Chicken can be troublesome meat to cook on a grill, especially for people who have only cooked hamburgers or steaks. Grilling chicken requires a little more finesse and knowledge regarding the best ways to cook the meat to get a good result. However, it is not complicated, only different. Grilling the chicken on foil or not is one such dilemma for new grillers. Is it right or wrong?
Is It Better to Grill Chicken on Foil?
There is no right or wrong answering the question of whether it is better to grill chicken on foil. It is a personal preference depending on how you like your chicken and the type of grill you have. There are pros and cons to each method. Try both methods to see which you prefer.
Learning to grill chicken is part of the challenge to becoming a grill master and increasing your skills in outside cooking.
Grilling chicken is not difficult, and there are many ways to do it, but chicken requires a little more care in the way it is cooked on a grill.
Does using foil for cooking chicken on a grill help you to do a better job?
Should You Grill Chicken On Foil?
The choice to cook your chicken on foil on the grill or not is a strategy that you will need to experiment with to determine which method you prefer.
Some of your decision-making in this regard will be due to personal preference, while other aspects of the choice can be related to the type of grill you have and the amount of cleanup you want to prevent.
One of the most significant aspects that will sway your choice is the type of grill you have; propane, pellet, or charcoal grill. We will also explore the advantages and disadvantages of cooking chicken on foil to give you the information to choose which route you prefer.
Should You Grill Chicken On Foil On A Gas Grill
Many people have a propane-fueled grill for their outdoor cooking, and some of the reasoning behind choosing a gas grill may influence your choice for cooking chicken on foil.
It is unnecessary to cook chicken on foil on a gas-fueled grill but the gas fire does not add additional flavor to the meat, and the foil makes cleanup easier.
Cooking chicken on a gas grill on foil will not, in any way, detract from the flavor of the meat.
If using a pellet grill, I would avoid using foil. I’ve had tremendous success cooking wings, breasts, spatchcock, and whole chickens on the Pit Boss without wrapping it in foil. That said, if you prefer cooking with foil, that’s fine too.
The flame from a gas grill does not produce any smoke, and there is no charcoal or wood to burn to enhance or add flavor to the meat being cooked. The flame is simply a heat source.
Chicken grilled with the skin on can produce a lot of fat drippings, which will drip onto the inside of your gas grill and require cleaning later.
Grilling the chicken on foil on top of the grill has the advantage of limiting the fat drippings and limiting the cleanup.
Since the fire itself does not impart flavor, you will not taste any difference in the chicken by cooking it on foil or wrapping it in foil of a gas grill.
Should You Grill Chicken On Foil On A Charcoal Grill?
If your grill of choice is a charcoal grill, there are different dynamics involved with grilling your meat, including chicken.
Charcoal grilling imparts flavor to the meat from the smoke produced. Cooking chicken on foil on this grill will insulate the meat from the smoke, reducing the flavor imparted. However, you can still choose to cook chicken on foil on this grill if you prefer the results from doing it this way.
The charcoal used in a charcoal grill is a heat source and produces smoke during its combustion, which flavors the food you cook. For this reason, some people prefer a charcoal grill over a gas grill.
Post-cooking cleanup is less of a problem on charcoal grills since the drippings fall into the fire and are burned up as the coals burn. Any residual dirt, along with the charcoal ash, is emptied out when the ash pan at the base of the grill is cleaned out.
Pros And Cons Of Grilling Chicken On Foil
Whether you grill using a charcoal grill or a gas grill, there are pros and cons to grilling your chicken on foil. Some of these advantages and disadvantages may sway your choice either way.
Pros For Grilling Chicken On Foil
There are several advantages to using foil under your chicken for grilling. Some of which affect the cooking time, the moisture in the meat, and some simply for convenience.
- No flare-ups from drippings. Chicken can be problematic and cause flare-ups on charcoal grills, especially when grilled with the skin on the meat. Placing a layer of foil under the chicken helps prevent this.
- Even distribution of heat. As the foil heats up, it distributes the heat evenly under the chicken, promoting even cooking.
- The chicken cooks in its own juices. The drippings from the chicken stay on the foil and help cook the chicken and crisp up the skin.
- Herbs and marinades stay on the chicken. Basting sauces, marinades, herbs, and spices all stay on the chicken or the foil, allowing the meat to absorb all the flavors.
- Grill vegetables with the chicken on the foil. Placing vegetables on the foil around the chicken will fry the veggies in the chicken fat and allow you to cook an entire meal on the grill.
- Grill cleanup is more straightforward. With all the juices, marinades, and basting sauce remaining on the foil, cleaning the grill after cooking is as simple as picking up the foil and throwing it away.
Cons For Grilling Chicken On Foil
There are several disadvantages to grilling chicken on foil, but these mostly pertain to grilling chicken on a charcoal grill or making mistakes when using the foil.
- Less smoke flavor on the chicken. Cooking the chicken on foil on a charcoal grill will limit the amount of smoke the meat is exposed to. This will reduce the smoky flavor imparted to the chicken. This may be a desirable outcome if you prefer the chicken this way or the recipe calls for the meat to be cooked in this fashion.
- The chicken can stick to the foil. If the foil gets too hot, the chicken can stick to the foil and rip when you try to turn the meat. This will negate the benefits of the foil. You can give the foil a coating of non-stick kitchen spray, which will help with this issue.
- The chicken skin may not get as crispy. The chicken skin may not crisp up as much when grilled on the foil compared to grilling without foil. This is not a concern if you like your chicken this way.
Grilling your chicken on foil is less of a should or shouldn’t question and more a case of what you prefer and a matter of convenience.
If you already have your preferences for grilling chicken with or without foil, then stick with what you like. We recommend trying both methods for people new to grilling or new to grilling chicken, irrespective of your grill type!