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Aug 15, 2010 12:50 PM

What is the best method for grilling chicken breasts?

When I was a young spark my dad used to grill chicken fairly often, and I always loved it. I don't recall his methodology, but do strongly suspect that he finished the chicken with a basic, tomato-based, store-bought BBQ sauce. At any rate, and as strange as it may seem, I've never actually grilled chicken, hence the raison d'etre for this topic. Any tricks, tips and arcane secrets would be greatly appreciated.

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  1. Marinate for 30 minutes to 3 hours in a mixture of equal parts lemon juice and EVOO, maybe a little rosemary or oregano. Salt and pepper well. I use natural charcoal in a chimney starter, dump and bank it to one side, then put the breasts on the other. Do not grill them one second longer than they need to get rid of the pink. Let them rest 10 minutes before serving. This isn't a recipe or any special technique, but it works really well for me. I also use only Bell and Evans chicken breasts or some other kind that has been raised happily before being brutally slaughtered for my gratifcation. Or perhaps they tickle it to death? In any case, I don't love chicken, but usually end up with tender, juicy chicken that plays well with many types of sauces.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Isolda

      I have chicken marinating in evoo, lemon juice, oregano, salt, pepper right now. This is the is foolproof and comes out very tasty every time. Oh, and I use boneless breasts, tonight I am marinating small pieces for kabobs.

    2. Start off with skin ON chicken breasts if possible.

      Brine your chicken breasts.**

      Then create two temperature zones on your grill. Low heat and medium-high.

      Grill on the med-high side for about a 1 to 2 minutes per side.

      Then finish on the low heat side for another ~10 minutes or so, or until internal temp reaches 155F.

      ** For the brine, use four cups of cold water with a tablespoon of table salt. Brine in the fridge for at least three hours and no more than six hours (otherwise you'll end up with salty breasts). Rinse the chicken after you remove it from the brine and dry with paper towels.

      3 Replies
      1. re: ipsedixit

        Do you remove the skin before grilling? If not, does the skin crisp up mightily during grilling?

        1. re: Perilagu Khan

          No usally the skin is left on it helps to protect the meat from drying out. If you are careful and do not char it too quickly, you can get the skin almost fully rendered.

          1. re: Perilagu Khan

            Leave the skin. It helps retain moister and flavor, and it does crisp up quite nicely.

        2. Thought you can grill boneless, skinless chicken, I much prefer to grill bone-in chicken with the skin on. Bone and skin give you a more flavorful result in the end, even if you peel off the skin. I also tend to cut the chicken breast into 2 pieces, since they tend to be awfully big. If you choose to keep in one piece, perhaps make a few deep slits through the skin, into the meat, to increase the surface area and allow for more even cooking,

          Instead of brining with a solution, I just preseason the chicken with salt, pepper and garlic UNDER the skin and on the bone side, and let it "dry brine" for at least 12 hours in the fridge. This gets flavor deep into the meat.

          I leave the chicken out for about 30 minutes at room temperature before putting over medium coals. Skin side down with the cover on (vents slightly open) till about 1/3 done....then turn skin side up, bone side down, and cook with cover on till about 95% done (meat very slightly gives when pushed). Then, remove from heat, and allow carryover cooking to work its magic.

          If you're glazing with sauce, the application tends to be best at the end, so the sugar doesn't char.

          If you're not set on the BBQ sauce chicken, I've heard great things about this "Foolproof Grilled Chicken" from Epicurious....though I have never made it myself.

          Good luck, and let us know how the first time goes!