Chicken is one of the most coveted meats on the planet. Each year more than 2 million chickens are consumed around the globe.
That’s because they are tender, juicy, and delicious. But chicken is not always tasty.
Sometimes we are subjected to chicken that is as dry as the Mohave desert.
Unfortunately, you are choking on dry chicken because they did not let the chicken rest or did not let it rest enough.
This is why you must know how long to let the chicken rest.
Should You Let the Chicken Rest Before Cutting?
There is no talking about how long chicken needs to rest without addressing the purpose of resting meat.
The primary reason chicken needs to rest is because of moisture redistribution.
As the chicken cooks on your kamado grill, moisture will be pulled from within the chickens to the outside of the chicken.
Some of this moisture will dissipate. However, the remaining moisture still needs time to reabsorb back into the meat, hence the resting phase.
If you jump the gun and carve your chicken as soon as you pull it from your portable pellet grill, your butcher block will be drenched with the meat’s juices.
As a result, you’ll end up with dry, tough chicken, which is a big disappointment since you worked so hard to cook the chicken.
If you let the chicken rest, the juices will be pulled back into the meat, resulting in tender, juicy chicken.
Some believe resting meat is brainless. They believe the chicken will lose moisture regardless, so you might as well dig into the BBQ chicken breast or the natural gas grill.
However, if you rest your chicken, it will not lose as much moisture as if it wasn’t allowed to rest at all.
It will retain some of those juices; thus, it will be tender and juicy.
Another reason resting chicken is so important is because of a process called carry-over cooking.
When you remove the chicken thighs from your cast iron skillet, it does not stop cooking right away.
Depending on the cut, the chicken will keep cooking for a few minutes once it is removed from the heat. This process is called carry-over cooking.
Whether you are cooking Tomahawk steak, brisket, or chicken legs, most recipes will tell you to let the meat rest once you remove it from the heat.
How Many Degrees Will Chicken Raise While Resting?
As mentioned, the chicken will continue to cook once it comes off of the grill.
Even cut of meat, a small cut of meat like a ranch steak or chicken leg can rise 3-4°F while it’s resting.
Larger birds such as turkeys or whole chickens can rise as much as 10-15°F degrees during their resting.
This is why most meat recipes will tell you to remove the meat at a specific temperature.
For example, the recommended temperature for cooking chicken is 165°F, but it’s best to remove the chicken from your grill once it reaches a temperature between 155°F and 160°F.
Removing the chicken a few degrees before it reaches your desired temperature allows the chicken to come up to 165°F as it rests.
Ultimately the doneness of the chicken is directly correlated with the final temperature of the meat once it’s rested.
How To Rest Chicken
Once your chicken comes to a temperature between 155°F and 160°F, remove it from the heat.
Make sure you use an infrared thermometer or a probe thermometer to monitor the temperature of your chicken.
Place the chicken onto a platter. You can let the chicken rest uncovered, but I recommend tinting it with foil to keep it warm.
Do not wrap the chicken tightly. If it is wrapped tightly, the chicken will start to sweat, which will prevent it from reabsorbing the moisture.
Once the chicken has finished resting, retake its temperature.
If you are using a thermometer with a probe, insert the probe into the thickest part of the bird.
The thigh or breast is usually the thickest part of the whole chicken.
Make sure you do not insert the probe into fat, bone, or gristle, as it can give you an inaccurate reading.
Once your thermometer registers 165°F, it is safe to eat.
How Long To Let Chicken Rest
Knowing how long to rest the chicken will allow you to eat the chicken while it’s still warm.
Different cuts of chicken all have different cooking times and cooking methods. Therefore, it is no surprise that different cuts of meat will have different resting times.
The general rule when it comes to resting chicken is 15-20 minutes before carving and serving.
Nevertheless, the bigger the meat, the more time it will need to rest.
For example, for chicken breasts or chicken thighs, it will only take about 5-10 minutes.
In contrast, if it is a whole chicken, you should let it rest for a minimum of 15-20 minutes.
How Long To Let Whole Chicken Rest After Smoking
A whole smoked temperature is a little different than a whole roasted chicken.
Once you remove the chicken from your offset smoker, place it on a platter and tent it with foil.
Let your smoked chicken rest for a minimum of 20 minutes.
Remember to retake the chicken’s temperature to ensure it is safe to consume before carving it and serving it.
Can You Let the Chicken Rest Too Long?
Yes, you can let the chicken rest too long. The chicken will not stay hot forever.
After a while, it will start to cool off. That’s why it’s essential to follow the recipe when resting chicken.
Depending on the cut of chicken, your chicken could be cold as ice in 15 minutes, and no one likes eating cold chicken unless it’s in chicken salad.
Nevertheless, you can always reheat the chicken if it goes cold.
Resting chicken is an integral part of the cooking process. If you do not rest the meat, it could end up dry and tough.
If you rest the chicken for too long, it could go cold.
Now that you know how long to rest chicken, you will never be subjected to cold chicken again.
You might also be interested in the following:
- How Long To Let Meat Rest
- How Long To Let Steak Rest Before Cooking
- How Long To Let Steak Rest After Cooking
- How Long To Let Turkey Rest
- How Long To Let Ribs Rest
- How Long To Let Brisket Rest
- How Long To Let Pork Shoulder Rest
- How Long To Let Pork Butt Rest
I have been smoking and grilling meat from an early age and enjoy sharing my knowledge and expertise through the hundreds of articles I have written about BBQ. I hope to make everyone’s BBQ journey that little bit easier.