How to Keep Chicken From Drying Out on the Grill?

How to Keep Chicken From Drying Out on the Grill?

Grilling chicken is a delicious and healthy way to enjoy this versatile protein. However, it can be challenging to keep the chicken moist and tender instead of dry and tough. Nobody wants to sink their teeth into a piece of rubbery grilled chicken, and I’m here to help you avoid that disappointment.

In this article, I’ll share my top tips for preventing dry grilled chicken and keeping it tender and juicy. Whether you’re a novice griller or a seasoned pro, these tips will help you cook perfect grilled chicken every time.

Key Takeaways:

  • Preventing dry grilled chicken is all about preparation.
  • Choose the right chicken cuts, prepare a marinade, and use proper grilling techniques.
  • Indirect heat and foil are your friends when it comes to keeping chicken moist on the grill.
  • Resting and slicing the chicken properly can also make a big difference.

Choosing the Right Chicken Cuts

When it comes to grilling chicken, choosing the right cut is crucial to prevent dryness. Breasts, for example, tend to dry out faster than other cuts due to their low fat content.

To prevent this, I suggest using bone-in chicken thighs or drumsticks, which have a higher fat content and therefore retain moisture better while grilling. Additionally, leaving the skin on during grilling can also help lock in moisture and add flavor.

Using a Meat Thermometer

Another important chicken grilling technique is using a meat thermometer to ensure your chicken is cooked thoroughly without being overdone. Overcooked chicken will become dry and tough, while undercooked chicken can pose health risks.

I recommend using a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of your chicken. For bone-in chicken, aim for an internal temperature of 165°F, while boneless chicken should reach 160°F.

Preparing a Marinade

If you want to grill moist chicken, a great way to achieve this is by using a marinade. A marinade is a mixture of liquids and seasonings that you place the chicken in before grilling. This process allows the chicken to absorb the flavors, making it more tender and juicy.

There are countless marinade recipes out there, but the key is to balance the acidity, oil, and seasonings. Acidic ingredients like lemon juice or vinegar help to tenderize the meat, while oil keeps it moist. Herbs and spices add flavor and depth.

My go-to marinade for grilled chicken is a simple mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and herbs like rosemary and thyme. I let the chicken marinate for at least 30 minutes, but preferably a few hours or even overnight. This allows the flavors to really sink in.

When it’s time to grill, remove the chicken from the marinade and pat it dry with paper towels. This helps to create a nice sear on the outside, while keeping the inside moist. Don’t let the excess marinade drip onto the grill, as it can cause flare-ups and uneven cooking.

By preparing a delicious marinade and letting the chicken soak in it before grilling, you’ll be sure to have moist and flavorful chicken every time. Happy grilling!

Proper Grilling Technique

Grilling chicken can be tricky, but with the right technique, you can achieve juicy, flavorful chicken every time. To avoid drying out your chicken, follow these simple tips:

  1. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat. This ensures that your chicken will cook evenly and prevents it from sticking to the grill.
  2. Oil the chicken before placing it on the grill. This helps prevent the chicken from drying out and sticking to the grill. Use a silicone brush to lightly coat the chicken with oil, or drizzle it with a neutral oil like canola or vegetable oil.
  3. Cook the chicken for 5-7 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of the chicken. Avoid overcooking the chicken, as this can lead to dryness. To check if the chicken is done, use a meat thermometer to ensure that it has reached an internal temperature of 165°F.
  4. Avoid pressing down on the chicken with a spatula while it’s cooking. This can cause the juices to escape, resulting in dry chicken.
  5. Allow the chicken to rest for a few minutes before slicing and serving. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the chicken, resulting in moist and flavorful meat.

By following these simple steps, you can grill chicken without drying it out and achieve perfectly juicy and flavorful grilled chicken every time.

Using Indirect Heat and Foil

Another technique for preventing dry grilled chicken is to use indirect heat and foil. This method allows the chicken to cook more slowly and evenly, retaining its moisture and juices.

