How to grill bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts?

shamboJuly 20, 2011

I found a good deal on bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts today. I'd like to grill them but need a little guidance. I usually grill the boneless,skinless ones, so I'm kind of out of my comfort zone here.

I don't need any recipes for marinades,sauces,etc. Just techniques for grilling the breasts so they are not too charred or dried out but completely cooked nonetheless.

If it makes a difference,I have a propane gas grill.

Thanks,

Sue

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lindac

Grill on indirect heat....with my Weber that means the outside ring of burners not the center....cook slowly, I try to keep the grill temperature about 300 to 350....which is still pretty high but any lower and my fire tends to go out.
Cook only until the center of the thickest part is opaque....do NOT over cook...
Actually it's the same technique I use with boneless skinless.....but cook them less time.
Oh yes and start them skin side down.
Sounds good to me!!
Linda C

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 5:11PM
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skeip

Season as you normally would the boneless ones, both sides. Medium hot fire and put them on skin side up. Cook for about 10 minutes, checking when they start to color up. Flip now to skin side down, watch a little more closely because the skin will burn easily. You don't want it burnt, but nicely colored and crispy. Check with an instant read thermometer to see where they are and continue to flip and baste until the temp is where you want it. My father always said to baste with melted butter and garlic salt, and it is delicious. You'll be amazed at how much more flavor there is in the bone-on breasts.

Steve

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 5:15PM
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shambo

Thanks,Linda & Steve. That's what I figured but just wanted to make sure. Linda, I recall your recent comment about considering cooked chicken breasts in the freezer as gold. That's part of why I bought the family pack of breasts today. I figured I could grill them tonight and then freeze the remaining pieces for future meals.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 5:26PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

Cooking enough to freeze for later is a great way to get your moneys' worth when you run your grill. I wanted to register another vote for starting skin-side-down because I would never eat chicken skin and intend for it to keep the meat from getting burned. When the outside has all turned white and the skin is blackened, I flip it. By this time, the juices should be sealed inside. Flip by grabbing a bone at the side, not by mushing the top and bottom together. A few more minutes and it should be safely heated through. When thermometer says you're safe, you can turn the heat down on gas, or slide pieces away from coals and put sauce if desired. The skins should just slide off if you grab them with a tongs. You can then put the sauce right on the un-burned, juicy meat, away from high heat, to get thick and sticky.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 5:52PM
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ci_lantro

I bone & skin the breasts, saving the bones & skin in the freezer to make chicken broth later. That way, the breasts are easier to deal with. When I find a good buy, I stock up, skinning & boning them & popping each individual breast into a fold top sandwich bag & tucking all into a larger Zip-Loc and freeze them.

We switched to a natural gas grill a couple of years ago and I am sooo happy with it and not worrying about running out of propane, toting those heavy canisters and the worry of transporting them.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 11:05PM
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Charcuterie

I made this several times, it's very good.

Charcoal-Grilled Bone-In Chicken Breasts

Grilled chicken breasts aren't all that easy to get right. Burnt, limp skin and sooty, parched meat are too often the reality. The perfectly grilled chicken breast should boast tender and succulent meat and crisp skin.

Brining the chicken breasts for an hour or so before grilling helped ensure juicy, seasoned meat throughout, but consistency was an issue. We needed to focus on developing a precise grilling technique to minimize temperature fluctuation, thereby ensuring perfect meat every time. To do so, we created a sort of oven within an oven by covering the chicken with a piece of foil before closing the lid. This approach, combined with cooking the breasts skin side down on the cooler half of a modified two-level fire, finished cooking all six of the chicken breasts simultaneously. But we had one remaining problem: flabby skin. To solve it, we revised our plan and developed a three-step dance: We cooked the chicken on all sides over the hotter part of the grill until lightly browned; moved it to the cooler half and covered it with foil; and finished the breasts on the hotter side, cooking on both sides until the skin was brown and crisp.

The key to avoiding the charred skin and dried-out meat that plague most grilled chicken breasts is all in how you set up the fire.

Serves 6

To help ensure that each breast finishes cooking at approximately the same time, buy pieces of similar size. Barbecue sauce can replace the optional glaze in step 4.
Ingredients

* 1/3 cup table salt
* 6 bone-in, skin-on chicken breast halves (about 12 ounces each), ribs removed, trimmed of excess fat and skin (see note)
* Ground black pepper
* Vegetable oil for cooking grate
* 1 recipe glaze (see recipe that follows)

Instructions

*

  1. Dissolve salt in 2 quarts cold water in large container. Submerge chicken, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate 1 hour. Rinse chicken under cold water and dry thoroughly with paper towels. Season chicken with pepper.
    *

  2. Meanwhile, light large chimney starter filled with charcoal (6 quarts, or about 100 briquettes) and allow to burn until coals are fully ignited and partially covered with thin layer of ash, about 20 minutes. Build modified two-level fire by arranging all coals over one half of grill, leaving other half empty. Position cooking grate over coals, cover grill, and let grate heat up, about 5 minutes. Scrape grate clean with grill brush. Dip wad of paper towels in oil; holding wad with tongs, wipe cooking grate. Grill is ready when side with coals is medium-hot (you can hold your hand 5 inches above grate for 3 to 4 seconds).
    *

