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How long should you BBQ chicken?

Barbecuing chicken is a popular summer activity for many people in the UK. The smoky flavor and juicy meat make it a favorite choice for outdoor cooking. However, achieving the perfect balance between tenderness and safety can be a challenge. Knowing how long to cook chicken on the barbecue is crucial to ensure that it is thoroughly cooked while retaining its moisture and flavor.

The importance of cooking times

Cooking chicken to the right temperature is essential to prevent foodborne illnesses. Undercooking chicken can lead to the presence of harmful bacteria such as Salmonella or Campylobacter. On the other hand, overcooking chicken can result in dry and rubbery meat, which is far from ideal.

Factors affecting cooking time

There are several factors that can influence how long it takes to barbecue chicken. The size and thickness of the chicken pieces, the type of barbecue equipment being used, and the cooking temperature all play a role in determining the cooking time. It is always important to adjust the cooking time based on these factors to ensure that the chicken is both safe to eat and delicious.

Recommended cooking times

As a general rule, boneless, skinless chicken breasts usually take around 6-8 minutes per side to cook on a medium-high heat grill. However, it is crucial to check the internal temperature of the chicken using a meat thermometer to ensure it has reached a safe minimum temperature of 165°F (75°C). For bone-in chicken pieces, such as drumsticks or thighs, the cooking time might be slightly longer, usually around 10-12 minutes per side.

Remember: these cooking times are just a guideline, and it is always best to rely on a meat thermometer to confirm that the chicken is fully cooked. The color of the meat alone is not a reliable indicator of doneness.

“Properly cooked chicken should have an internal temperature of 165°F (75°C). This ensures that any harmful bacteria present in the meat are destroyed, making it safe to eat.” – Chef John Smith

Tips for perfect barbecue chicken

To achieve the best results when barbecuing chicken, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. Preheat the grill: Ensure that the grill is preheated to the correct temperature before placing the chicken on it. This helps to sear the meat and lock in the juices.
  2. Marinate or brine: Consider marinating or brining the chicken before cooking. This not only adds flavor but also helps to keep the meat moist during cooking.
  3. Use indirect heat: To avoid burning the chicken, especially if using skin-on pieces, it is recommended to start cooking over direct heat and then move the chicken to a cooler part of the grill to finish cooking. This allows the chicken to cook evenly without drying out.
  4. Baste with sauce: If using BBQ sauce, wait until the last few minutes of cooking to apply it. This prevents the sugar in the sauce from burning and turning bitter.
  5. Rest the chicken: After removing the chicken from the grill, let it rest for a few minutes before serving. This allows the juices to redistribute within the meat, resulting in a more tender and flavorful chicken.

Remember, barbecuing chicken is not an exact science, and the cooking time may vary depending on many factors. It is always better to be cautious and ensure that the chicken reaches the appropriate internal temperature rather than rushing the cooking process. By following these guidelines and using a meat thermometer, you can confidently serve perfectly cooked barbecue chicken to your friends and family.

Is it better to BBQ chicken fast or slow?

When it comes to barbecuing chicken, the age-old debate of whether it’s better to cook it fast or slow has divided grill masters for years. Both methods have their merits, so let’s explore the advantages of each.

Fast and Furious

Cooking chicken on high heat for a shorter period is ideal if you’re looking for a quick and easy meal. The high heat helps seal in the juices, resulting in a moist and flavorful chicken. Additionally, the shorter cooking time means you can have your BBQ chicken ready in no time. This method is perfect for those busy weeknights or impromptu gatherings with friends.

The Slow and Steady Approach

On the other hand, slow-cooking chicken on low heat allows the flavors to develop gradually, resulting in incredibly tender and succulent meat. This method is perfect for larger chicken pieces like whole chickens or chicken thighs, which benefit from the longer cooking time. Slow-cooking also allows the natural fats in the chicken to render, giving it a delicious crispy skin.

Regardless of whether you choose to cook chicken fast or slow, marinating it beforehand can add incredible flavor and tenderness.

Ultimately, the choice between fast and slow depends on your preferences and the outcome you desire. If you’re short on time and prefer a quick meal, fast grilling is the way to go. However, if you want to savor the rich flavors and enjoy fall-off-the-bone tenderness, slow cooking is the way to achieve barbecue perfection.

How long do you barbecue chicken on each side?

Barbecuing chicken is a popular activity, especially during the summer months in the UK. Whether you are hosting a backyard party or enjoying a casual weekend gathering, knowing how long to cook your chicken on each side is key to achieving juicy and flavorful results. Here’s a guide to help you barbecue chicken to perfection.


Before grilling your chicken, it is essential to properly prepare it. Start by marinating your chicken for at least 30 minutes to enhance its flavor. You can use store-bought marinades or create your own using ingredients such as olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, herbs, and spices. Thoroughly coat the chicken with the marinade and refrigerate it. Don’t forget to preheat your grill to medium-high heat while the chicken is marinating.

Cooking Times:

The cooking time for chicken on a grill varies depending on the cut and size of the pieces. Here are some general guidelines:

  1. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts: Cook for approximately 6-8 minutes per side, until the internal temperature reaches 165°F (75°C).
  2. Chicken thighs, drumsticks, or wings: These cuts generally require more cooking time due to the higher fat content. Cook for around 10-12 minutes per side, ensuring the internal temperature reaches 165°F (75°C).

It is important to use a meat thermometer to accurately measure the internal temperature of the chicken. This helps ensure that the chicken is fully cooked, eliminating any risk of foodborne illnesses.

