Cooked to Perfection – Juicy Chargrilled Chicken is a Hot Favourite at Barbecues
Sizzling, succulent chicken wings and thighs in a smoky sauce make a classic barbecue dish. However, chicken can sometimes get a bad press if it’s undercooked. But that’s not a problem if you follow a few basic cooking rules and make sure your barbecue is nice and hot.
It’s also worth noting that when you prepare chicken, you don’t need to wash the raw meat as this can actually spread germs, transferring dangerous bugs to your hands, clothes and worktops. Properly cooking the chicken will kill any bacteria including campylobacter. All you need to do is to choose what seasoning you’d like to flavour your chicken. Do you fancy sprinkling on a few herbs and spices or smothering your chicken in a delicious marinade?
From satay sticks and kebabs to a whole roast chicken, when you barbecue it, your chicken should be crisp on the outside and cooked thoroughly on the inside. Then when you serve it to your guests, it will taste as mouth-watering as it looks!
Barbecue Chicken Wings and Drumsticks
The simplest way to barbecue chicken wings, drumsticks or legs is to brush them with a mixture of olive oil, salt, pepper and herbes de Provence. Cook the chicken on the barbecue turning regularly for 10 to 15 minutes depending on the size of the pieces. They should be crisp and golden on the outside and white on the inside with no pink flesh.
Alternatively, you could make a clear marinade using two tablespoons of honey, an inch piece of peeled and grated ginger, a crushed garlic clove, one and a half teaspoons of Chinese five spice powder, two teaspoons of soy sauce and one tablespoon of sesame oil.
Cut a few slashes into the chicken drumsticks and place them in a large bowl with the chicken wings. Pour the marinade over the chicken, cover the bowl with cling film and leave it for at least two hours or overnight in the fridge.
When it comes to cooking the chicken, place on a hot gas barbecue and cook for around twenty minutes, moving occasionally and brushing with any leftover marinade. To test if the chicken is cooked all the way through, you should pierce a drumstick with a skewer, if the juices run pink the chicken needs to be cooked longer.
Grilled Buffalo Wings
Buffalo wings are a perennial favourite and here’s a simple but tasty way to prepare them. Cut your chicken wings into drumettes and flats and dry them on kitchen paper. Then place the wings in a large bowl and evenly coat with baking powder, cayenne, and salt – refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.
To make a hot sauce, heat some butter in a saucepan. Then add tabasco sauce, brown sugar, honey, cider vinegar, and cayenne – combine into a mix that suits your own personal taste regarding sweetness and hotness.
Place your wings skin side up on a cool grill and cover. Cook until the chicken skin is crisp and just starting to brown, which should take about 30-40 minutes. For the last few minutes of cooking, turn the wings over and cook on a hot grill, so they begin to char. Remove the wings from the barbecue and place them in a large bowl and pour the sauce over the top. Toss the wings around, so they are coated evenly before you serve.
Whole Barbecue Chicken
If you’re going to barbecue a whole chicken, you should begin by making sure your grill is well oiled before heating the barbecue. If possible, place a drip pan under the grill to catch the juices that will run from the chicken as it cooks.
While you’re waiting for the barbecue to heat up, choose your seasonings, and generously rub the skin of the chicken with your favourite herbs and spices. Gently pull the skin away from the breast and sprinkle seasoning directly onto the flesh.
Cooking time will depend on the size of the chicken. It’s best to allow at least a couple of hours and check if the meat is cooked by seeing how clear the juices run when you cut into the chicken. Once cooked, allow the chicken to rest for about 15 minutes.
If it’s a summer barbecue, serve your chicken with a combination of salads. Or for a more substantial meal, mashed potatoes and corn on the cob make great accompaniments.
If you fancy something a little different to plain old roast chicken, why not try this recipe for Beer Barbecued Chicken. The cooking method is a little unusual – and it uses a whole can of beer – but the end result is a deliciously succulent and moist chicken.
Hickory Smoked Chicken
Believe it or not, you can achieve a hickory smoked taste on a gas barbecue. The trick is to add wood chips to the grill in a foil packet and a drip pan with water to encourage smoke. The smoky flavour you achieve will depend on the type of wood you use. Hickory wood chips are a favourite as they’re potent, peppery and highly aromatic.
