A Chef Explains Why Grilled Chicken Tastes Better At A Restaurant Than At Home

Grilled chicken typically provides a nice char, which gives the poultry more flavor and texture compared to baking or sauteing. It's especially nice during the warmer months because you get some fresh air — and the technique prevents the house from being overwhelmed with cooking odors. Sometimes, however, you might find yourself wondering why the grilled chicken doesn't turn out as delicious as the dish does at your favorite restaurant, even when following the essential tips for making grilled chicken. To find out why this might happen, Tasting Corner reached out to Chef Dan Kluger, a chef and owner behind New York City eateries including Greywind and cocktail bar Spygold.

According to Kluger, the main reason your grilled chicken doesn't have the same quality as some restaurants might be that you aren't seasoning the poultry enough or it's simply overcooked. When it comes to the seasoning and preparing for grilled chicken at restaurants, it depends on how it's being served. "A lot of the time we will do a simple brine on the chicken which will definitely help with flavor and juiciness," Kluger explains. "We also sometimes will do something like a marinade of spices and herbs with extra virgin olive oil and vinegar."

Oil the grill first

It's not just about the brine, marinade, and seasonings, however. It's also important to get the grilling process right. The type of fat doesn't necessarily matter with grilled chicken, but it's important to rub oil on the grill first, according to Kluger. Start with a hot grill and "make sure it's seasoned with oil so it's as 'non-stick' as possible," he explains. For reference, the grill should be between 350 and 450 degrees Fahrenheit before throwing on the chicken. Kluger also recommends seasoning it well, allowing it to obtain a char, and grilling until it's barely cooked through.

To ensure the chicken remains juicy, Kluger says to use a digital probe thermometer to check for an internal temperature of 150 degrees Fahrenheit. To be clear, chicken is safe to eat with an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. However, chicken will continue cooking from the inside while it rests, so it's a safe bet to use your thermometer to double-check before plating. And if you need a little help with what varieties of seasonings to use on the poultry, check out Tasting Corner's Mediterranean grilled chicken and grilled Za'atar chicken skewers recipes.