  3. Cook chicken on all sides over hotter part of grill until skin is lightly browned and meat has faint grill marks, 6 to 8 minutes. (If constant flare-ups occur, slide chicken to cooler side of grill and mist fire with water from spray bottle.) Move chicken, skin-side down, to cooler side of grill, with thicker side of breast facing coals. Cover loosely with aluminum foil, cover grill, and continue to cook until instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of breast registers 150 degrees, 15 to 25 minutes longer.
    *

  4. Brush bone side of chicken with glaze (if using). Move chicken, bone-side down, to hotter side of grill and cook until browned, 4 to 6 minutes. Brush skin side of chicken with glaze; turn chicken over and continue to cook until browned and instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of breast registers 160 degrees, 2 to 3 minutes longer. Transfer chicken to plate and let rest, tented with foil, 5 minutes. Serve, passing remaining glaze separately.

Technique

*
Great Grilled Bone-In Chicken Breasts

  1. START ON HOT SIDE Cook chicken on all sides over hotter part of grill until lightly browned.
    *

  2. MOVE TO COOL SIDE Move chicken, skin-side down, to grills cooler half, with thicker side facing coals. Cover with foil.
    *

  3. FINISH ON HOT SIDE To finish, return chicken to hotter side of grill and cook on both sides until skin is brown and crisp.

Soy-Ginger Glaze

Makes about 1 cup

If using this glaze for brined chicken, reduce the salt in the brine to 1/4 cup when using this glaze.
Ingredients

* 1/3 cup water
* 1/4 cup soy sauce
* 2 tablespoons mirin
* 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
* 2 medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
* 3 tablespoons sugar
* 3/4 teaspoon cornstarch
* 2 small scallions , white and green parts minced

Instructions

*

Combine water, soy sauce, mirin, ginger, and garlic in small saucepan, then whisk in sugar and cornstarch. Simmer mixture over medium heat until thickened, about 5 minutes; stir in scallions. Reserve half of glaze for serving and use other half for brushing on chicken during cooking.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2011 at 12:30AM
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compumom

Charcuterie, that's a similar technique to the one I learned from the home economist at the Miele Demonstration store. It's reliable and always juicy. I don't bother brining precisely, rather dump the breasts into a large bowl of water that I have salted, far less than 1/3 cup. I let them sit for at about 30-60 min and then season and grill them skin side down over fairly high heat (natural gas grill) for 5-10 minutes and flip them over for 5 min before turning the heat down to medium. I'm sure that different grills vary in degree of heat, so take mine as suggestion only. Use a meat thermometer or I can usually eyeball when they are nearly done. I then apply the bbq sauce near the last ten minutes or so.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2011 at 1:04AM
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klseiverd

I prefer BI/SO chicken breasts. IMO, they are much more forgiving when it comes to cooking time. I start skin side down, get a little color on bones side, then shift to indirect heat. I'm not one to check internal temperature... just go by look/feel... definitely DONE and never any pink inside. When I've determinted theyre done, will give each side a brief turn back over direct heat. Have found that if pieces stay on grill... maybe a little longer than "they" say, the chicken still doesn't get tough. With boneless/skinless... 1-2 minutes to long and you can end up with oblong hockey pucks.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2011 at 2:11PM
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Charcuterie

The 1/3 cup is just for a quick brine, if you use the soy ginger glaze drop the brine salt to 1/4 cup. If you're going to brine them over night then you only need about a TBSP of salt and 1/2 TBSP of sugar.

Sometimes I mix it up by using pineapple juice, apple juice, or even ginger ale or dr. pepper as the brining liquid. The dr. pepper is especially good for any kind of smoked pork.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2011 at 3:25PM
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shambo

A quick report back -- I grilled the chicken breasts last night on my Weber gas grill. After the three burners preheated, I turned one down and slapped on the breasts, skin side down. 10 minutes then turned. 10 minutes on the bone side. I didn't check temperatures, just stuck a skewer into the meatiest part. No resistance, so they were done. And they were perfect! I'll never hesitate about buying bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces again. We ate two, and I've got three leftover for grilled chicken salads tonight.

I know brining can make a difference, but that's one option I'm unable to use. However, the chicken was perfectly moist and tender. Thanks for all the suggestions.

Sue

    Bookmark   July 21, 2011 at 4:11PM
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lindac

A soak in butter milk does about the same thing as brining....maybe even better....if I remember to do it!
Linda C

    Bookmark   July 21, 2011 at 7:06PM
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countrygal_905

Is anything added to the buttermilk. I am grilling chicken pieces for dinner Sunday for 20-25 and am trying to decide how to prep the chicken. Thanks.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2012 at 9:50AM
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lindac

I put a little salt and pepper in the buttermilk. Not sure the pepper does any good...but it looks like there is some seasoning in the buttermilk. LOL! I think it's something about the slight acidity of the buttermilk that tenderizes the meat and makes it so good.
Linda c

    Bookmark   September 12, 2012 at 10:14AM
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countrygal_905

I forgot to ask, do you soak it overnight?

