Why Bobby Flay Likes To Cook His Grilled Chicken On Indirect Heat

Chicken is difficult to cook and cook it well. Too dry, too tough, burnt to a crisp, rubbery, unevenly cooked — are all issues you've probably experienced when cooking your grilled chicken. Enter Bobby Flay. Flay has been cooking up a storm since he opened his first restaurant in 1991. From that point forward, Flay has received countless awards, had many cooking shows that focused on grilling, and even produced shows for the likes of other chefs like Alex Guarnaschelli (via Biography). Additionally, per Insider, Flay has won more Iron Chef competitions than any other contestant, written 15 cookbooks, and even has his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Clearly, Flay has done it all. So, when we say Flay knows a thing or two when it comes to grilling chicken, rest assured, the celebrity chef certainly does. 

While making a riff on the iconic dish Chicken Cordon Bleu, which is basically chicken, ham, and cheese, the Food Network superstar and grill master revealed that indirect heat is the key to grilling your chicken. But it's also what Flay does before he puts his chicken on the indirect heat that results in the kind of chicken you write home about.  

First sear your chicken over high heat

In a Youtube video, Flay reveals that the first step before you even go near the grill is prepping your chicken. He flattens it out between two pieces of plastic wrap so that it's all the same thickness and will cook evenly. When Flay places his chicken on the grill, it's first on high heat so he can get a nice crusty sear; then he removes it and places it on a cooler part of the grill grates where they flames aren't going wild. Flay does this in order for the chicken to finish cooking slowly. The result is chicken that's cooked all the way through without burning to a crisp. 

Why does it work? Per Food Network, grilling, by its very nature, is supposed to be a "quick cooking over high heat" that allows you to get that nice "char" and flavor that's synonymous with this cooking method. However, they go on to say that if you're winding up with meat that's burned on the outside and raw on the inside, indirect heat can solve that problem. That's especially the case if you're cooking thick pieces of meat that need a slow cook, or foods similar to the dish Flay was making. The bottom line? Sear your chicken and then finish it with the indirect heat for chicken you'll love.