Remember that these times are just a guideline, and the actual cooking time may vary depending on your grill’s heat intensity, the thickness of the chicken pieces, and personal preferences.

Tip: To add a smoky flavor, you can brush your chicken with a barbecue sauce or glaze during the last few minutes of grilling.

How often should you flip chicken on BBQ?

When it comes to barbecuing chicken, the question of how often to flip it is one that many people find themselves asking. Flipping chicken on the barbecue is necessary to ensure even cooking and to prevent the chicken from drying out or burning. However, flipping it too frequently can disrupt the cooking process and result in less juicy and flavorful chicken.

The Flip Method

The general rule of thumb for flipping chicken on the barbecue is to do it only once. This means that you should place the chicken on the grill and let it cook for about half of the total cooking time, then flip it and let it finish cooking on the other side. This method allows the chicken to develop a nice crust and seal in the juices, while still ensuring that it cooks through evenly.


  1. Flipping the chicken too often can cause it to lose moisture.
  2. Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness.
  3. Avoid pressing down on the chicken while it’s cooking as it can squeeze out the juices.

Expert Tips

To further enhance the flavor and tenderness of your grilled chicken, consider trying these expert tips:

  • Marinate the chicken before grilling to add extra flavor and moisture.
  • Preheat the grill to ensure even cooking and prevent sticking.
  • Let the chicken rest for a few minutes after grilling to allow the juices to redistribute.

Do You BBQ Chicken Skin Down First?

Barbecuing chicken can be a delicious and flavorful way to enjoy a summer meal. However, many people debate whether it’s better to cook chicken skin down first or not. Let’s explore both methods and see which one suits your preferences.

BBQ Chicken Skin Down

When you BBQ chicken with the skin down first, it helps to render the fat and crisp up the skin. This method can result in a nicely charred exterior and juicy, tender meat. By starting with the skin down, you give it more time to cook thoroughly and become crispy.

However, if you prefer your chicken skin to be extra crispy, you may want to flip it over towards the end of the cooking process. This will allow the skin to brown and become even crunchier. Just make sure the chicken is cooked through before serving.

BBQ Chicken Skin Up

Alternatively, some people prefer to BBQ chicken with the skin up first. This method can help to keep the meat moist by allowing the fat to drip down and baste the chicken as it cooks. It also helps to prevent the skin from becoming overly charred or burnt.

If you choose to BBQ chicken skin up, you may still want to finish cooking it with the skin down for a few minutes to achieve a crispy texture. This way, you get the best of both worlds – moist meat with a deliciously crispy skin.

Ultimately, whether you BBQ chicken skin down or up first depends on personal preference. It’s all about achieving the desired level of crispiness and juiciness in your chicken.

To further enhance your BBQ chicken experience, here are a few tips:

  1. Marinate the chicken beforehand to infuse it with flavor.
  2. Preheat your grill or BBQ to ensure even cooking.
  3. Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the chicken, ensuring it reaches 165°F (74°C) for safe consumption.

So, whether you choose to BBQ chicken skin down first or prefer the skin up method, the most important thing is to enjoy the delicious flavors and juicy meat that barbecuing can offer. Happy grilling!

How long should BBQ chicken rest?

When it comes to cooking barbecue chicken, giving it enough time to rest after it’s been cooked is crucial for a juicy and flavorful result. Resting allows the meat to relax, reabsorb moisture, and distribute the juices evenly throughout.

Why is resting important?

Resting is important because it allows the heat from the cooking process to redistribute within the chicken, resulting in a more tender and juicy texture. Resting also helps to retain the moisture in the meat and prevents it from drying out.

Resting times can vary depending on the size and type of chicken pieces. As a general rule, smaller pieces like wings or drumsticks should rest for about 5-10 minutes, while larger cuts like chicken breasts or whole chickens may require 15-20 minutes of resting time.

How to rest BBQ chicken

To rest your BBQ chicken properly, follow these steps:

  1. Remove the chicken from the grill or oven and place it onto a clean cutting board or platter.
  2. Cover the chicken loosely with aluminum foil or a clean kitchen towel to keep it warm.
  3. Let the chicken rest for the desired amount of time, allowing the juices to redistribute.

Remember, the resting time will depend on the size and type of chicken you are cooking.

Tips for the perfect BBQ chicken

To ensure that your BBQ chicken is perfectly cooked and rested, consider these tips:

  • Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the chicken. It should read 165°F (75°C) for poultry to be safe to eat.
  • Marinate or season the chicken before grilling to enhance the flavor.
  • Allow the chicken to come to room temperature before cooking for more even cooking.

“Resting allows the meat to become more tender, juicy, and flavorful. It’s a crucial step in achieving barbecue chicken perfection.”

By following these guidelines and properly resting your BBQ chicken, you’ll be rewarded with moist, delicious meat that will satisfy your taste buds and impress your guests.


As with any cooking method, there are pros and cons to both fast and slow barbecue chicken. Whichever method you choose, be sure to monitor the cooking process to avoid drying out the meat. Experiment with different techniques and find what works best for you and your taste preferences.

“By flipping the chicken on the barbecue only once and following these expert tips, you can achieve perfectly cooked, juicy, and flavorful chicken every time.”

So, the answer to the question of how often you should flip chicken on the barbecue is simple: just once. By following this method and incorporating these expert tips, you’ll be well on your way to grilling delicious chicken that will impress your guests at your next barbecue gathering.