We've all been there. You want a simple grilled chicken dinner but the grilling part never seems to go right. Here's my guide for getting perfectly done grilled chicken every time. The main recipe is for bone-in chicken pieces (breasts, thighs and legs). See the recipe notes for grilling boneless skinless chicken breasts.
Preheat a gas or charcoal grill and scrape the grate extra clean. Season the chicken pieces with the salt all over. (For extra flavorful chicken, do this step the night before and let the chicken sit overnight uncovered in the refrigerator.)
Check the heat on your grill to be sure that it's about medium-high (between 350 and 400 degrees F) by placing your open palm about 5 inches above the grate. If you can hold it there for 5 seconds, you’re in range. Also note where the heat is less intense in case of flare ups.
Place the chicken pieces skin side down on the grate using metal tongs. Close the grill cover and do not move them for the next 20 minutes. However, you'll want to stand by to listen for flare ups. If you hear loud sizzling, open the grill cover and use your tongs to slide the chicken pieces that are fueling the flames to the cooler part of the grill. Close the cover and keep timing.
Flip the chicken pieces and grill with the cover closed for another 10 minutes. Check the doneness with an instant-read thermometer by inserting the tip into the center but away from the bone. It should register about 160-165 degrees F. (Legs will take longer than thighs and the large breasts may take longer than either legs or thighs.)
If you're using a marinade or sauce, like barbecue sauce, toss the cooked chicken pieces into the sauce in a large bowl. Return the the grill just long enough to heat through and brown a bit without burning, about 1 minute per side.
Transfer the chicken as it is done to a platter and cover with aluminum foil. This step will complete the cooking and redistribute the juices.
For boneless, skinless chicken breasts, reduce the cooking time to 8-10 minutes (depending on the size) for the first side, then flip and cook on the second side until cooked through, about 4-6 minutes more.