Chicken is a popular meat in most households, but many people have difficulty cooking chicken on their grill. This is because chicken requires its own methods for cooking that are not the same as for other meats. So if you are wondering if oiling your chicken before grilling will help improve the grilling process, you are about to find out!
Should You Oil Chicken Before Grilling?
Oiling chicken before grilling is not a requirement to cook this meat, but it offers some benefits for the process. Rubbing oil on the chicken will help the spices adhere to the meat, stop the chicken from sticking to the grill, crisp up the skin and keep the meat moist.
Grilling chicken is not difficult, but it does require different cooking techniques to other meats typically cooked on a grill. People have developed several strategies to improve chicken cooking methods on the grill, and oiling the chicken before grilling is one such method.
Why Oiling Chicken Before Grilling Makes A Difference
As mentioned, oiling chicken before grilling is not a requirement for cooking this meat. Instead, it is simply one method of cooking that holds certain benefits for grilling.
It is possible to cook chicken on the grill without coating it with oil first; you simply need to manage your temperature control by cooking the chicken in different heat zones at different times.
However, coating the chicken in oil adds some benefits which address several challenges associated with grilling chicken. These include the following.
Chicken Skin Sticking To The Grill
Chicken skin has a tendency to stick to the grill, particularly if the grill is very hot. While you can manage this by knowing the hot spots on the grill, the oil on the chicken can help minimize this issue.
When the chicken skin comes into contact with a hot grill, the skin can burn before the fat within the skin starts to render. The oil acts as a non-stick coating which prevents the skin from sticking to the grill until the fat in the skin renders and takes over the function.
Another tip that helps prevent this problem is to grease or season your grill. Before lighting your grill, give the cooking grates a light coating of a high smoke-point oil by wiping the oil on the grill with a paper towel.
When used in conjunction with oiling the chicken, this tip further reduces the potential for the chicken to stick to the grill.
Oil Keeps The Spices On The Meat
Chicken skin should not be damp when grilling; otherwise, the skin does not crisp up very well. This poses a problem for spicing the chicken with dry spices.
Dry spices placed on a dry chicken skin very often fall off the meat when you put it on the grill. A thin layer of oil applied to the chicken helps the dry spices remain on the chicken, serving their purpose of adding flavor.
Oil Helps To Crisp Up The Chicken Skin
The light coating of oil on the chicken skin heats up quickly and evenly, allowing the chicken skin to cook faster, releasing moisture and fat.
This helps to crisp up the skin quickly, but it only works well when searing the oil-covered skin on a hotter section of the grill for a few minutes before moving the chicken to a cooler section for the internal meat to cook at a slower rate.
Oil Helps To Retain Moisture In The Chicken Meat
The oil helps to cook the chicken skin quickly and crisp up. In addition, this crispy skin acts as a moisture barrier to keep the meat under the skin moist and tender.
The moisture in the meat heats up, and since it cannot escape through the skin, it serves to cook the meat evenly and thoroughly. After cooking, the same moisture remains in the meat, resulting in tender, juicy meat!
What Oil Should You Put On Chicken Before Grilling?
The type of cooking oil used to coat the chicken before grilling is essential, especially if you want the right results. The wrong oil could result in the chicken becoming a charred mess on your grill or impart an acrid, burnt taste to the chicken.
The best oil type to use for this application is high smoke-point oil. These oils have a higher heat tolerance and are less likely to burn on the chicken skin or ignite on the grill. High smoke-point oils that are a good choice include Canola oil, peanut oil, olive oil, and clarified butter, or ghee.
Beef tallow is another form of fat or oil that works well as a coating for the chicken before grilling. Infusing the oil of your choice with herbs is another method of adding flavor to the chicken on the grill.
Can You Use Butter On Chicken When Grilling?
Many people like to use butter in their cooking due to its nutty flavor imparted to the food. But, unfortunately, butter does not do well on the grill due to its relatively low smoke point.
Butter should not be used on chicken on the grill. The butter will burn too quickly, char the meat, and impart undesirable flavors to the chicken.
The smoke point of regular butter is only 302°F, which is too low for the heat of a grill. You can, however, get the same flavors as butter by using clarified butter or ghee, which has a smoke point of 482°F.
Clarified butter can be purchased, but it is also very easy to make at home for yourself if you are so inclined.
How Much Oil Should You Put On Chicken For Grilling?
The amount of oil used on the chicken is an important factor since too much oil will cause problems, and too little oil will not have the desired effect.
A light coating of high smoke-point oil over the surface of the chicken applied with a basting brush is all that is required. Do not dip the chicken in the oil. This excessive oil coating will cause flame flare-ups on the grill and burn the chicken.
You should only put a coating of oil on the chicken before placing it on the grill. It is not necessary to continually baste the chicken with oil throughout the cooking process. Constantly adding oil to the chicken can be counterproductive, resulting in the skin becoming oily and greasy.
There are many different methods and styles for cooking chicken on the grill. Some are intended to give a different flavor to the chicken, depending on your taste preferences, while others address the ease of cooking chicken on the grill.
Coating the chicken with oil before grilling covers both these aspects of cooking chicken on the grill. So why not give it a try! It may become your new favorite method for grilling chicken!
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