The 2 Step Process Andrew Zimmern Uses For The Best Grilled Chicken

With chicken gracing our plates more often than ever due to the rising prices of pork and beef (via Bloomberg) and the fact that it contains significantly less saturated fat (via American Heart Association), it's a no-brainer to want to learn how to prepare it properly. Chicken is a versatile meat that absorbs pretty much any flavor it's given and can be cooked many different ways. From roasting, grilling, boiling, and frying, to searing in a skillet or even spun on a rotisserie — and let's not forget how delicious it tastes when served chilled in chicken salad – the options are endless and eating it should never be boring.

Chicken is a huge protein source and a leaner option compared to other meats, but unfortunately, due to its low fat content, its natural juices release more easily when exposed to heat (per Your Meat Guide). When grilling, this results in all that essential flavor and moisture dripping down the grill grates and into the fire. 

There's something about beautiful grill marks, or that slight char that yields unbelievable flavor, but how do we hold in the moisture and get the best of both worlds? Emmy-winning TV personality and chef Andrew Zimmern has some great advice for perfectly grilled chicken.

Start on indirect heat, then move to direct heat

Lots of times, when in a pinch to get dinner on the table, high heat sounds like a good idea. In a recent video shared to his YouTube page, titled "Andrew Zimmern Cooks: Barbecue Chicken," Zimmern revealed his number-one tip for grilling chicken: "You'll notice, coals on one side, chicken on the other side, so that I can actually smoke my chicken, which is going to give me some of that traditional barbecue technique." This allows the chicken to cook at a lower temperature for longer, encapsulating those flavors from the grill without risking overcooking. But not so fast, this isn't it. Now that you've got the flavor working, it's time to achieve texture. You'll want to move the chicken over to direct heat for the last 10 minutes of cooking to give it color, those picture-perfect grill marks, and a slight crispiness on the surface.

In Zimmern's Grilled Deviled Chicken Thighs recipe, he uses the same technique. Cooking the chicken over indirect heat keeps it moist and adds an "unbeatable smoky grill flavor," Zimmern explains. And allowing it to cook over direct heat afterwards crisps its skin for "maximum texture contrast."