How to Make a Perfect Grilled Chicken
by: Angelica Florin
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Grilling can be a fun, family activity during weekends. Spend your lazy afternoons in your backyard, and take out those grillers for a grilled chicken for your dinner.
Learning how to grill is not as hard as you would see on television. All you need is the proper temperature for your griller especially if you are using an electric grill. Nevertheless, if you have the conventional griller, try to find some dried wood or charcoal. Ignite the coals or wood by placing crumpled papers below each coal and then set the papers on fire. Do not pour gasoline on the coals or dried wood. The smoke coming from the coals will give a gasoline-like aroma to your grilled meat. These are your best weapons in grilling.
Choose the best part of the chicken. I usually use chicken thighs and legs since they are the fattiest parts of the chicken. These parts will yield a juicy, barbecued chicken. Although these may sound unhealthy, the taste is incredibly delicious. Some would still prefer grilling chicken breasts with the skins on.
Before you start grilling your chicken, do not forget to marinate them at least overnight. Yes, overnight. This is because the longer you marinade your meat, the better absorption of flavors happens. I prefer to use store-bought marinades as these save much preparation time in the kitchen. The downside of most ready-made marinades is their high sodium content. But if you have time, you can make your own marinade from scratch. In the recipe below, the marinade and the chicken were simmered together to speed up the process of grilling and also to let the flavors marry together. I like Asian-style marinades such as this:
For every pound of chicken:
½ cup light soy sauce (available in the Asian section of grocery stores)
2-3 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice
4 tablespoons brown sugar
1 medium stalk of lemon grass (pounded)
3 cloves crushed garlic
1 teaspoon sesame oil (optional)
Combine all the above ingredients in a heavy skillet and let it boil for two minutes. Add in the chicken and simmer for another five minutes. Drain the chicken in a colander and reserve the marinade for basting during grilling. Basting is necessary so that the chicken won’t dry out. The marinade can also be made as a sauce by making a basic roux. This is simply done by placing a tablespoon of butter on a non-stick pan and let it cook for minutes. Pour over the marinade and whisk until the sauce thickens. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasonings accordingly.
You can also opt to make a dry, rub marinade. This dry rub is comprised of herbs and spices and a little oil. For chicken, dried or fresh tarragon and rosemary blends together very well. If you want a spicier, grilled chicken, add a pinch of chili powder and cayenne pepper. There are limitless marinades for grilled chicken. A little imagination and creativity are the keys. Make sure that when grilling the chicken, never let the flame flare up. This will result in burnt chicken. This does not appeal both to the eyes and to the palate. If this occurs, sprinkle a little water over the flame. Some also like their grill to be covered during the grilling process.
Personally, I liked mine uncovered. There is just something about the smoke which is, for me, the essence of grilling. Grilled foods are best served warm, right off the grill with some salads or other vegetables of your choice.