5 Common Grilled Chicken Mistakes & How to Solve Them

Grilled Chicken Mistakes
Photo courtesy of amenic181.

5 Common Grilled Chicken Mistakes & How to Solve Them

Grilled chicken is a staple at backyard cookouts across the country this summer but far too often it falls flat, whether it’s a lack of seasoning, burnt on barbecue sauce, or (eeeek) undercooked meat.  To help step up your reader’s chicken grilling skills, here are five tips for grilled chicken perfection!


    Problem: Great grilled chicken starts with proper seasoning but often cooks are too focused on getting it on the grill to properly flavor it.

    Fix It: As with any protein, chicken should be liberally (generously) seasoned with either salt and pepper or your favorite BBQ dry rub.  Better yet, soak the chicken overnight in a saltwater brine to not only add flavor but also ensure the chicken stays moist.


    Problem: Barbecue sauce goes great with grilled chicken but it is often added before the chicken hits the grill or as soon as it starts to cook. Unfortunately barbecue sauce is full of sugar which will quickly burn, not only ruining the overall taste but also giving the cook the false sense that the chicken is done.

    Fix it: Hold the barbecue sauce for the last 2-3 minutes of the grilling process.  Simply sauce both sides using a basting brush, cover the grill, and allow the sauce to set before serving.


    Problem: Unlike steak, which requires a high heat to sear and quickly cook on a grill, chicken will burn on the outside while not fully cooking on the inside if the heat is too high. Chicken will cook more evenly and thoroughly with a lower temperature.

    Fix it: Create a 2-zone fire by placing all of the charcoal briquets on one side of the charcoal grate in order to have a hot side for browning and crisping the chicken and a cooler side to which it can be moved to finish cooking without burning the outside (note: on a gas grill, simply turn the burners off on one side for a cool zone).  Once moved to the cool side, simply cover the grill and allow it to come to temperature.


    Problem: Whether it’s bone-in, boneless, skin-on or skinless, not all chicken grills in the same amount of time.  Bone-in, skin on chicken breasts, for example, might take up to 20 minutes to, while chicken legs will take slightly less time, and boneless, skinless thighs can be grilled in a matter of minutes.

    Fix it: Select one cut of chicken and stick to it versus offering multiple options.  Chicken thighs are a great option for everyone as they are much more forgiving if slightly overcooked.


    Problem: Too often, people assume chicken is done simply based on looks.  The problem is that while it looks great on the outside, it could still be raw inside, creating a serious health hazard.

    Fix it:  Investing in an instant read meat thermometer is a sure fire way to know if the chicken has cooked to the FDA approved temperature of 165 degrees F. You can take the chicken off the grill once it reaches 160 degrees F as the temperature will continue to rise slightly even after it is removed from heat.  Be sure to let the chicken rest for a few minutes before serving so the cooking can complete.

Article courtesy of the culinary team at Chef Works, the leading manufacturer of chef attire for professionals and home cooks alike.

5 Common Grilled Chicken Mistakes & How to Solve Them

Melanie Kampman

Melanie Kampman is a web designer, developer and owner of Giveaway Bandit and Farm News for Kids. She lives in Northwest Missouri on a large family farm with her husband and eight year old son, the Giveaway Bandit. They raise cattle with a variety of pets including horses, chickens, ducks, and a slew of cats. By Melanie Kampman If you are interested in writing a sponsored post on Giveaway Bandit please email me at melanie (at) giveawaybandit (dot) com.

  • Lisa Coomer Queen

    These are some great tips for grilling chicken. Thanks for sharing. Great information.

  • Kelly McCarty

    Thanks! I always screw up chicken.

  • Thank you for this nice post and the lovely tips!

  • Edgar Robles

    I love grilled chicken!

  • Sue M.

    I do sometimes have trouble with making grilled chicken. These are very helpful tips; thanks a lot for posting!

  • M.Clark

    This is a great post about grilling mistakes and fixes. Perfect for summer grilling. Thank you for sharing this post.

  • Angie Fiack

    Great ideas! Thanks. I love grilled chicken.

  • Jeffrey

    I am starting to grill more outside lately, to this was very interesting to read.

  • Doug W

    Great tips. If somebody else is doing the grilling, I just want them to understand the word “slather” when it comes to BBQ sauce. More is better!

  • john hutchens

    Great grilling tips. It really does make a difference when cooking chicken to brine it overnight before grilling. It gives it really good flavor and moisture.

  • april g

    Great tips!

  • addrienne mertens

    thanx for the tips.. we always soak out chicken in marinades before cooking.. make sure you pull skin away a bit and pour some marinade or rub in there too, most people pull the skin off before eating..taking any seasoning off with it..

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