To use this technique, start by heating up your grill on high for 10-15 minutes. Then, turn off one of the burners and leave the other burner(s) on high. Place the chicken on the cooler side, away from the direct heat. Cover the grill and let the chicken cook for a few minutes on one side.

Step Instructions
1 Preheat grill on high for 10-15 minutes.
2 Turn off one burner and leave the other burner(s) on high.
3 Place chicken on cooler side of the grill, away from direct heat.
4 Cover the grill and let the chicken cook for a few minutes on one side.

After a few minutes, flip the chicken and cover the grill again. Then, wrap the chicken in foil, creating a tent to seal in the moisture. Let the chicken cook for another 10-15 minutes or until it reaches the desired internal temperature.

Tip: Add some liquid, such as chicken broth or wine, to the foil packet to further enhance moisture and flavor.

Once the chicken is cooked, remove it from the grill and let it rest for a few minutes before slicing into it. This will allow the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, making it even more tender and juicy.

Using indirect heat and foil may take a bit longer, but the result is well worth the wait. Your chicken will be moist and flavorful, making it a hit with your guests!

Resting and Slicing

After grilling your chicken to perfection, resist the temptation to slice it immediately. Allowing it to rest for a few minutes before cutting ensures that it retains its moisture. During the cooking process, the heat causes the juices to move towards the outside, resulting in dry meat if you cut it right away. Resting allows the juices to redistribute evenly throughout the chicken for a juicy and tender finish.

When it comes to slicing, use a sharp knife to prevent tearing or shredding the meat. Cut against the grain for maximum tenderness. If you’re serving the chicken whole, allow it to cool for a few minutes before carving it into portions. This not only ensures that the chicken stays moist, but it also makes for a beautiful presentation.


Grilling chicken can seem like a daunting task, but with these tips, you can ensure that your chicken remains tender and juicy!

First and foremost, it’s important to choose the right cuts of chicken. You’ll want to opt for the darker meat and avoid overcooking the chicken to prevent drying it out. Preparing a marinade beforehand can also help to add moisture and flavor to your chicken.

When it comes time to grill, proper technique is key. You’ll want to use indirect heat and foil to prevent the chicken from drying out too quickly. And don’t forget to let your chicken rest before slicing it to ensure that the juices redistribute throughout the meat.

With these tips, you’ll be grilling up tender and juicy chicken in no time. Happy grilling!


Q: How can I prevent chicken from drying out on the grill?

A: To prevent chicken from drying out, you can try several techniques. Here are some tips:

Q: What are the best chicken cuts for grilling?

A: The best chicken cuts for grilling are boneless, skinless chicken breasts and thighs. These cuts are lean and cook evenly on the grill.

Q: How do I prepare a marinade for moist grilled chicken?

A: To prepare a marinade for moist grilled chicken, you can mix together ingredients like olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, herbs, and seasonings. Marinate the chicken for a few hours before grilling to enhance the flavor and retain moisture.

Q: What is the proper grilling technique to prevent dryness in chicken?

A: The proper grilling technique to prevent dryness in chicken involves preheating the grill, oiling the grates, and cooking the chicken over medium heat. Avoid overcooking and constantly flipping the chicken to retain its juiciness.

Q: How can I use indirect heat and foil to prevent dry grilled chicken?

A: Using indirect heat and foil can help prevent dry grilled chicken. You can start by searing the chicken over direct heat and then move it to indirect heat. Additionally, you can wrap the chicken in foil while it cooks to retain moisture.

Q: Why is resting and slicing important for preventing dry grilled chicken?

A: Resting the grilled chicken for a few minutes allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in a more moist and tender texture. Slicing the chicken against the grain also helps maintain its juiciness.

Q: In conclusion, what are some tips for keeping grilled chicken tender?

A: To keep grilled chicken tender, make sure to choose the right cuts, marinate it, grill it using proper techniques, consider indirect heat and foil, and allow it to rest before slicing. These tips will help you achieve moist and delicious grilled chicken.

Michael Davis
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