumsticks can be barbecued for about 10 minutes on each side. Check doneness using a skewer instead of going by its color. You might need to move it on a cooler part of the barbecue grill to ensure that it cooks through. Marylands or leg quarters may take 10 to 15 minutes for each side to cook on direct heat. Again, use skewers to test for doneness by checking if the juices are clear. Also, to ensure that it cooks right through, it would be a good idea to slash the chicken to the bone.
Lastly, chicken wings can be skewered for easy turning and can be placed on the barbecue for a total of 25 to 30 minutes using direct heat, and 35 to 40 minutes using indirect heat.
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