Pat dry a whole chicken with kitchen paper and season it inside and out. In a bowl, combine salt, black pepper, paprika, thyme, oregano and cayenne. Use this mix to season the chicken inside and out. Loosen the breast and thigh skin so you can place half of the seasoning under the skin.
Let the chicken stand at room temperature for 30 minutes while you oil the barbecue grill. If you’re using a gas barbecue, place a shallow pan half full of water at the edge of the grill rack. You can top up with additional water as needed. Then add the wood chips to the grill in a smoker box or perforated foil packet.
Next, position the chicken, breast side up, on the grill rack away from the heat elements. Cover the grill and smoke the chicken until the juices run clear when you pierce the thigh with a knife tip. Allow the chicken to rest for 15 minutes before carving and then serve with coleslaw and cornbread.
Barbecue Chicken Kebabs
You can create all kinds of kebabs from chicken. The simplest method is to cube some chicken breast fillets and slide onto skewers interspersed with mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, shallots, and squares of red and green peppers. Sprinkle on some herbs and cook over the barbecue, turning frequently until the chicken is no longer pink and the juices run clear.
Or if you fancy something a little more exotic, Caribbean coconut chicken kebabs are perfect for a tropical party. Baste and marinate boneless chicken breast chunks with a spicy, coconut cream-based marinade. You can also add fresh pineapple chunks to the skewers to give a fruity flavour and a splash of colour.
For an Asian influence, try these Tandoori chicken kebabs. Just mix yoghurt, tandoori paste and lemon juice together and coat your chicken pieces and leave to marinate in the fridge. When you slide the meat onto your skewers, alternate with peppers and onions.
BBQ Caribbean Jerk Chicken
Barbecued chicken drumsticks covered in Caribbean jerk seasoning are perfect for pretty much any occasion. Just rub the seasoning all over the drumsticks and then cook on the grill until brown and crisp on the outside and soft and white on the inside.
For a richer Caribbean taste, you can also include barbecue sauce and rum along with the jerk seasoning – it smells mouth-watering as it cooks and the end result tastes fantastic.
BBQ Chicken Satay
This recipe for BBQ chicken satay is a little fiddly as you need to cut chicken breast fillets lengthways into strips. While the chicken is marinating in a soy sauce mix, make a peanut sauce in a hot frying pan by adding together soy sauce, sugar, peanut butter, lemon juice and water.
Meanwhile, the marinated chicken strips can be threaded onto skewers and then barbecued for about ten minutes, turning halfway through cooking. The satay skewers can then be dipped into the hot peanut sauce.
Cajun Barbecue Chicken
Spicy Cajun chicken is a barbecue favourite and delicious served with a guacamole dip. Simply dry skinless and boneless chicken fillets with kitchen paper and cut diagonal slashes over the smooth side.
Mix one tablespoon of paprika with one teaspoon of dried onion, half a tablespoon of cayenne pepper, half a tablespoon each of dried oregano and dried thyme along with salt and pepper. The spice mixture should be tipped onto a plate. Brush the chicken all over with sunflower oil and then coat each piece in the spices. Cook the chicken for 5-6 mins on each side on a hot gas barbecue until cooked thoroughly.
Sticky Barbecue Chicken
This recipe for sticky barbecue chicken requires some preparation the day before, but it’s worth it. Mash brown sugar, garlic, salt and pepper together in a mortar and pestle to form a paste and spoon it into a resealable food bag. Coat chicken drumsticks with the paste, seal the bag and marinate in the fridge overnight.
The next day, you can make a sticky sauce using ketchup, vinegar and Worcestershire sauce and onions. After cooking the marinated chicken on the barbecue for about a minute each side, cover it with the sticky sauce and carry on cooking. The meat will take on an appetising glazed finish.
Check Your Chicken is Cooked Correctly
Finally, when barbecuing chicken, it’s crucial to make sure the meat is cooked through, and no pink flesh remains. As many barbecue chefs have found to their cost, just because a piece of meat is charred on the outside doesn’t mean it’s cooked properly on the inside.
Always turn chicken during cooking so that the meat cooks evenly and test it by cutting into the meat to check the juices are clear. If you follow these simple guidelines, you can’t go too far wrong – and your barbecue chicken dishes will be the highlight of your summer parties.