This easy grilled chicken breast is an ideal healthy take on chicken that is low in calorie but high in protein as well as taste – a perfect no-fuss healthy meal for a hectic weeknight!
Grilling is one of my favorite cooking techniques as I love that charred smokiness which can only be achieved by grilling your food – veggies or meat. Hence after getting a brand-new table top griller at home, I could not stop myself from trying this hugely popular grilled chicken breast recipe at home. This grilled chicken breast is a fairly new dish for me and I saw it in many food blogs; but to be very honest, I was not too attracted to this recipe simply because I am not very fond of the chicken breast meat. But as I mentioned above, a new equipment leads to new experiments and that’s exactly how this grilled chicken breast materialized! After tasting this easy grilled chicken breast freshly made at home, I must admit that I was missing a whole chapter from the book of taste, if something of that sort exists somewhere! But you got the idea, right?
Once you achieve the perfection of a juicy grilled chicken breast, you have a universe of possibilities in front of you! A perfectly grilled chicken breast can be used in numerous recipes – a grilled chicken salad, grilled chicken sandwich, grilled chicken pasta and the options are practically endless. I do agree that achieving that perfectly juicy grilled chicken breast involves few important steps which you cannot skip but this total love and care is absolutely worth it when you know the end result going to be gorgeous without any doubt. And guess what? All these steps can be pre-done a night before and you only need to grill the chicken before serving which essentially takes 15 minutes for a pair of chicken breasts. I would still call it an easy grilled chicken breast as the steps may be long but won’t even score 2 points on a difficulty scale of 1 to 10.
After going through few recipes of grilled chicken breast on net and trying few of them on my own, I realized that brining the chicken breast before grilling is the most essential step to get that ultimate perfection. In case you do not know, let me give you a quick idea about brining – it means submerging the meat in heavily salted water for long duration like 8 to 12 hours. What this process does may sound technical but it essentially breaks down the protein inside the chicken and help it retain its juiciness during grilling. Also, it seasons the internal meat making it much tastier. I would strongly suggest you not to skip this step.
Another important point to keep in mind while making grilled chicken breast is that your chicken breast should have same thickness all over. But that’s not the case naturally, hence you have two options – you can pound the thickest part of the chicken breast using a rolling pin or the smooth side of a meat mallet until it becomes about a quarter of an inch thick or you can slice the chicken breast cross-sectionally lengthwise after which you will get 2 portions of almost similar thickness. Both these methods will give you good result, so chose which one you are comfortable with.
Few important tips –
- Make sure to pat the chicken breasts thoroughly dry using a paper towel before placing them on hot grill and once you place them, do not touch, press or move them for 3 minutes. This will ensure you get great grill marks on your chicken breasts.
- Keep your griller at the highest temperature for the first 3 minutes each side. Then reduce the flame to medium and continue grilling for another 5 minutes each side.
- Keep an instant read thermometer handy to check the internal temperature of the chicken; if it registers 165 F then immediately remove it from heat and let it rest on a plate for 5 minutes before serving.
If you following the above guidelines, nothing can stop you from enjoying that ultimate perfect grilled chicken breast! Enjoy!
Recipe adapted from The Kitchn!
- Chicken breast – 2, boneless and skinless
- Water – 4 cups, at room temperature
- Salt – 2 tbsp
- Apple cider vinegar – ¼ cup
- Honey – ½ cup
- Dijon mustard – 2 tbsp
- Red chili flakes – 1 tsp
- Take one chicken breast at a time and place it on a plastic wrap laid over a cutting board. Then place another layer of plastic wrap on top of the chicken breast. Now using a rolling pin or meat mallet, pound the thickest part of the chicken breast until it is about a quarter of an inch thick. Don’t hit it very hard, but give medium strokes few times. Set them aside.
- Now mix all the ingredients listed under marinade in a bowl and whisk them thoroughly. Do a taste test to see if you need to adjust the tartness or heat.
- Take a large ziplock bag, big enough to hold 4 cups of water plus half of the marinate and couple of chicken breasts. Add the water and salt to it and stir to dissolve the salt completely. Then add half of the prepared marinade and reserve the other half to glaze the chicken. Mix well.
- Now slide the pounded chicken breasts into the ziplock bag and give a good massage to coat the chicken with brine + marinade mixture. Seal the bag and lay it flat on a baking tray so that the chicken breasts remain submerged in the liquid. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour upto maximum 12 hours.
- When you are ready to grill, preheat your griller at maximum temperature and brush oil on the grates or grill plate.
- While the griller is preheating, take each chicken breast out of the liquid and pat it dry with a paper towel making it as moisture-free as possible.
- Now place the chicken breasts on hot grill and let them sit undisturbed for 3 minutes. After 3 minutes, flip them over and let sit at max temperature for 3 more minutes. This way you will get great grill marks on both sides.
- Now, reduce the heat to medium and continue grilling your chicken breasts for 5 minutes each side or until the internal temperature registers 165 F in an instant read thermometer.
- Take the grilled chicken breast out and let it rest on a plate for 5 minutes before serving. Slice the grilled chicken breast if desired and serve with pashed potatoes or use for any other recipe as you desire. Enjoy!