How to Grill Chicken (and Other Poultry)

The mild flavor of poultry makes it a versatile option for grilling. Whether you choose chicken, duck, turkey or game hen, marinating or using a dry rub will maximize flavor. Once you've selected your specific poultry and seasoning method, prep the grill and cook accordingly:

  • Thin pieces of poultry can be cooked over direct heat; larger pieces of chicken should be cooked over indirect heat.
  • Cook whole and butterflied poultry breast-side down.
  • Turning the pieces every 2-5 minutes and rotating pieces around the grill can help ensure even cooking.
  • Place a drip pan under whole chicken and turkey breast to catch juices.

Spicy Grilled Peach and Chicken Kabobs Recipe

Part of the Poultry Time
Whole Chicken 15-20 minutes per pound, about 1 3/4 hours
Butterflied Whole Chicken About 1 hour
Bone-in Breast, Leg & Thigh 12-15 minutes per side
Wing 2-3 minutes per side
Boneless Chicken Breast 4-6 minutes per side
Boneless Turkey Breast (up to 3 pounds) 1-1 1/2 hours
Boneless Turkey Breast (3-9 pounds) 2-3 hours
  • Allow turkey to rest 20 minutes before carving. Remember: smoked turkey may appear a little pink even when thoroughly cooked.
  • Always cook poultry thoroughly. Test for doneness with an instant read thermometer (it should reach 165°F). Insert the thermometer into the middle of the thickest part of the meat, taking care not to touch bone. Wait a couple of minutes before reading. For whole poultry, insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh.
  • Chicken that is cooked enough will feel springy when pressed. If you're uncertain, cut into the thickest part of one piece. The meat should still be juicy, but the juices should be clear, never reddish.