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Grilled Chicken Done Right

Martha Stewart Living, June 2007

Chicken gets even more versatile in the summertime. So if you're ready for a break from potpies, stir-fries, and fricassee, go fire up the barbie. Cooked over gas or charcoal, properly grilled chicken has crisp, burnished skin, moist meat, and a faintly smoky flavor. And there's more than one way to prepare its many cuts, with the help of rubs, glazes, and marinades.

Whatever the recipe, all grilled chicken must be done just right. Depending on the particular part of the bird that you prefer, there's a corresponding grill temperature and cooking time that will ensure the chicken turns out perfectly. Lean poultry is less forgiving of excessive heat than a marbled steak or a rack of ribs, whose fat keeps the meat juicy even when it's slightly overcooked, so it's crucial to be aware of the internal temperature. Chicken dries out quickly above 165 degrees (the U.S. Department of Agriculture's minimum allowance), which is why it helps to have an instant-read thermometer on hand, especially for large bone-in cuts.

It may take a few tries to master the timing. But given the many ways to grill chicken -- starting with the four dishes featured here -- you're sure to eat well throughout the learning process.

Butterflying How-To
This technique, also known as spatchcocking, flattens a whole bird to ensure it cooks evenly on a grill. It works best on chickens weighing 3 to 4 pounds.

1. Place the chicken on a work surface, breast side down. Using sharp kitchen shears, cut along both sides of the backbone to remove it.

2. Flip the chicken over. Using your palm, press down firmly on the breastbone to flatten the chicken.

Smoky Grilled Butterflied Chicken
Sweet and Sticky Grilled Drumsticks
Green-Cabbage Coleslaw with Vinaigrette
Summer Bread Salad
Sour-Orange Grilled Chicken Paillards
Simple Salt and Pepper Grilled Chicken

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