Sometimes when I write these recipes and blog posts, I forget that even the basics need to be taught, because there are a lot of first time grillers out there. So if you plan on starting with something as easy as chicken breast, here’s a simple recipe to turn out juicy, flavorful chicken breasts for every recipe in your kitchen. It all starts with the brine, as mentioned in the Smoked Whole Chicken recipe and the Smoked Whole Turkey recipe. Brining meat is something you should be doing for all poultry, plus certain seafood in order to retain moisture when the meat is cooking. I leave beef and pork to marinades or injections, instead of soaking the meat in a salt/sugar water bath.
- Start with a simple brine of 2 quarts of water (room temperature), 1/4 cup of kosher salt and 1/4 cup of brown sugar. Stir until the sugar and salt has dissolved.
- Using a meat tenderizing mallet, lightly pound the chicken breasts until they are the same thickness all around. If you don’t do this step, when you cook the chicken, the thinner point of the breast will always end up overcooked and dried out compared to the thicker end. (Note: place the chicken in a resealable bag to avoid splatter when pounding the meat.)
- Wash the poultry under running water to remove any “slime” from the outside and then place them in the brine. Let the chicken rest in the fridge for 30 min to 2 hours.
- Once the brine time has passed, fire up the grill to 350°F. You can use wood chips to add flavor, but I wouldn’t recommend wood chunks with such a short cooking time.
- Remove the chicken from the brine, wash it under cold running water and then pat dry.
- Sprinkle kosher salt, fresh black pepper, granulated garlic, granulated onion and fresh thyme on both sides of the chicken breasts.
- Lightly drizzle the chicken with olive oil and then rub it around the meat to fully coat it.
- Place each chicken breast on the grill over direct heat. Cook each side for 3-4 minutes until the internal temperature of the poultry reaches 165°F.
- Remove from heat and let it rest for 2-3 minutes before serving in your favorite dish.
2-3 pounds of Chicken Breasts
2 Quarts of Water
1/4 Cup + 1 Tablespoon of Kosher Salt
1/4 Cup of Brown Sugar
1 Tablespoon of Fresh Black Pepper
1 Sprig of Fresh Thyme
1 Teaspoon of Granulated Garlic
1 Teaspoon of Granulated Onion