How to Cook Poultry on the Grill
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How to Cook Poultry on the Grill

Whether slathered with sauce, subtly smoked, skewered, or roasted on a rotisserie, poultry is the perfect partner for all types of grilling techniques. When done right, it’s one of the tastiest proteins to grace the grill. But, when it’s not – as is often the case – it can be dry and leathery. Here are some tips to up your poultry prowess.

1. Grill chicken wings and all boneless cuts directly over medium-high heat. Bone-in pieces, whole and half chickens, and whole turkeys and turkey breasts are best grilled over indirect, medium heat. Closing the lid retains heat and speeds cooking, while also reducing flare-ups.

2. The most reliable method for determining doneness is to test with an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat, avoiding any bones. According to the USDA, the minimum safe internal temperature for all poultry is 165°F.
3. To ensure bone-in chicken parts are done at the same time, place dark meat pieces on the grill about 10–15 minutes ahead of breast pieces.

4. Boneless chicken breasts and turkey cutlets can dry out quickly on the grill. Brines, marinades, spice pastes or barbeque sauces all help replace moisture; just remember to save sauces with sugar, honey or fruit juice for the last 10 minutes of grilling time to prevent burning the meat.
5. Experts recommend grilling chicken skin-side down first to render out the fat and to crisp the skin. Take care to reposition pieces in case of flare-ups so they don’t burn.

6. Chicken wings – the ultimate game-day snack – develop delectably crispy skin when grilled, but unlike the fried version, much of the fat drips away. Cook directly over a medium-hot fire about 10 minutes per side, moving them around the grill surface if they flare up. Try grilling wings in a closed, hinged grill basket, so they can be flipped conveniently all at once.
7. Beer-can chicken might look odd, but it produces an unbeatably moist and flavorful bird. To make, pour off (or drink!) half a can of beer and add any desired herbs or spices to the can. Wedge it into the cavity of the chicken, placing it upright on the grill; the liquid bubbles up, basting the chicken from the inside out. Vertical grill-roasting pans with built-in reservoirs for juice, wine, beer or soda are also available, but a beer can is much more fun!

8. Spit roasting a whole chicken, turkey breast or small turkey on a rotisserie is a yummy, hands-free way to barbeque. The bird automatically spins over indirect, medium heat for uniform browning while fat drips off. Three tips: truss the legs and wings to the body, tightly secure the bird to the rotisserie rod so it’s balanced when it spins, and place a pan beneath the meat to prevent drippings from clogging the burner.

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