Here is my recipe for the best juiciest grilled barbecue chicken. The secret is in the brine! Perfect for upcoming Memorial Day! ♥
Wood Chips and Smoker Box
Homemade Barbecue Sauce, Bottled Commercial Barbecue Sauce, or Dressed Up Bottled Barbecue Sauce
1 (3 to 4 pound) whole chicken, cut up
2 tablespoons of kosher salt
1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
Dry Rub Marinade:
2 tablespoons paprika
20 turns of the pepper grinder (about 1 teaspoon)
1 tablespoon brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
2 teaspoons of Cajun seasoning or to taste
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
For the Brine: Cut chicken up into serving pieces. Fill a large pot or container with enough water to cover the chicken well. Whisk the salt into the water until dissolved; whisk in the vinegar. Add the chicken and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
Remove the chicken from the brine and allow to drain well. Discard the brine. Pat the chicken pieces dry, laying out on a platter or baking sheet that will fit in the fridge. Combine the dry rub ingredients and rub the chicken well with the dry rub, cover loosely and refrigerate several hours. Grill chicken covered, turning occasionally, about 12 to 16 minutes for thighs; 16 to 20 minute for legs. Cook breasts, skin side up, for about 10 minutes, turn and cook another 5 minutes or until juices run clear, or an instant read thermometer registers 165 degrees F for dark meat, 160 degrees F for breasts. Apply barbecue sauce in the last few minutes of cooking.
Gas Grill Directions: If using wood chips, presoak them for about 30 minutes before needing. Drain the wood chips and place them into a smoking box (or make a homemade aluminum foil tray for a gas grill/packet for charcoal) and put on top of the section of the grill you intend to keep hot. Preheat grill to high on all burners about 15 minutes.
When ready to grill, leave one (or two) burners on high, turn all other burners down to medium low. Oil the grates, and sear the chicken on the hottest part of the grill, with the lid closed, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Move the chicken to the cooler part of the grill, and grill covered, turning occasionally, about 12 to 16 minutes for thighs; 16 to 20 minute for legs. Cook breasts, skin side up, for about 10 minutes, turn and cook another 5 minutes or until done. Check by using the tip of a knife inserted near the bone, there should not be any red showing. Chicken is done when an instant read thermometer registers 165 degrees for dark meat and 160 degrees for breasts. Apply barbecue sauce in the last few minutes of cooking.
Tip: Store your barbecue sauce in a pull top, squirt type water bottle. Instead of using a brush, squirt the sauce on the chicken in the last few minutes of cooking, taking care not to allow the bottle to touch the chicken. Store the remaining sauce in the fridge.
If you are skittish about chicken on the grill because it always turns out charred on the outside and raw on the inside, if you don't want to deal with indirect cooking, if you're making massive amounts of chicken for a party or backyard barbecue, or, if you're trying to grill between rain like I was this weekend, consider pre-cooking the chicken in the oven first.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and place the rubbed chicken pieces on a rack, on a foil-lined large baking sheet. Roast for about 50 minutes, then finish on a preheated very hot grill, over direct heat. Sear both sides of the chicken first, then brush with the sauce, turn, cook for about 5 to 10 minutes total, brushing with sauce and turning several times, until chicken is done.