An Expert Answers: How Do I Time My Grilling So Nothing Burns?
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Becoming a grilling expert takes time (and lots of practice!), so we brought in someone who says himself he has "years of experience" grilling chicken, sausage, veggies and more.
And speaking of burning, that's definitely something you want to avoid on BBQ night. So once you've got the prep down, how do you know what order to cook different kinds of meat and poultry in so they're all done around the same time?
"Generally speaking, things that are fattier take a little bit more time, and they also have a larger window of success to hang out near the grill," Richard says. "Things that are super lean, you want to cook those last — like chicken breasts."
Here are a few more helpful hints on timing when it comes to grilling meat and poultry.
The minimum internal temperature recommendation for ground meat is 160 °F.
Heat your grill to medium (about 350 °F). Use direct heat and cook sausage for 18-22 minutes, turning occasionally, to reach an internal temperature of 160 °F.
Because sausage has a lot of fat, you can cook early and it can rest, Richard says.
The minimum internal temperature recommendation for poultry is 165 °F. Heat your grill to medium (about 350 °F). Use direct heat and let all poultry rest for 15 minutes off the grill before serving.
Chicken thighs: Boneless, skinless chicken thighs should be cooked for 8-12 minutes total, turning occasionally, to reach an internal temperature of 165 °F – 180 °F.
Chicken thighs usually take a little bit of time to cook, according to Richard, so you want to put them on the grill early.
Chicken breasts: Boneless, skinless chicken breasts should be cooked about 6 minutes per side, turning once, to reach an internal temperature of 165 °F – 170 °F.
Breasts cook quickly, but you don't want them to overcook and dry out, Richard says. Definitely put these on closer to the end.
Before you fire up the grill, make sure you read these tips from a master butcher and check out our guide on everything you need to know about grilling with charcoal vs. gas.