Slideshow: 30 Grilled Chicken Recipes for Memorial Day

Grilled Butterflied Chicken
Grilled Butterflied Chicken

Grilling a whole chicken seems like a great idea—until you realize that the shape of a whole chicken makes it nearly impossible to cook evenly. The solution? Spatchcocking (butterflying) the bird gives it a much more grill-friendly shape.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

The Best Barbecue Chicken
The Best Barbecue Chicken

For a good barbecue chicken, start with a big bird. A 6 to 8 pound roaster will take 45 minutes to an hour on the grill, which is plenty of time to absorb the smoke from the fire and get that signature barbecue flavor.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

The Best Juicy Grilled Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
The Best Juicy Grilled Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts

Chicken breasts are arguably one of the most difficult of the standard meats to grill. It's all too common an occurrence to get dry, chewy, cardboardy breasts. The three keys to perfect grilled chicken are pounding them for even cooking, brining them to ensure juiciness, and cooking them over a moderate fire so that the exterior browns without drying out as soon as the center hits a perfect 160°F.

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[Photograph: Joshua Bousel]

Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Skewers with Pineapple and Teriyaki Sauce
Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Skewers with Pineapple and Teriyaki Sauce

Skinless boneless chicken breasts are dangerous on the grill—they can easily dry out. Wrapping them in bacon provides a fatty, porky shield against the heat, while pineapple and teriyaki sauce provide an added hit of flavor.

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[Photograph: Joshua Bousel]

Buffalo Chicken Sausages
Buffalo Chicken Sausages

Mixing ground chicken and buffalo sauce can lead to unevenly seasoned meat, but marinating cubes of chicken in Frank's RedHot before grinding ensures that these sausages are packing with buffalo flavor in every bite.

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[Photograph: Joshua Bousel]

Chicken Inasal
Chicken Inasal

Achiote oil gives this Filipino chicken dish its yellow color, while a marinade based on vinegar and calamansi juice (calamansi is a Filipino citrus fruit) give it a satisfying tang.

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[Photograph: Joshua Bousel]

Chicken Souvlaki with Tzatziki Sauce and Greek Salad
Chicken Souvlaki with Tzatziki Sauce and Greek Salad

A simple oregano vinaigrette does double duty in this recipe, serving as a marinade for the chicken and a dressing for a red onion, tomato, cucumber, kalamata olive, and feta salad. Of course, be sure not to use the marinade for the dressing—getting salmonella is a terrible way to celebrate Memorial Day.

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[Photograph: Yvonne Ruperti]

Chicken Spiedies (Lemon and Herb-Marinated Grilled Chicken Sandwiches)
Chicken Spiedies (Lemon and Herb-Marinated Grilled Chicken Sandwiches)

Spiedie is a regional dish for Binghampton, New York. Cubes of meat are marinated in a tangy mixture of oil, vinegar, lemon, and various herbs before hitting the grill. Serve them in a hoagie roll if you want to keep in traditional.

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[Photograph: Joshua Bousel]

Easy Grilled Cornish Hens and Zucchini with Greek Marinade, Tzatziki, and Greek Salad
Easy Grilled Cornish Hens and Zucchini with Greek Marinade, Tzatziki, and Greek Salad

You can grill a whole full-size chicken, but it's easier to deal with Cornish hens. These young chickens are the perfect size to feed one person, are super juicy, and cook up nice and evenly. While you've got the grill going, you might as well throw on some zucchini—add a Greek salad and pita and you've got a delicious meal just a little more impressive than the typical burgers and hot dogs.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Grilled Cajun Chicken Wings
Grilled Cajun Chicken Wings

Cajun seasoning—a mix of onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, thyme, and —makes everything better. Well, maybe not everything, but it's a great rub for grilled wings. One secret: a tablespoon of baking powder in the rubs will help the skin crisp up on the grill.

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[Photograph: Joshua Bousel]

Grilled Chicken and Sausage Jamabalaya
Grilled Chicken and Sausage Jamabalaya

This recipe starts with Creole-spiced chicken thighs, andouille, and tomatoes cooked on the grill. Then onion, green pepper, celery, tasso ham, chicken stock, rice, grilled tomatoes, and seasonings hang out in a pot before the meats are added back in. You can put the pot right on the grill, but there's no harm in using your stovetop.

