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11/02/2011 11:56 am ET | Updated Aug 31, 2012

How To Grill Chicken

Watch this video to learn how to properly grill a piece of chicken. Chef David Kamen of The Culinary Institute of America prepares chicken breasts with a dry rub, and then cleans and preheats his grill. Using the 10-4-2-8 method, he creates perfect cross-hatch grill marks on the chicken, then checks for doneness using a digital instant-read thermometer. Kamen also reminds readers to practice safety when handling raw poultry.

For 60 years, The Culinary Institute of America has been setting the standard for excellence in professional culinary education. In this video series, experienced chefs and educators show you how to tackle essential cooking techniques.

Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Chef Dave Kamen from the Culinary Institute of America, and I'm going to show you this kitchen basic: how to grill chicken.

Here we have a couple of chicken breasts that have been sitting on the dry rub for about thirty minutes under refrigeration. That's really important when it comes to poultry; there are always concerns about salmonella and other bacterial contamination when we're dealing with poultry, so we want to make sure we practice a few kitchen safety basics. First of all, make sure you keep things real, real cold. Second, we want to try to avoid cross-contamination, so make sure you're washing your hands and using clean equipment, and be sure to never touch cooked food to raw food, or vice versa, when you're working with poultry.

The first step in the grilling process will be to set up our grill. We've already got our grill nice and preheated over here. We'll go in here with a brush, and give it a gentle brush-down on the rods. Make sure the rods are nice and clean. Then we have our oily towel here and we'll just wipe the rods, lubricate those rods nicely, to make sure our chicken doesn't stick. We want to be especially careful about that when we grill chicken, which is a very lean product and can be a little more prone to stickage on the grill.

We'll be grilling our chicken over direct heat, which means you put it directly over the flame, and we'll use what's called the ten-two-four-eight method. That means we'll lay our chicken breast down there angled at ten o'clock on the rods of the grill, and after a few moments we'll rotate it around so it's pointing toward two o'clock, and that'll give it a nice crosshatch mark on one side. Then a few minutes later we'll flip it, so it points down to four o'clock, then we'll rotate it back around to eight o'clock - and we'll have really nice grill marks on both sides. If you look at the side of the chicken, you can see the color change rising up the side as it's becoming a little bit more done. We're ready to go ahead and rotate our chicken around to the two o'clock stage, so we'll pick it up carefully - you can see a nice mark happening on that one side there - and we'll lay it down on the same side so it's pointing to two o'clock. Same thing on the other one, we've got a nice little mark happening, and we'll lay this one down at two o'clock also. We'll give this probably another two or three minutes on this one side.

Now you can see that chicken is starting to turn little more opaque, a little bit white around the edges. That's a good indication that it's time for us to turn it to the other side. I'll pick it up and flip it right over so it's pointing down at four o'clock, and you can see our nice grill marks, it's nice and brown on the outside. You can also see our dry rub starting to crisp up on there, which will give us some really nice flavor. We'll turn it one more time down to eight o'clock.

Chicken needs to be cooked until it's well done - and that's about a temperature of 165 degrees, so we'll check our chicken. Give it a nice touch over there and you can feel we're just about getting to well done, so we'll go ahead and verify with our thermometer. We're using a digital instant-read thermometer, and we'll insert it into the thickest part of the chicken to be sure we get a good reading.

Our chicken is at the proper temperature, it's nice and well done, it looks great: we've got some wonderful grill marks on there. The dry rub's going to make this taste really wonderful. Now we're ready to enjoy our chicken.