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How To Grill Chicken: Your Easy Guide
So you want to learn how to grill chicken? In most kitchens, boneless, skinless chicken breasts are a staple. Their versatility and simplicity make them an easy go-to item. But, if you’ve grilled them before, you know that they can sometimes turn out bland, dry, and chewy. Here are a few ways to avoid the dreaded chewy chicken conundrum.
The uneven thickness of chicken breasts is one reason why the finished product can turn out so…blah. As you’ve probably noticed, it can be tricky to get the thicker middle part cooked without overcooking the thinner end pieces.
To remedy this, you’ve gotta smash it! The easiest way to do this is to place the chicken breast in a sealed plastic bag and take a heavy object to it. A meat pounder, heavy jar, or rolling pin get the job done just fine. Smash down the thicker parts of the breast until the height matches that of the thinner parts. You want to aim for around ¾”-1” thickness all the way through.
This can be a wet marinade, dry marinade, or a brine. Whichever one you choose, just be sure your chicken gets exposed to some sort of flavoring – even if it’s for 30 minutes before you cook it.
For an easy, delicious brine – check out Mel Joulwan’s recipe. Using a brine like this will allow the chicken to better retain moisture while grilling. And this is key to getting juicy, delicious chicken breasts.
Clean and Oil It
After you’ve brined and flavored your chicken breasts, it’s time to get grilling. First, be sure that your grill grate is clean. Dirty grates make food stick to them much more than clean ones, so do yourself a favor and ensure that your grates are free of leftover residue. Because boneless, skinless chicken breasts are lacking fat, it’s best to oil your grill too so that the meat has less of a chance to stick to it.
Let It Cook
Be sure to allow your grill to preheat before placing the meat on it. Aim for medium-high heat; too hot and it will dry out the breasts and too low will not do any favors for the flavor. Your end goal is a golden brown crust on the outside of the chicken and the meat cooked all the way through in the middle.
If your grill has a medium-hot fire and the chicken is exposed to direct heat, it should only take about 10 minutes per side. As a simple test, you can touch the breast in the thickest part and if there’s no resistance, the breast is probably done and can be taken off heat. If you have a meat thermometer, aim for an internal temperature of 160-165 degrees Fahrenheit. Pull it off heat and let it rest a few minutes before serving alongside your favorite Paleo veggie sides.
Follow these tips and never eat cardboard chicken breasts again. Do you have any other grilling tips? I’d love to hear them.
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