How to Precook Chicken for the Barbecue

Grilled chicken can take considerably longer than red meat dishes like burgers and steaks. You may not always have time to stand around the grill and wait while thick slabs of chicken slowly cook all the way through, and you don't have to. By either oven roasting or microwaving your chicken ahead of time, you can give it a head start on cooking and simply finish it off on the grill, so you can get food on your plate faster.

Microwave It

Step 1

Place your raw chicken in a microwaveable dish, and put it in the microwave uncovered.

Step 2

Microwave the chicken on high for about 4 or 5 minutes per pound of meat on the plate. When it's ready to be transferred to the grill, it will start to turn white on the outside. You can transfer it as soon as the outside shows signs of cooking, but the longer you leave it in the microwave, the less time it will take to grill.

Step 3

Remove your chicken from the microwave and immediately start cooking it on the hot grill. To avoid scorching the skin, spray the grill with oil or cooking spray before you light it. Cook the chicken at medium-low to medium heat until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit when tested with a meat thermometer. The amount of time that this will take depends on how long you let the meat precook in the microwave.

Roast It

Step 1

Preheat your oven to 425 F, and place your raw chicken in a lightly oiled roasting pan or dish.

Step 2

Cover the top of the pan or dish in aluminum foil, and place it in the oven.

Step 3

Cook the chicken in the oven for at least 1 hour, flipping it over after 30 minutes. To determine if it's done, cut into the thickest part of the meat with a knife. If it leaks clear juices, the chicken is ready for the grill.

Step 4

Cook your chicken on the grill on medium-low to medium heat for 5 to 10 minutes, flipping it at least once. To avoid scorching the skin, spray the grill with oil or cooking spray before you light it. Cook the chicken until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 F.


If you want to baste your chicken in barbecue sauce or another glaze, make this the last thing you do before removing your chicken from the grill. Saucing your chicken too early burns the glaze.

The more chicken you load into your microwave or oven, the longer it will take to cook. Chicken with bones may take longer, as well, so give yourself more time than you need in case it cooks more slowly that you expect.

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