Grilling the perfect chicken breast begins and ends with keeping the meat moist and tender while being subjected to a wall of flame – not necessarily an easy feat for even the most seasoned grill master.Step 1: Pound Your Breasts
Chicken breasts are naturally uneven and often come with a tenderloin attached. Trim off the tenderloins and pound your breasts – a little! – to give them a more uniform shape.
There’s no need to hammer them into oblivion; a few good smacks on the fat end will suffice. This will help them cook evenly.Step 2: Brine Your Breasts
This is a simple fact – you should never
grill a breast that hasn’t been brined. Salt denatures the proteins that sheath the meat fibers and allows more water to saturate them. The result: juicy chicken.To make a simple brine, put a few tablespoons of salt and a couple tablespoons of sugar in a container (Tupperware or resealable plastic bag), add your chicken and then fill with water.
Shake it up and put it in the fridge for at least
30 minutes and up to 3 hours – but no longer or it will taste too salty.Step 3: Heat and Season Your Grill
We know that “medium-high heat” means little to nothing for many grillers (especially those using charcoal
), so here’s a trick: Create two zones of heat, either by banking your coals or by adjusting your burners, so you have a low-heat bailout area when you think your breasts are getting too hot, but aren't quite done yet.Now, here’s another trick for seasoning your grill: Cut an onion in half and put it sliced-side-down in a small dish of cooking oil. Stick a fork in it and use it to spread oil on your heated grill so your chicken won’t stick to it. NOTE: There may be flames. Pay them no mind.Step 4: Cook Your Breasts
Here we go! Use tongs (because a fork will release juices) to place the chicken on the grill. At the ever-so-mysterious medium-high heat, your breasts should be cooked at 3-4 minutes per side.
NOTE: Overcooking – usually out of fear of salmonella – is by far the most common cause of a dried-out breast. Don’t let it happen to you!BONUS: Sauce Your Breasts
Applying barbecue sauce to chicken breasts during grilling is an art unto itself. The trick here is to apply it when the chicken is nearly done, but you must turn down the heat and extend the cooking time.
Once you’ve flipped your breasts once, apply a coating of sauce and then cover for about 3 minutes. (Keep in mind that you need to turn the temperature down to “low” or you’ll dry out the meat.) Lift the lid, flip, coat the other side and then close the lid again for about 3 minutes.We hope this helps you get closer to grilling the perfect chicken breast during your next outdoor cooking