    Bookmark   September 12, 2012 at 10:56AM
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publickman

I almost never use my gas grill and use mesquite charcoal instead. I grill mine skin side up for the whole time so that the breasts can self baste - sometimes I shove seasoned butter under the skin. When the breasts are cooked skin side down, whatever small amount of fat that is in the skin drips down and is wasted. Chicken breasts will get done without turning, and I check for doneness with a thermometer and always cook to 165 degrees. I also keep a spray bottle with water and spritz the breast every 10 minutes to help keep them moist.

Lars

    Bookmark   September 12, 2012 at 11:35AM
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lindac

Soaking all day is good...over night as in put to soak the night before dinner the following day is better....but I never think of it that soon.
I start my chicken breasts skin down....because I don't want all that chicken grease in my meat.
I try to take it off the grill at 160...because the meat will rise in temperature after you remove it.
Unless I am cooking a lot of chicken, I just cut into one piece in the thickest part and check for absence of any pink.
Over cooking white meat chicken is death to the food!...under cooking may be death (not really!) to the consumer!

    Bookmark   September 12, 2012 at 5:11PM
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countrygal_905

Thanks for the help. Does anyone know if the powdered buttermilk reconstituted works for this? If it is soaked overnight is there a ratio of salt to buttermilk that works best? And one more question (at least for now), should the chicken be rinsed before grilling?

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 2:27PM
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foodonastump

Whatever you do, whatever advice you get and take, can I just beg you to do a trial run? Maybe it's just me, but I don't find bone-in skin-on chicken all that difficult to screw up on the grill.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 3:15PM
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countrygal_905

foas - I cook for these people frequently. I'm not necessarily worried about screwing up. I grill boneless chicken breast, but haven't grilled bone-in chicken pieces. This is just my way--I try to get as much info as possible before I try something new. I have done a turkey soaked in a buttermilk mixture and it was supposed to be rinsed before deep frying--that's why I was asking.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 8:09AM
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foodonastump

Ok, it was just a suggestion! I grill BSCB often, too, there's no real art to that, but I've definitely messed up skin-on breasts more than once. Burnt skin, skin stuck to the grates, etc. I realize most people will think it's no big deal and that I'm probably just a klutz when it comes to this, but I personally would want to have it down pat before cooking for a couple dozen people.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 8:33AM
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foodonastump

Ok, it was just a suggestion! I grill BSCB often, too, there's no real art to that, but I've definitely messed up skin-on breasts more than once. Burnt skin, skin stuck to the grates, etc. I realize most people will think it's no big deal and that I'm probably just a klutz when it comes to this, but I personally would want to have it down pat before cooking for a couple dozen people.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 8:34AM
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countrygal_905

I sure wish there was tone of voice on internet because I wasn't taking offense to your suggestion. I was just explaining. Sorry.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 8:46AM
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foodonastump

LOL, sounds like perhaps it was MY voice that came across wrong! I wasn't thinking anything of anything. Sorry!

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 9:13AM
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lpinkmountain

Countrygal I've never done chicken marinated in buttermilk, but I have done boneless turkey thighs marinated in yogurt. Yogurt will definately work for chicken too. That's a tried and true Middle Eastern technique for grilling. You can add whatever you like to the marinade. I tend to use either a turkish seasoning mix I have or ras el harnout, which is a Moroccan spice mix, but you could use any old seasoning. It's a good way to go for moist flavorful meat, but you still have to watch the meat carefully and not overcook.

Below is a link to a typical recipe in the Middle Eastern style.

Here is a link that might be useful: Turkish Marinated Chicken Kebabs

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 6:54PM
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lindac

Powdered buttermilk works fine....as does yogurt...or sour cream.
In deference to Stumpy's problems...I would just say cook chicken a lot slower than say as teak or a bunch of burgers...
I love rare steak and burgers....chicken not so much!...so the fire needs to be "mdoerate" to cook the middle without burning the outside.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 7:29PM
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lbpod

I'm with Lars, (Publickman), on this one.
Skin side down for the first half of the grilling.
And...I have found that the split-halves take
a bit longer, so as you don't have any 'pink'
near the bones.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2012 at 3:43PM
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countrygal_905

Just wanted to report back and say thanks for everyone's help. I did use sour milk with salt to soak overnight. I went to use my powdered buttermilk and it was clumpy and didn't dissolve well. Anyway, the chicken turned out to everyone's liking so I guess I can do this again.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2012 at 2:21PM
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lbpod

So, did you grill skin down, or skin up during the
first half of your grilling?

    Bookmark   September 21, 2012 at 4:25PM
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countrygal_905

Skin down. Well, since I grilled pieces, the skin on the legs was up and down. :)

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 7:23AM
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lbpod

My reasoning for skin side up during the first half of
the grilling, is that with the skin side up during the
second half, less of the juices will be lost.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 1:00PM
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