The best thing about summer is that the days get longer. We want to be outside as much as possible before the sun goes down and that means not being stuck in the kitchen cooking. In the hotter months, you want the meals to get simpler, but that doesn’t mean we want to skimp on flavor.
PERDUE® chicken is one of the easiest things to cook outdoors. Poultry lends itself to so many options when it comes to barbecuing. Chicken is available in your supermarket in parts and whole, and in easy to prepare items such as tenders and wings. It makes it easy to whip up a variety of recipes while enjoying the summer sun.
Whether you are making a weeknight dinner for the family or having a barbecue with friends, it’s easy to make a delicious chicken dinner outdoors. All you need is the right equipment, a great cooking surface, a little advance preparation, and the right technique. Then you can just sit back and enjoy your meal before the sun sets – and have leftovers for the next day.
Gather Your Equipment
The equipment needed to cook chicken outdoors can be stored next to your backyard barbecue or packed in a bag if you want to grill while camping.
You’ll want a pair of thongs or a fork to put your PERDUE® chicken on, then more thongs or a spatula to take it off when it’s done. You never want to mix something used for uncooked poultry with the fully cooked. The same goes for your sauce and basting brush. Basting is great to keep the chicken moist and flavorful, but don’t double dip that brush back in the sauce after it’s been on the raw chicken. Have another ready if you want to baste again.
Lastly, have a meat thermometer available to make sure your chicken is fully cooked.
Get Ready to Cook
You don’t need a fancy gas grill to cook PERDUE® chicken. Feel free to improvise. If you’re camping, you can light a fire, stick a grate over it (pick up an inexpensive one from the store or borrow one from your grill at home), and start cooking. Or, pick up a portable tabletop hibachi for portable cooking.
A gas grill will heat up fast. A charcoal grill is not only easy to find at your local department store, but you can experiment with different charcoal and change the flavor of your chicken. Just make sure you allow for at least 20 minutes for your coals to burn down so they are hot enough to cook on.
Whatever your cooking surface, be sure to clean it with a wire brush. Putting aluminum foil over the grill gives you easier cleanups and a softer chicken. If you like it crispier, place the meat right on the grates.
Prepare Your Chicken
Don’t spend all your time outside getting dinner ready. Summer grilling is about keeping it simple. Let the PERDUE® chicken soak overnight in a marinade or in a sealable plastic bag with a dry rub. Put together some kebabs and have them in a container ready to cook.
If you are short on time, or just want to have less to worry about when cooking outdoors, you can pre-cook your chicken on the stove, in the slow cooker, or in the oven. Then you’ll just need to put it on the grill to heat and crisp it. Just make sure it’s fully cooked (170˚ for white meat and 180˚ for dark) before you serve it.
Make it Just the Way You Like
Be creative when you cook outdoors. Cut your whole chicken up in small pieces or quarters, grab some PERDUE® tenderloins to make it quicker and easier. Or, for fast and super simple grilling, how about throwing chicken wings on the grill and basting them with some of your favorite barbecue sauce?
The beauty of barbecuing is that you can do it all in one place. Put some potatoes and vegetables inside aluminum foil and let them cook while your chicken does. If you like them crispy like your chicken, they can go right next to the poultry.
Enjoy the Leftovers
One of the most important things to remember when cooking chicken in the great outdoors is to make more than you need. Leftovers mean more time to play. Grilled PERDUE® chicken makes wonderful salads, sandwiches, and fajitas.
A little imagination goes a long way in the summer sun.
Marcia Frost has been compensated by Perdue for her advice and honest opinions in this article.