How to Grill Perfect Chicken Halves and Quarters

Serves: 5



Chicken is one of the most popular foods to grill, yet it causes more trouble than any other grilled fare. More often than not, people serve birds that are burnt on the outside and raw in the center. It’s understandable: A halved or quartered chicken with the skin on presents a twofold challenge.

The first problem is that the fat in the skin melts and causes flare-ups. The second problem is that, because it contains bones, chicken takes longer to cook than, say, steaks or burgers. And because of food safety issues, you don’t want to eat chicken anything less than well done.

To cook chicken halves or quarters to perfection, use the two-tiered method, which will enable you to control the heat by moving the birds back and forth over hotter and cooler sections of the grill:

1. If using charcoal: When you build your fire, pile the coals in a double layer on one side of the grill and in a single layer on the other.

If using a gas grill: Preheat one side to high, the other to medium. In either case, leave yourself plenty of room, so you can move the birds around to avoid flare-ups.

2. Season the chicken pieces with salt, pepper, or any other seasonings you plan to use.

3. After oiling the grill grate, place the pieces, skin side down, on the hotter section of the grill. Cook until the skin starts to brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Move the pieces to the cooler section of the grill and continue grilling until the skin is thoroughly browned, 5 to 7 minutes more. Watch carefully and use tongs to move the pieces away from flare-ups.

4. Turn the pieces and move them back to the hotter section of the grill. Brown the second side well (3 to 5 minutes), then move the pieces back to the cooler side of the grill to finish cooking. The total cooking time will be 16 to 24 minutes. When ready, the chicken will be crisp and golden-brown outside and the juices will run clear when the meat is pierced.

5. If the recipe calls for basting and you are using an oil- or wine-based marinade, you can brush the chicken continuously. If using a sugar-based marinade, start brushing it on during the last 5 minutes of grilling.

For the Chicken-hearted:

Bird without Flames

You can avoid the risk of flare-ups entirely by grilling halved or quartered chickens using the indirect method. Set up the grill for indirect grilling, placing a drip pan in the center, under the grate, and preheat to medium. When ready to cook, oil the grill grate. Place the chicken pieces, skin side down, on the hot grate, over the pan. Cover the grill and cook until the juices run clear, about 40 minutes for halved birds, 30 to 40 minutes for chicken quarters. (In general, breast pieces require less cooking time than leg pieces.) The advantage of this method is that it’s absolutely failproof the disadvantage is that the bird will lack the charred flavor you get cooking over direct flames.

This How to Grill Perfect Chicken Halves and Quarters recipe is from the The Barbecue Bible Cookbook. Download this Cookbook today.

More Recipes from the The Barbecue Bible Cookbook:
A Day with Najmieh Batmanglij: The Persian Grill
A Few Shark and Bake Tips
A Griller's Guide to the World's Chiles
A Marinating Tip
A New French Paradox
A Special Word About Ground Meat, Burgers, and Sausages
A Traditional Barbacoa
Aleppo Pepper
Approximate Times for Rotisserie Cooking
Barbecue Alley: The Mexican Grill
Barbecue Countdown
Barbecue from the Land of Morning Calm:
Basmati Rice Five Ways
Beef Grilling Chart *
Black Gold
Bombay Tikka "Taco"
Butterflying a Flank Steak
Cleaning and Oiling the Grill
Cooking Hamburgers
Cooking With a Blowtorch
Cooking with Wood
Fish Grilling Chart*
From Hamburg to Hoboken: A Brief History of the Hambuger
Grate Expectations: Some Tips on Grilling Vegetables
Grating Citrus Peel
Grilled Rujak
Grilling Indoors
Grinding It Out
Ground Meats Grilling Chart
Hawkers' Center
How to Butterfly Pork or Beef
How to Butterfly Short Ribs for Korean-Style Grilling
How to Cut Up a Chicken
How to Dry Fennel Stalks
How to Grill Perfect Chicken
How to Grill Perfect Chicken Halves and Quarters
How to Grill Perfect Fish Fillets
How to Grill Perfect Vegetables Every Time
How to Grill a Whole Grilled Fish
How to Grill the Perfect Fish
How to Grill the Perfect Whole Chiken
How to Grill the Perfect Whole Fish
How to Make Scallion Brushes
How to Peel and Devein Shrimp
How to Skin and Bone Fish Fillets
How to Spatchcock a Chicken or Game Hen
How to Stuff Sausages Like a Pro
How to Unskewer Shish Kebabs
How to grill a perfect steak
How to grill with out a grate
How to make ricw powder
How to prepare fresh coconut
How to rinse and dry Cilantro
How to rinse salad greens
How to toast seeds, nuts, and breadcrumbs
In pursuit of the best Tuscan Steak
Jerk: The Jamaican Barbecue
Lamb Grilling Chart
Larding the Beef
Making crosshatch grill marks
Matambre: A hunger-killer from South America
Mesclun Mix
Of Koftas, Lyulas, and Seekh
On trimming fat from meat
Pit Cooking
Pork Grilling Chart
Pork the Italian Way
Poultry Grilling Chart*
Shellfish Grilling Chart*
Stalking the Elusive Grilled Snail
Stuck on Sate: The Indonesian Grill
The Afghan Grill
The Argentinian Grill
The Birth of the Kettle
The Brazilian Grill
The Four Styles of American Barbecue
The Indian Grill
The Japanese Grill
The Macanese Grill
The Moroccan Grill
The Most Famous Fish House in Indonesia
The Splendid Resaurant Karim
The Tale of Three Barbecues: The Thai Grill
The Ten Commandments of Perfect Grilling
The Turkish Grill
The Vietnamese Grill
To Render Chicken Fat
Types of Charcoal
Uruguay's Mercado Del Puerto
Vegetable Grilling Chart*
What to look for in a Grill
When You’re Feeling Less Than Brave
When to cover the Grill
When to use a Drip Pan
Whole Fish, Tikin Xik Style

"I must say this is the best recipe software I have ever owned."

"Your DVO cookbook software saves me time and money!"
-Mary Ann

"Call it nutrition software, meal planning software, cooking software, recipe manager, or whatever you want. It is the software I use to stay healthy!"

"Your software is the best recipe organizer and menu planner out there!"

"Thank you so very much for creating such a wonderful cooking recipe program. I think this is the best recipe program there is!"

"I saw lots of recipe software for PC computers but I was having a hard time finding really good mac recipe software. I'm so glad I discovered Cook'n! It's so nice to have all my recipes in a computer recipe organizer. Cook'n has saved me so much time with meal planning and the recipe nutrition calculator is amazing!!!

My favorite is the Cook'n Recipe App.