In 2009, Americans consumed almost 125 pounds of chicken per capita, and most of that chicken came in the form of boneless, skinless chicken breasts. They're versatile, inexpensive and tasty, but they can dry out quickly on the grill. The secret to perfectly grilled chicken breasts lies in their preparation. Start with all-natural, organic chicken breasts whenever possible. A quick dip in a brining solution helps preserve moisture. Keep a close eye on them while they're grilling, because they usually cook in under 10 minutes.
Remove the chicken breasts from the package. Place two or three of the breasts in a zip-top plastic bag or between two sheets of wax paper.
Pound the chicken breasts gently with a rolling pin, the flat edge of a knife or a meat pounder until they're uniformly 1/2 inch thick. One of the challenges when cooking boneless, skinless chicken breasts on the grill is evenly cooking them. Pounding them to a uniform thickness eliminates this issue. Repeat the process with the rest of the chicken breasts.
Discard the wax paper or plastic bag, taking care not to spill the drippings on the counter top or floors, which can spread bacteria. In a shallow pan, combine one part kosher salt, one part raw sugar and 8 parts water.
Place the chicken breasts in the shallow pan and refrigerate them for 30 minutes. This short brining keeps the chicken breasts moist and helps them become caramelized on the grill. Do not brine them any longer, or they may become mushy.
Preheat the gas grill to high for at least 10 to 15 minutes. Like other thin cuts of meat, boneless, skinless chicken breasts benefit from quick grilling at high heat.
Remove the chicken breasts from the brine and pat them dry with a paper towel. Brush the chicken breasts with a bit of cold-pressed olive or vegetable oil. Sprinkle an organic seasoning salt over the meat.
Place the chicken breasts on the grill with at least 1/2 inch of space between them. Close the lid and cook the chicken for 4 to 5 minutes. Raise the lid and turn the chicken breasts. Cook an additional 4 to 5 minutes. When done, the chicken should feel firm. The flesh should look opaque, and a meat thermometer inserted sideways into the chicken should register 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
- The Kitchn: How to Cook Moist, Tender Chicken Breasts Every Time
- Meat: A Kitchen Education; James Peterson
- Jungle Jim's: The Perfect Grilled Chicken Breast
- USDA: Chicken from Farm to Table