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Old 06-04-2013, 02:48 PM   #1
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Any general rules for timing chicken breasts on the grill?

Obviously a thermometer is the best way to measure chicken doneness, but thought you find ladies and gents might have some general rules or knowledge about knowing when chicken breasts on the grill are done without the use of thermometers.

THANK GOODNESS grilling time is here again!

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Old 06-04-2013, 03:06 PM   #2
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Too many variables.

How big are the breasts, how cold are they, how hot is the fire, how close to the fire is the grill surface, what's the ambient temperature, is the lid open or closed, etc.

Why try to deal with all that when all you need to know is 161ºF and they're done.
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Old 06-04-2013, 03:30 PM   #3
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I am more looking for a general rule. Like with hamburger, I know that if I squeeze them a bit and the juice is clear, it is done. I know that is not the best practice and could end up with a dry burger, but it is an easy way to tell it is safe to eat without the temp if I am camping or something.

With steak, you can tell by touch. etc.
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Old 06-04-2013, 03:38 PM   #4
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It is the same for chicken breast, if juices run clear, chances are it's done.
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Old 06-04-2013, 03:45 PM   #5
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A thermometer is the best method, but if you don't have one on hand you can do the finger test. Press it with your finger and if it's firm and clear juices run out of it, it's probably done. If you want a little more assurance, stick the tip of a knife in it. If clear juices bubble up, it's done.

I'll admit I don't use a thermometer very often, and very rarely have undercooked meat. I can almost always tell it's done by how it looks and feels when prodded.
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Old 06-04-2013, 04:40 PM   #6
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Think about the other side of the coin for a moment. "The breasts feel firm and the juices run clear. I guess they're done. I'd better leave them on the grill for a bit longer to make sure, I don't want anyone to get sick."

Then you wonder why your chicken is dry.

What's your aversion to using a thermometer?
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Old 06-04-2013, 05:17 PM   #7
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No aversion, just not always available or perhaps I want to cook without a thermometer or perhaps I don't want all of the juices dripping out when I stab it with the thermometer. Heat management is important, but perhaps there are alternate ways to do things. Just because a person may want a steak medium rare, it does not mean I am going to shove a thermometer in there... I am going to go by the feels. I may have the inclination to do the same with chicken if I can do it well and safely.
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Old 06-04-2013, 05:29 PM   #8
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One tip that will help avoid dry chicken is brining it. I've found that brined chicken will remain juicy, even if you leave it on the grill past the point of being done temperature-wise.
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Old 06-04-2013, 05:30 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BenM View Post
No aversion, just not always available or perhaps I want to cook without a thermometer or perhaps I don't want all of the juices dripping out when I stab it with the thermometer. Heat management is important, but perhaps there are alternate ways to do things. Just because a person may want a steak medium rare, it does not mean I am going to shove a thermometer in there... I am going to go by the feels. I may have the inclination to do the same with chicken if I can do it well and safely.
I safely, and accurately cook chicken pieces, without a thermometer, on the grill all the time. But I can only do that because I've been using the same kind of grill for thirty + years, and have done it enough to know how long it takes, with the methods I use. When cooking a whole bird, I figure 10 minutes per pound, with a divided bed of charcoal, and all vents half open. I then check with the thermometer. It usually takes another 7 minutes or so.

I have used the 12 minutes per lb. rule with good success. it works with whole birds, even large turkeys. But I always double check with the meat thermometer.

For whole birds, use a thermometer that you can leave in the bird. Check it after 12 minutes per pound. You don't lose any juice from stabbing the meat.

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Old 06-04-2013, 05:41 PM   #10
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One tip that will help avoid dry chicken is brining it. I've found that brined chicken will remain juicy, even if you leave it on the grill past the point of being done temperature-wise.
+1. Good stuff.
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