How to Charbroil Chicken

There's nothing like the taste of a charbroil, when food sits on the grill long enough to pick up a slightly charred flavor and texture. This can be done with anything grillable but is especially delicious for meats. When dealing with chicken, which benefits immensely from added flavors, a charbroil can be exactly what you need for a delicious dinner.

How to Charbroil Chicken
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Charbroiled Chicken Basics

Charbroiling itself is fairly easy and lets you add a number of delicious options depending on what you want for dinner. The cut of chicken is the first decision to make. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are the most popular for grilling, but it can be advantageous to buy the breast with the skin and bone because they add additional flavor. In fact, you can charbroil a whole chicken as long as you adjust the grilling time appropriately.

Because chicken cannot be eaten even mildly rare, and every grill is different, cooking times will vary. You want to make sure the juices from the chicken are running clear before removing it from the heat, and if you can't tell by that, it's best to use a thermometer to make sure the internal temperature hits at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit. A good estimate for cooking time is around 15 minutes per side per pound of chicken if you're using a cut other than the breast.

Charbroiling is usually done on a grill for that smoky, slightly burnt flavor, but it can also be done in an oven. One of the keys is to cook the chicken first and then add sauce or glaze during the last 10-15 minutes of cooking, increasing the heat as desired. This way, the sauce and the meat will pick up that char flavor, but you won't have to worry about it burning.

Using Two-Zone Grilling

The easiest way to get a good charbroil is if you have a grill with zoned heating.

  1. Set up your grill to have low heat on one side and medium to high heat on the other. You'll want indirect heat to cook your chicken.

  2. Once your chicken is ready, start it on the low-heat side, skin up (if your cut has skin). Close the grill lid and cook for about 20 to 25 minutes.

  3. Add sauce or glaze if you want and then flip the chicken. The other side can take another 20 to 25 minutes, so wait 10 to 15 minutes before really starting to baste the meat.

  4. As the cook time ends, if you want more of that charbroil flavor, move the chicken to the hot side of the stove for the last five minutes. Just be careful not to overdo it and burn too much of your sauce.

Using Standard Grilling

If your grill is one temperature fits all, you can still make it work. The advantage to two-zone grilling is the indirect heat, which usually keeps more juices inside the chicken, but a standard grill will do just fine.

  1. Preheat the grill to a high heat.

  2. Place the chicken on the grill and close the grill lid. Allow it to cook for 15 to 20 minutes.

  3. Baste with sauce if desired and then flip the chicken and cook for another 15 to 20 minutes.

  4. Again, add sauce in the last 10 to 15 minutes of cooking. You can baste the top side and then flip the chicken over to baste the other side in the last five minutes if you want charbroil flavor on both sides.

Using an Oven Broiler

If you can't grill for whatever reason, it's possible to approximate the taste using the broiler in the oven.

  1. Preheat the oven's broiler and set the top rack about 6 inches down from the heat source.

  2. In this case, you may want to rub the chicken with olive oil or sauce if it hasn't been otherwise prepped. Place it in a broiling pan, skin side down (if your cut has skin).

  3. Broil on the top rack for 10 to 15 minutes and then flip the chicken and add more sauce if desired. Continue about 10 minutes more or until the chicken reaches the desired temperature.

All of these methods can be further enhanced by premarinating, spice rubs or delicious thick sauces. It's great for broiled skinless chicken breast, broiled chicken tenders and more. Charbroiled chicken is the perfect thing to serve in a salad, on a roll or with a side of vegetables.

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