Whenever a new cook asks for advice on how to cook chicken, they usually want to know how to tell when it is done, and how to make sure it doesn't turn out too dry.
It's not hard to understand why chicken can taste dry when most recipes call for one set cooking time but chicken can vary so much in terms of thickness and size. Here are some of my tips:
Boneless or Bone-in: In general Chicken cooked on the bone and with the skin on will taste more tender and juicy. You can cook any chicken successfully however, if you use a meat thermometer.
Using a Meat Thermometer One of the biggest causes of overly dry chicken is that the chicken is over cooked. My chicken used to suffer the same fate because I wanted to make sure it was safe for my family to eat. The only way to really know if it is cooked sufficiently is to insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken, without touching the bone. According to the USDA, the internal temperature should be 165'F to be considered fully cooked.
Keep track of cooking times Chicken can come in so many sizes and thickness that it really makes it difficult to know how long to cook it for. If you tend to buy the same type of chicken (such as bone in thighs or boneless skinless chicken breasts), use a thermometer for the first few times you make a recipe then jot down how long it took to cook that cut of chicken on your recipe. That way you won't have to use a meat thermometer each and every time.
Brining Although I only do this for special occassions, brining poultry
does help insure a moist result. To brine chicken, place 1 quart of water and 1/2 cup of kosher salt in a large zip style bag and mix well (you can also add 1/4 cup of granulated sugar) Add chicken and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes. Remove chicken from the brine and rinse well. If you rinse the chicken well, your chicken will not taste salty, just juicy.