Barbecued chicken

How frequently should you flip barbecue chicken for a crispy, sticky crust?

Whether you’re prepping for a poolside hangout or simply in the mood for barbecue, you can’t go wrong with chicken. Recipes range from the classic, like this oven-baked barbecue chicken, to the ultra-flavorful á la bourbon-chile barbecue chicken. No matter the specifics, however, barbecue chicken recipes generally aim for the same texture: crispy. Achieving this consistency is not a matter of luck or even ingredients but of technique. To enhance your chicken’s crispiness, make sure to flip it over on the barbecue more than once. It’s actually the second flip that may very well be the charm to a saucy, crispy meal.

Flipping your chicken while repeatedly adding sauce keeps all sides of the poultry on the heat, and allows the crust the time it needs to form. Generally, you’ll want to flip your chicken at least two times. However, you can certainly keep flipping as you see fit. As for the logistics of this process? Just make sure to keep your grill hot, your tongs ready, and your brush coated in sauce.

Flip barbecued chicken at least twice to maximize crispiness

Barbecued chicken

Barbecuing isn’t quite a science, but there are a few simple rules to help you flip — and crisp — your chicken to perfection. In particular, you’ll want to start out by preheating your grill for 10 to 15 minutes. Exact temperatures will range; some recipes suggest a sweet spot between 425 and 450 degrees Fahrenheit, while others raise the stakes up to 525 degrees for gas and electric grills. For barbecued chicken (not just grilled chicken) stay somewhere between medium and medium high heat; a minimum of 450 degrees may be the best place to start.

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Once you put your chicken on the grill, it’s time to start coating and flipping. Smear your chicken in barbecue sauce once it touches the grates, and flip it over after just a few minutes. Add more sauce to the other side. Take a few minutes, but make sure to flip it back over, adding sauce to the just-grilled side. 

While these two flips are the minimum, it’s best to keep flipping and adding sauce until your chicken’s interior reaches a temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. If you follow these steps, you’ll better control your meal’s texture, though you don’t have to make barbecued chicken on the barbecue for a delicious, saucy meal. The oven likewise does the job across recipes, with a high temperature key to crispiness.

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