Why You Shouldn't Grill Thick Cuts Of Chicken

Though there are a million and a half ways to cook a chicken, grilling has to be one of the best options. All of the major chicken cuts can be grilled. Even whole chickens can turn out great on the grill if you cook them the right way. However, there is a certain type of chicken cut that you want to avoid when it comes to grilling. It's not so much to do with the cut itself, but its thickness. Thick cuts of chicken are simply not great for grilling. 

The problem with a thick piece of chicken is a matter of timing. Large chicken breasts tend to be tapered so that one end is thin, while the other end is bulbous and thick. Not only could it take a very long time to grill a chicken breast this large, but during that time, you will have a burnt exterior, an overcooked thin end, and an undercooked center. Not ideal. 

So, what's to be done? If you can't cook thicker cuts of chicken on the grill, doesn't that reduce your options? Not as much as you might think, actually. There are a few things to keep in mind when grilling, plus a few chicken grilling tricks you can pull out of your sleeve, that will help you get great results. 

How to make a thick cut of chicken thinner

Without question, the best cuts of chicken to put on the grill are those that have two things going for them: skin and bone. Bone-in chicken thighs and legs are amazing on the grill specifically for this reason. The bone helps keep the inner meat moist and tender, while the skin protects the meat from the heat of the grill. However, if you prefer to grill chicken breasts, there are a couple of ways that you can make the thicker ones thinner.

One method involves a favorite tool of many home chefs: the meat mallet. Taking the mallet to thick chicken breasts to pound them out will make your chicken breasts an even thickness, and more tender, too. This will help them grill more evenly as there is no thicker section the heat needs time to penetrate. You could also simply cut a large breast in half, lengthwise, turning it into a thin cutlet. Butterflying, the process by which you open up the chicken breast like butterfly wings, works well too. 

So, while grilling thicker cuts of chicken isn't ideal, sometimes you have no option on what you can buy. Grocery stores often have a limited selection of chicken cuts, and they don't always cater to the griller's needs. Fortunately, with these tricks in mind, you can make those thick cuts thin and get some great grilled chicken as a result.