Your Guide to Grilling Chicken Like a Top Teriyaki Chef

Like almost anything that happens in a kitchen, grilling chicken isn’t as easy as it first looks. We all know it has to cook thoroughly to banish any risk of nasty food-borne illness, but you how do you keep it from turning into a meaty block of dry sawdust?

Introducing the expert with the answer: Paul Krug. He’s the founder of Glaze, the beloved teriyaki concept with multiple locations in San Francisco, Madison, Wisconsin, Chicago and New York. They’ve built a stellar reputation on their grilled-to-order, high-quality proteins, so we knew Krug was the source to tap to find out how he serves juicy, flavorful chicken, every time.

Read what he has to say about it below.

Choosing Your Chicken

“I highly recommend buying your protein as locally as possible to ensure you are getting the freshest product you can, and so you have the opportunity to support your community. You want to have faith that the protein you’re buying comes from a source that is both reputable and consistent in quality.

When buying chicken in a store I look for organic or an antibiotic-free chicken and I make sure to check the expiration date. Chicken can come in a lot of varieties, so look for a trusted purveyor and make sure the expiration date gives you enough time to cook it.”

Prepping Your Chicken

“Keep the prep work minimal to let the flavor profile of the protein shine through. Keeping the skin on or taking it off before grilling is totally about personal preference. At Glaze we use boneless and skinless chicken breasts and thighs.”

Grilling Your Chicken

“Chicken requires some attention—in particular, to how firm or soft the meat is. It’s important to bring the chicken to [the correct] temperature for safety’s sake, but it’s easy to quickly overdo it. You want to avoid overcooked chicken as it becomes totally tough and rubbery.

It’s very dependent on the thickness and cut of chicken, but I’m a big fan of the old test of using your index finger and thumb and pinching between your other hand’s index and thumb. The meat should feel firm yet tender.

Finally, just like steak, chicken can use a little time to sit before serving. The resting period locks in all of the juices, maximizing flavor and creating a tender cut of protein.”

And enjoy.