How Long Does It Take to Barbecue Chicken?

Time duration to barbecue chicken.

The chicken meat is known to be flavorful and juicy, and if you are starving to death, the smell of a grilled chicken would surely make you salivate a bit. Yet, the chicken meat with its different parts is also one of the most challenging meats to grill to perfection. So, if it is your first time grilling a chicken, it will help to learn the proper way of doing it. It will also help to know how long it would take to grill chicken and its different parts. 

Many have tried grilling chicken and ended up with either half-grilled or over-grilled chicken. If you’re one of these people who happen to find it hard to grill perfectly, you might as well read on through this article and learn the perfect duration for grilling chicken.

2 Major Factors to Consider When Barbecue Chicken

Chefs and other experts in grilling would readily concur as to how long it would take to grill a chicken. They would all say that you need to consider two things to get the right time for grilling chicken. First, they would tell you that you need to consider the size and weight of the chicken piece. Second, they would advise you to consider the grill’s temperature. 

Of course, the more bones a chicken piece has, the longer it would take to grill. Take, for example, the thigh part and the drumstick. These two chicken parts got the most prominent bones. Thus, these two parts would take longer to grill than the other parts of the chicken. On the other hand, the temperature will factor in how long it would take to grill a chicken perfectly. It will help remember that the lower the temperature, the longer it would take to grill a chicken.

Chicken, when perfectly grilled, is one of the most satisfying food you can ever have in this life. It tastes better when grilled. So, if you are grilling a chicken, and you keep on looking on your timer while asking yourself whether it’s time to remove the chicken from the grill, then you need to read on.

Average Grilling Time for Different Chicken Cuts

As mentioned above, the chicken has different parts, and some parts have larger bones than others. So, here is a rundown of the average grilling time for every piece of chicken:

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Chicken Breast, Skinless, and Boneless. 

If you are grilling chicken breasts and other boneless or skinless parts of the chicken, with weights ranging from 6 to 8 ounces, you should let these parts stay on the grill for eight to twelve minutes over direct heat (medium) of around 350° F. 

Chicken Breast, bone-in 

If you are grilling chicken breast (bone-in) of around 10 to 12 ounces, you can leave it on the grill for 30 to 40 minutes over direct heat (medium) of 350° F. However, if you are grilling small chicken thighs and chicken breast, you can grill for 6 to 8 minutes (each side). Big chicken breasts, of course, will require more time to cook. 

So, it will help to check the chicken before you serve them to ensure that it is perfectly grilled. You can check it by making a cut onto the meat’s thickest part to ensure that no pink meat remains in the middle. 

Average Grilling Time in Details

Depending on which chicken part you grill, you should cook from five to fifteen minutes with temperatures shown below. Start with indirect heat for bone-in parts and skin-on pieces. Afterward, you can move the chicken pieces to the direct heat and let them cook for five to seven minutes to attain perfect crispiness:

  • Bone-in leg or thigh should be cooked between thirty to forty minutes over medium indirect heat of 350° F.
  • Thigh skinless and boneless parts (four ounces) should be grilled for eight to ten minutes over high direct heat of 450 – 650° F. 
  • Chicken wings (2 to 3 ounces) should be grilled for eighteen to twenty minutes over medium direct heat of 350° F.
  • Whole Chicken (3-1/2 lbs. to 4-1/2 lbs. should be grilled for 1-1/2 to 2 hours over medium indirect heat of 350° F.  

Frequently Asked Questions About Grilling Chicken

Aside from knowing the average time for grilling the different parts of chicken to attain perfect grilling, it will also help to know the following FAQs about chicken grilling, for these questions might be the questions too in your mind:

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How Long Would It Take to Grill a Whole Chicken?

The usual time range when grilling a whole chicken is from 105 minutes to 150 minutes. Of course, some factors come into play as to how long it would take to grill an entire chicken well. These factors include the efficiency of your grill, the whole chicken’s starting temperature, and the ambient temperature

The preferred temperature for grilling whole chicken is between 200-300°F. Grilling a whole chicken is a slow and lengthy process. It may take between 1-1/2 hours to 2 hours to perfectly grill a chicken. Moreover, the time depends on how large the size of the chicken is. It also depends on how well you maintain the temperature of your grill. 

You can reduce the grilling time, however, if you spatchcock your chicken. By spatchcocking your chicken, you reduce the overall thickness of any part of your chicken, allowing heat to get in more easily on every part. You can reduce your cooking time, therefore, by as much as forty-five minutes to an hour. 

It will be good to note that the thermometer should tell you whether the grilling is over, not the clock. Thus, it will be best to use a reliable thermometer to ensure that every chicken part is well cooked.

How Would You Allow the Chicken to Rest Before You Grill, and How Long to Let It Rest After Grilling?

You let the chicken meat rest to allow the meat to adjust to room temperature before cooking it. This resting process prevents the meat from drying out during the grilling or cooking process. Nevertheless, it will be best to let the meat rest before and after grilling.

It will not be best to put a cold chicken piece on the grill. If you do so, the outside of the meat will dry out quicker than the inside of the meat. However, if you let the meat dry out for 15 minutes, you will see that the meat cooks evenly, and very few juices will leak out of the meat while cooking. 

Once done, you can remove from the grill the chicken meat and place it on a plate. It will finish cooking while resting on the plate. The plate will be the mandatory last stop before you eat or serve the chicken. Moreover, it will be good to let the chicken rest for 5 to 10 minutes to prevent the spilling out of juices.

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Do the Thickness and Weight of the Chicken Make a Difference in the Cooking Duration?

Suppose you are cooking a whole chicken, its size matters in the duration of cooking. The heavier and larger the chicken, the longer it will take to grill. A rough estimate is between eighteen to twenty-five minutes per pound. 

The thing is, the heat should penetrate the skin, meat, and bone before you can say that the chicken is perfectly grilled. If the meat is thicker, it will take the heat longer to penetrate the chicken meat.

How Can You Tell If a BBQ Chicken is Done?

The best way to check whether a BBQ chicken is done is by using a meat thermometer. You can use the meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the chicken. The internal temperature should be 165°F. Moreover, the juice coming out should not be pink but running clear. When done, you should remove the BBQ chicken and allow it to rest for a few minutes before you serve it.


If you keep on getting over-grilled chicken breasts or not perfectly grilled chicken pieces when you grill chicken, I think it is time to rethink your grilling style and follow the different tips mentioned above. If you do so, you will indeed begin to improve your grilling of chicken. 

Of course, it is embarrassing if you happen to serve half-cooked or overcooked chicken to your guests. So, the next time you grill chicken for your guests and yourself, it will be best to be wary of the right time for grilling the chicken. Ensure you have an internal meat thermometer that can tell you whether the chicken you’re grilling is already done.

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Brisket on the table.

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