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My wife tells me I should be putting aluminum foil on the grill and BBQing the chicken kebob on that and not the naked flame. She cites that it won't get burnt, easy to clean the grill and the marinade won't drip off. I tell her that the whole point of putting it on the BBQ is for the naked flame otherwise we might as well do it in a pan on the stove.

Should chicken be BBQ'd on foil?

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Not really sure I'd call that BBQ at all, since it's not getting exposed to any smoke. That's pretty much the definition of BBQ. No smoke, and it's just grilling. –  Aaronut Jun 17 '12 at 21:59
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"Should I" is a difficult question for this forum as there is not a true yes or no answer to this. Both you and your wife have valid points and it comes down to a matter of taste. What do you want? There really isn't a right or wrong here. (Except, perhaps, @Aaronut's point that this is really more about 'grilling' than 'BBQ', but those terms are often used interchangeably. That distinction isn't really important to the underlying question.) –  Cos Callis Jun 18 '12 at 11:46
    
@Aaronut There's actually a whole page on Wikipedia dedicated to the regional differences of BBQ, including "the type of meat used, the sauce, rub, or other flavorings used, when they are added, the role smoke plays, the equipment and fuel used, cooking temperature, and cooking time." –  Laura Jun 19 '12 at 14:22
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1 Answer 1

Grilling vs BBQ semantics aside.

A gas grill doesn't add any flavor of it's own. Some of the food will sear, char, or even drip and catch on fire. These will produce a variety of new flavors that range from delicious, maillard goodness to sooty, bitter, death. These new flavors are not a function of the open flame but of the very high, direct heat.

In this regard, the only advantage of a gas grill over the broiler in your oven is that it is:

  • more accessible to work with and
  • located outside of your house so you don't have to deal with smoke or excess heat.

Maillard reactions require the food to be dry. You don't want your marinade to pool around your meat because that isn't grilling- that's braising. Delicious for ribs but not so great for chicken.

Her other argument for the foil was ease of cleaning. Just leave your grill on high for 10 minutes after you finish cooking and any food particles will disintegrate easily under your brush.

In my opinion, unless you do intend to actually braise your meat, the foil is completely unnecessary.

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