Grilling an irresistibly tender chicken breast (or a whole chicken if you're more adventurous) is a great way to spice up your barbecue. Even if you're not entertaining dozens of guests or a few of your closest friends, you can still grill up a tasty chicken dinner for you or your family. Creating a delicious meal doesn't take very long or much energy and you can learn how to grill chicken without any hassle.

How To Grill Chicken Breasts

chicken breasts over grill

Grilling chicken breasts doesn't take as much time as a whole chicken, but it still requires a little finesse. Knowing how to grill chicken breasts to perfection is the first step to bringing restaurant quality dinners to your kitchen table.

What You'll Need

  • Chicken breasts
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Tongs
  • Meat thermometer


  • Thaw your chicken in the fridge.
  • Preheat the grill for 10-15 minutes. Arrange the coals or your gas grill for direct and indirect heating. Light only one side of the burners or place coals on only one side of the grill before lighting.
  • Pat dry the chicken breasts with a paper towel before seasoning.
  • Sprinkle chicken breasts with a generous amount of salt and pepper.
  • Once your grill is nice and hot, place chicken breasts on the hottest part of the grill and close the cover.
  • Grill chicken on its first side for 3-5 minutes.
  • After the allotted time, flip the chicken and grill for another 3-5 minutes.
  • Move chicken to indirect heat and grill, covered, for another 2-3 minutes.
  • After the allotted time, flip the chicken and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  • Insert your meat thermometer and grill your chicken until it reaches a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

How To Grill Whole Chickens

whole grilled chicken on cutting board with potatoes and rosemary

Sometimes a couple chicken breasts just aren't enough to feed an entire family or a collection of partygoers. If you want to try tackling a whole chicken on the grill, here's how you do it.

What You'll Need

  • Whole chicken (4-lb)
  • Butter
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  • Meat thermometer


  • Preheat your grill for about 5-10 minutes. Coat the grill with cooking spray or rub down with butter before lighting. Arrange the coals or your gas grill for direct and indirect heating. Light only one side of the burners or place coals on only one side of the grill before lighting.
  • Rinse your chicken as the grill is heating. Pat dry with paper towels and apply generous amounts of salt and pepper.
  • Lay your whole chicken on indirect heat. Try to have the thighs of the chicken facing the direct heat side of your grill.
  • Close the lid and let it cook for 40-45 minutes. You don't need to touch it or rotate it. Just let it sit.
  • After the allotted time, rotate the chicken so that the other side is facing the direct heat.
  • Continue grilling for another 40-45 minutes with the lid closed.
  • After the allotted time, insert your meat thermometer until it reads 160 degrees Fahrenheit inside the breast of the chicken. The thighs should have an internal temperature of 175-180 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Once the proper internal temperature has been reached, remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

A good rule of thumb that you should follow is to cook your chicken 20 minutes per pound. You can read your thermometer for additional reassurance that the chicken is done, but cooking 20 minutes per pound ensures that you'll cook your bird all the way through.

Those are some of the ways that you can grill the perfect chicken for you and yours. Remember to season according to your desired tastes and that you don't need to stick with just salt and pepper. Follow these recipes and you'll have a delicious dinner ready in no time!

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