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[Photograph: Joshua Bousel]

Grilled Chicken Niçoise Salad
Grilled Chicken Niçoise Salad

Contrary to popular belief (popular for me, at least), a cookout is allowed to have vegetables. This salad has lettuce, green beans, and cherry tomatoes. Don't worry, though, there's also grilled bone-in, skin-on chicken involved.

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[Photograph: Jennifer Olvera]

Grilled Cornish Hens with Lemon and Rosemary
Grilled Cornish Hens with Lemon and Rosemary

Cornish hens are extremely tender, but lack the flavor of older chickens. A lemon and rosemary rub makes for a simple way to spice the birds up. Because Cornish hens have such a high surface area to volume ratio, even a quick rub will make each bite burst with flavor.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Grilled Hoisin Glazed Chicken Wings
Grilled Hoisin Glazed Chicken Wings

Start these wings over indirect heat to cook them through, then brush them with a mixture of soy sauce, honey, and hoisin and move them to high heat to set their delicious, sweet-and-salty glaze.

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[Photograph: Joshua Bousel]

Grilled Tequila Chicken and Hatch Chile Quesadillas
Grilled Tequila Chicken and Hatch Chile Quesadillas

Hatch chilies are a seasonal, regional obsession. A true believer might tell you that nothing compares, but if you don't have access to them we won't fault you for substituting Anaheims or Poblanos in these grilled quesadillas.

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[Photograph: Marvin Gapultos]

Mark Bittman's Grilled Mediterranean Chicken Thighs
Mark Bittman's Grilled Mediterranean Chicken Thighs

Grilling chicken is all about technique. Get a two zone fire going, starting on the cooler side to gently cook the meat through, then move to the hotter side to crisp it up. Cooking this way you end up with chicken that is juicy and tender, but also crisped up nicely.

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[Photograph: Blake Royer]

Peruvian Style Grilled Chicken With Green Sauce
Peruvian Style Grilled Chicken With Green Sauce

The basics of this recipe are simple: butterflied chicken with a vinegar and spice rub gets slow-cooked on the grill, followed by a quick stay directly over the coals to crisp the skin. It comes out tender and juicy and goes perfectly with a simple spicy and cream sauce made with jalapeños and aji amarillo peppers.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Planked Chicken Quarters with Lemon and Herb
Planked Chicken Quarters with Lemon and Herb

Grills are great for getting high heat to crisp up meat, but more gentle cooking can be tricky. Here, putting the chicken on a plank after the initial sear lets it slowly come to temperature, keeping it tender.

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[Photograph: Joshua Bousel]

Rotisserie Chicken
Rotisserie Chicken

A rotisserie is a pretty easy way to cook chicken, but a couple steps are key. A dry brine concentrates the flavor of the meat, while basting the bird with butter makes it extra juicy.

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[Photograph: Joshua Bousel]

Spicy Cumin Wings
Spicy Cumin Wings

These wings pack enough heat to give your lips a little tingle, but not so much that it masks the cumin centerpiece. The sauce has a great salty and sour depth of flavor, bold enough to seem fitting for a wing.

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[Photograph: Joshua Bousel]

Sweet and Spicy Grilled Chicken Sandwiches
Sweet and Spicy Grilled Chicken Sandwiches

This recipe has a lot of ingredients and steps, but it's worth it. First, the brine ensures the breasts are moist, then a barbecue glaze gives them their sweet and spicy character. Sugar and chili-rubbed bacon is the icing on the cake, adding a bit of crispness and saltiness.

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[Photograph: Joshua Bousel]

The Best Chicken Tikka Masala
The Best Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken Tikka Masala might not be the first dish you think of for a Memorial Day cookout, but it makes sense. Most of us don't have tandoor ovens in our homes, so a grill is the next best way to get the high heat necessary to properly char the meat.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Jerk Chicken
Jerk Chicken

Scotch bonnet peppers, one of the key ingredients in jerk chicken, are no joke. Wash your hands, knife, and cutting board thoroughly after handling, and even consider wearing latex gloves. It might sound intimidating, but it's worth it.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]