The easiest way to wreck simple grilled chicken is to burn it up. The fat dripping from the chicken skin can really kick up the flames and turn your bird black and bitter before the meat is fully cooked to a safe temperature.
The simple, recipe-free method to solve this problem is to grill the chicken on the grill’s upper shelf. We just call it shelf chicken. Sitting up on the grill’s shelf and several inches further away from the burners below your chicken is protected from any flare-ups caused by dripping fat. And that’s not all.
Grilling chicken on the shelf creates a spectacular crisp skin. Up on the shelf the skin is closer to the very hot grill cover which radiates heat back on the skin. This will not burn the skin (or the meat). The trick is to keep the grill cover cracked open a couple inches to allow moisture (and smoke) to escape the cooking chamber. The hot, dry grill interior creates a crisp, golden skin while the meat cooks through to doneness.
How to Make Shelf Chicken: Put the chicken on the shelf of a hot grill, slightly crack open the grill cover, set your timer for 30 minutes, and go make a salad.
- Get the gas grill smoking hot.
- Season the chicken with Kosher salt and black pepper. Use whatever chicken cuts you like, but use chicken with skin. We like whole birds cut in half as the breast meat tends to be plenty moist when cooked still attached to the leg and thigh section.
- Place the chicken pieces on the grill’s upper shelf.
- Close the lid but crack it open a few inches with a brick, stone, or the little metal flip-up lid stop if your gill includes one (Broilmaster, for example).
- Go do something else like make a salad, a side, or a drink.
- In about 30 to 40 minutes you’ll have golden crisp skin and juicy, tender chicken.
- Use an instant read meat thermometer to check for doneness. You’ll want 185°F degrees in the dark meat and a minimum of 160°F in the breast.
Turkey Wings on the shelf also a great grill shelf option. Great for kids and guy’s night. Plenty of crust and why wait for Thanksgiving?