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A grilled chicken leg quarter sitting on a plate next to a grilled lemon half and potato salad.

Best Grilled Chicken

Course: Lunch / Dinner
Cuisine: American
Keyword: easy grilled chicken recipe, how to grill chicken
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Marinating: 8 hours
Total Time: 9 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 549kcal
Grilled Chicken can be a challenge to pull off. But this recipe will ensure you serve the juiciest, yet most crispy chicken ever. Be sure to allow time to let the chicken to rest in the marinade, preferably overnight.
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  • Gas or charcoal grill, set up for 2-zone cooking (indirect and direct heat)


  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter melted, 1 stick, plus extra for final basting
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup lemon juice fresh
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp oregano dried
  • 1 tsp rosemary dried
  • 1 tsp thyme dried
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 4 chicken leg quarters or whole chicken quartered, halved, or cut into pieces
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 2 large lemons halved


  • Prepare the marinade by adding the vinegar, lemon juice, paprika, dried herbs, garlic powder, ½ tsp each of salt and pepper to the melted butter in a small bowl.
  • Place the chicken in a shallow dish or large freezer baggie. Pour the marinade into the dish, or baggie. Cover the dish with plastic wrap, or press the air out of the baggie and close. Place in the fridge for 3 to 24 hours.
  • Fire up your grill to 2-zone heat (half direct heat and the other half no heat). Optimal internal gill temperature is between 325° and 400°F.
  • Remove the chicken from the marinade and place on the no-heat side of the grill. Save the marinade.
  • After about 10 minutes on the grill, sprinkle the chicken with a little salt and pepper. Use a brush to apply some of the reserved marinade to the chicken. Use tongs or a spatula to flip the chicken, and add a little more salt and pepper and then a layer of marinade.
  • Baste and flip the chicken about every 10 to 15 minutes, basting each time, for approximately 45 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 145°F.
  • Transfer the chicken to the direct-heat side of you grill. Place the lemons on the grill, cut side down, over direct heat.
  • Discard any of the marinade and get a new brush, or clean the one you were using. Brush the chicken with a little more melted butter. Cook until the exterior is crispy and an internal temperature of 160° to 165°F has been reached.
  • Remove from grill and serve with grilled lemons.



If you can't find leg quarters (which are the leg and thigh combined), ask your butcher if he/she will cut some for you.  Whole chicken that has been quartered, halved, or cut into pieces is great, too.  Be sure to use a thermometer to keep an eye on internal temperature.  Some pieces will cook faster than others.  If one piece is ready before another, simply place the cooked piece(s) on a cutting board and cover with foil. 
The chicken is best served right from the grill but is also still delicious once it has cooled off.  Don't allow the cooked chicken to sit out (especially outdoors) for more than 90 minutes. 


Calories: 549kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 16g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 202mg | Sodium: 118mg | Potassium: 463mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 1720IU | Vitamin C: 35mg | Calcium: 49mg | Iron: 2mg