Now that summer is just around the corner, more people are taking their grills out of storage and getting them ready for some serious barbecue. Grilling is a classic American pastime, especially during the days of social distancing. If there's one thing to look forward to, it’s a freshly barbecued dinner, along with tasty side dishes like potato salad or corn on the cob. Even though barbecuing chicken may appear straightforward, there are plenty of mistakes that people make. To ensure you aren’t wasting flavor, here are five things the best barbecue restaurants in NJ avoid - and you should, too.

Mistake #1. Guessing grill times.

It feels good to be a master on the grill, but busting out a thermometer doesn’t mean you’re a beginner. Chicken is delicate and can be easily under- or over-cooked. The best way to prevent this from happening is by using a thermometer. To do this, use a digital probe thermometer to check the thickest part of the meat. A safe temperature is around 165 degrees F - and it should stay at this temp for 2 minutes. Also, when you cut through the thickest part, you shouldn’t see any pink and the juices should run clear.

Mistake #2. Rushing chicken onto the grill.

It takes time for the grill to heat up, but the best BBQ restaurants in Staten Island and New Jersey don’t rush it. Instead, they wait until the flames die down and the charcoal glows red. If you put the chicken on the grill too soon, you run the risk of burning the outside and leaving the inside pink. Plus, the chicken will come out tasting much better once the charcoal is ready to do its job.

Mistake #3. Barbecuing chicken straight from the fridge.

An important tip to help your chicken cook more evenly is to barbecue it at room temperature. Many people leave the meat in the fridge until they’re ready to throw it on the grill. This is especially true for barbecue chicken because it doesn’t have to be marinated. However, for the best BBQ chicken, wait until the meat reaches room temperature before tossing it on the grill.

Mistake #4. Cooking the chicken over direct heat.

Another thing you’ll want to avoid is barbecuing the chicken on the hottest part of the grill the entire time. This is why chicken gets charred sometimes. Instead, sear your chicken over direct heat to give it a nice color and then move it to a cooler part of the grill. This way, it continues to cook without burning the outside.

Mistake #5. Poking and prodding the meat.

It’s normal to poke and prod the meat while you’re standing over the grill, but the less you touch it, the better. The juices inside the chicken are what make it tender and delicious, and you don’t want these to run out while you’re grilling. Once the barbecued chicken starts getting color, you can flip over the meat and continue cooking.

To get the perfect barbecued chicken, you must be patient. It takes time for the grill to heat up and cook the chicken evenly. As long as you leave yourself enough time and follow the tips above, you should have no problem grilling your own healthy barbecue chicken just like the best chicken restaurants do!

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