Not wanting to wait around forever for your chicken to cook? Then precooking your chicken is what you need to do!
Chicken does take quite a bit longer to cook on the grill compared to red meat and fish, and it is also one of the foods that you simply cannot undercook.
To solve both these problems, you should precook your chicken before grilling it.
How do you precook chicken?
You can precook chicken three different ways, and which you choose will depend on time constraints, and the method you prefer.
You can precook the chicken in the oven, you can parboil it, or par-cook it quickly in the microwave.
Read on for a complete guide on precooking chicken before grilling, for everything you need to know to have perfectly grilled chicken each time!
Do You Need to Precook Chicken?
You do not absolutely have to precook chicken before grilling it, as with enough time on the grill, the chicken will cook through, but if you’re in a hurry than it is probably best if you do precook chicken.
By precooking chicken, it will not only need less time on the grill, but it will cook evenly too. It also lessens the risk of undercooking the chicken.
It is a good idea to precook chicken if you have quite a few pieces to cook on the grill too, as it really goes a long way at cutting down grilling time, and you don’t have to check the pieces as often to make sure that they are fully cooked through.
Precooking Chicken in the Oven
Precooking chicken in the oven is one of the best methods to use if you need to precook quite a few pieces of chicken, as you can fit them onto one or two baking sheets and place them all in the oven together.
You will have to preheat the oven first, but otherwise, it does not take too long to precook chicken in the oven, and it cooks them evenly throughout.
Here is how to do it:
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the chicken onto a lightly oiled baking tray, leaving a little bit of space between the pieces and not overcrowding the baking tray.
Create a foil tent over the chicken by covering the chicken and the baking tray with aluminum foil, and crimping the foil down on the sides.
This helps to keep the chicken moist as it cooks in the oven.
Place the chicken in the oven, and allow it to cook for between 20 and 30 minutes.
Check it after 20 minutes to make sure that it is cooked through enough to place it on the grill to finish off for a few minutes.
It is okay if it is still slightly pink inside, but make sure that it is mostly cooked through.
Season the chicken pieces with your spices of choice, and cook on the grill for between 5 and 10 minutes on either side, making sure it is fully cooked through, or that it reaches 165 degrees internally.
Precooking Chicken in the Microwave
If you don’t have too much chicken to precook and too much time to spare, then precooking chicken in the microwave is your best option.
It is simple to do and will have your chicken precooked and ready to grill in next to no time.
Place the chicken pieces on a microwave-safe plate, making sure to not overload the plate, and to not place the chicken pieces on top of one another.
They should be in a single layer with a small amount of space between them.
Put the chicken in the microwave, and microwave on high for about 4 minutes for boneless chicken, and around 5 minutes for bone-in chicken.
The chicken should be white on the outside and mostly cooked throughout after this time.
The longer you leave it in the microwave, the less time it will need to be on the grill, so it is up to you how cooked the chicken gets in the microwave.
Once the chicken has precooked enough, remove it from the microwave plate and then place it onto the grill.
Precooking Chicken By Parboiling
Parboiling the chicken takes a little more effort, but it is a great way to keep the chicken moist and tender before grilling so that it does not dry out too much and become tough or rubbery.
You can also flavor the chicken well when parboiling it, which goes a long way to enhance the flavor once it has been grilled.
Place the chicken pieces into a heavy-bottomed stockpot. You can add quite a few pieces of chicken in, but make sure not to fill the pot with chicken pieces.
Pour enough chicken stock or water to cover the chicken pieces.
You can add salt to the water, but do not add too much if you are using chicken stock, as it is usually salted already.
You can also add in some bay leaves, peppercorns, and any other spices.
Set the stove to medium-high heat, and let the water or stock come to a boil.
Once the water or stock has come to a boil, turn it down to a simmer, and then remove the chicken from the liquid. Pat it down with paper towels and prepare for grilling.
You can leave the chicken to parboil for shorter or longer depending on how cooked you want it to be.
This is a quick guideline on how long to parboil various types of chicken for:
- Whole chicken – Parboil for between 30 to 40 minutes
- Chicken thighs and drumsticks – Parboil for between 10 to 12 minutes
- Chicken breasts – Parboil for between 10 to 15 minutes
- Chicken wings – Parboil for between 12 to 15 minutes
Grilling Precooked Chicken
When you precook chicken before grilling it, it is best to avoid basting it or spicing it too much until it is time to grill it.
This is especially true for basting chicken pieces, which you should save towards the end of grilling, as placing a sauce or glaze on the chicken too early could lead to the glaze burning, and therefore your chicken having a burnt taste and most of the glaze being wasted.
Just keep in mind that there is no set rule when it comes to how long chicken needs to be precooked, as you can always precook it for less and grill it for longer, or precook it for longer and grill it for less.
Should You Let Chicken Come to Room Temperature Before Grilling?
After precooking your chicken, you can place it directly onto the grill while it is still hot, to keep the cooking process going and to avoid any sudden changes in temperature.
However, if time doesn’t allow for it and you need to precook the chicken a few hours before grilling, then you would need to let it come to room temperature before grilling.
Remove the precooked chicken from the fridge and leave it at room temperature for 30 minutes before grilling.
Remember to never leave the chicken out at room temperature for longer than two hours, as this increases the chance of bacteria growth, especially if the chicken has already been precooked, refrigerated, and is being left out at room temperature before grilling.
Precooking Chicken Before Grilling
We always recommend precooking chicken before grilling, as it not only cuts down the amount of time you spend standing around the grill waiting for bone-in chicken thighs to cook, but it is also the best way to ensure that your chicken is cooked through properly.
There are three different ways that you can precook chicken before grilling.
You can precook large portions of chicken in the oven with a foil tent, you can quickly precook smaller portions of chicken in the microwave, or you can parboil chicken pieces and add to their flavor on the stove.
How much you precook your chicken will be up to you, but it is a good idea to cook it till almost done. The less time you spend precooking the chicken, the more time it will need to be cooked on the grill.
The chicken is ready and safe to eat once it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Is It Better to Boil or Bake Chicken Before Grilling It?
It is better to boil your chicken before grilling it rather than baking it, as boiling the chicken helps to keep it juicy and tender, and you can also flavor the chicken by adding herbs and spices to the stock it is boiled in.
Should I Brush the Chicken With Oil Before Grilling?
It is a good idea to brush the chicken with oil before grilling as it helps to prevent the chicken from sticking to the grill, and it creates a nice crisp on the outside of the chicken too.