Grilling chicken on charcoal can impart a delicious smoky flavor to the meat. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to cook grilled chicken using charcoal:
- Prepare the grill: Start by setting up your charcoal grill in a safe and well-ventilated outdoor area. Remove the grill grate and arrange the charcoal in a pile at the bottom of the grill. You can use a chimney starter to light the charcoal or use lighter fluid according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Allow the charcoal to burn until it turns gray and ashy, indicating it is ready for cooking.
- Season the chicken: While the charcoal is heating, season the chicken pieces with your choice of marinade or dry rub. You can use a variety of seasonings such as salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, herbs, or spices to add flavor. Allow the chicken to marinate for at least 30 minutes to enhance the taste.
- Prepare the grill grate: Once the charcoal is ready, spread out the hot coals evenly at the bottom of the grill. Place the grill grate back on top of the grill, ensuring it is clean and well-oiled to prevent the chicken from sticking.
- Preheat the grill: Close the lid of the grill and allow it to preheat for about 10-15 minutes. This will ensure that the grill grate is hot and ready for cooking.
- Place the chicken on the grill: Carefully place the seasoned chicken pieces on the hot grill grate. Arrange them in a single layer with enough space between each piece to allow for even cooking. It’s essential to avoid overcrowding the grill to ensure proper heat circulation.
- Grill the chicken: Close the lid of the grill to trap the heat and smoke. Cook the chicken for about 6-8 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of the chicken pieces. Use tongs to flip the chicken halfway through the cooking process. Ensure the chicken reaches a safe internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) for poultry.
- Baste or glaze (optional): If desired, you can baste the chicken with your favorite barbecue sauce, glaze, or marinade during the last few minutes of cooking. Brush it onto the chicken and let it caramelize for a flavorful finish.
- Check for doneness: To ensure the chicken is fully cooked, use an instant-read thermometer to check the internal temperature. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken without touching the bone. If it reads 165°F (74°C), the chicken is ready. If not, continue cooking for a few more minutes and check again.
- Rest and serve: Once the chicken is cooked to perfection, remove it from the grill and let it rest for a few minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute and results in a juicier chicken. Serve the grilled chicken hot with your favorite side dishes and enjoy!
Remember to follow proper safety guidelines when grilling, such as handling charcoal with care, keeping a safe distance from open flames, and using utensils to handle the hot grill and chicken.
Here’s a simple recipe for grilled chicken breasts on charcoal:
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- Juice of 1 lemon
- In a bowl, combine the olive oil, minced garlic, paprika, dried oregano, salt, black pepper, and lemon juice. Mix well to create a marinade.
- Place the chicken breasts in a shallow dish or a zip-top bag. Pour the marinade over the chicken, ensuring that each breast is coated evenly. Marinate the chicken in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, or ideally, up to 4 hours to allow the flavors to infuse.
- While the chicken is marinating, prepare the charcoal grill as mentioned in the previous instructions. Preheat the grill and ensure the charcoal is hot and ashy.
- Remove the chicken from the marinade, allowing any excess marinade to drip off. Discard the remaining marinade.
- Place the chicken breasts on the hot grill grate. Cook the chicken for about 6-8 minutes per side, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C) when checked with an instant-read thermometer.
- While grilling, you can baste the chicken with any remaining marinade during the last few minutes of cooking for additional flavor if desired.
- Once the chicken is cooked through, remove it from the grill and let it rest for a few minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute and makes the chicken juicier.
- Serve the grilled chicken hot with your choice of side dishes such as grilled vegetables, salad, rice, or bread.
Enjoy your delicious homemade grilled chicken cooked on charcoal!