Nina’s Tips & Techniques Grillmaster Series: Bone-in Chicken

zaatar chicken

Why do people like bone-in chicken? I find it so hard to cook and it seems to take longer than boneless.
Cooking any meat or poultry with a bone in, does add to the cooking time, but it also enhances flavor and that’s why so many people like it! If you’re in a hurry, then boneless is going to be your best bet, but if you’ve got 10-15 extra minutes it’s worth it for next-level yumminess! Bones contain collagen and collagen adds both flavor (think bone broth) to the meat and keeps it juicier. Slowing down the cooking process by lowering the temperature on your grill will allow all that delicious and healthy collagen to come out of the bones and seep into the chicken, leaving you with really juicy meat. Get those beautiful grill marks on the skin by starting with the heat on your grill turned way up high, then lower the heat and close the lid to cook it slowly the rest of the way.

Got it! But whenever I try to cook chicken with the bone in it’s always raw/pink on the inside. How do I make sure it’s really done?
The meat right next to the bone will always cook last, but the meat around it often feels done. This CAN be misleading. My best suggestion to anyone learning to cook meat is to use an instant read thermometer. No matter what a recipe says, you can never use time as an indicator for doneness…think about it, no two pieces of chicken are the same. They could be thicker, thinner, heavier, one brand or another. And no two grills are alike, either—one might be charcoal, another gas, one tends to be super hot, different brands, etc. For these reasons, you should always rely on internal temperature to tell you when something is done. Insert your thermometer right next to the bone at the thickest point. Poultry should be cooked to 160 degrees F.

Recipe: Z’aatar Spiced Chicken Thighs with Cucumber Yogurt