There are a few ways to tell when grilled chicken is done. Checking the temperature or if you do not have a thermometer you can get the juices and make sure that they are running clear.
It important to make sure that your grilled chicken is fully cooked before serving it to reduce any risk of foodborne illness.
You also don’t want to overcook grilled chicken, because nobody likes dry chicken.
You can tell when grilled chicken is done by checking the temperature and making sure that it is at least 165°F.
You can also tell by piercing the chicken and putting a little bit of pressure on it checking to see if the juices are running clear. If there is any pink color to it then it is not done yet.
4 ways to tell if your grilled chicken is done
Unlike beef, you do not want to eat chicken that is anything but well done. All chicken whether it is grilled, baked, braised, or however it is prepared, the chicken should always be cooked to 165°F.
Chicken can carry all kinds of bacteria such as E.coli or salmonella to name a couple of the biggest ones. These are foodborne illnesses that can make you very sick and can cause food poisoning.
Don’t forget to check out my grilled chicken sandwich recipe.
1. Checking the temperature
Using a food thermometer is the best way to check your grilled chicken to make sure that it is fully cooked. The length of time you cook your chickens will defer by the size, thickness, or if it is bone-in or not.
Once you suspect that your grilled chicken is close to done, stick your thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken and only go halfway in.
You want to check the middle of the chicken and make sure the temperature is at least 160°F before you pull it from the grill. Let it rest for 5-10 minutes and the temperature will get you up to the 165°F mark.
2. Clear juices
If you do not have a meat thermometer you can check your grilled chicken for wellness by piercing the chicken with a fork or knife and then putting a little pressure on it to make sure the juices are clear.
Just make a small hole so that if it isn’t done cooking you don’t end up drying out your chicken. Just a small poke will reveal the juices.
If you push down and see even a hint of pink juices then your chicken is not ready yet. You are looking for clear juices.
3. Small incision
If your chicken looks cooked on the outside and you checked the juices and they seem to be clear, you can also make a small cut of the top of the thickest part and down into the middle of the chicken so you can see if the meat in the center is white or pink.
You want your grilled chicken to be white in the middle. White meat is an indicator that your chicken is cooked and you are good to serve it.
I recommend trying the piercing trick before you cut into your chicken though. I say this because if your chicken still needs more time to cook, the cut will dry out the chicken so this is only to be done when you are pretty sure it is done.
4. Size matters
I do not recommend using this technique solely. If your chicken looks nice and brown on the outside but is the same size as when you put it on the grill then it isn’t cooked through.
Cooking chicken will be smaller than when it was in its raw state. It will be more firm and no longer shiny or glistening.
Protein molecules release the water in the chicken during the cooking process and break down which causes them to shrink down in size.
Be sure to cook your chicken thoroughly to avoid food poisoning or foodborne illness. Using the methods above will help ensure that you have cooked your grilled chicken well done.
This will give you the confidence at your next backyard BBQ that you are serving your guests food that wont get them sick and you can relax and enjoy your company instead of worry.