There’s nothing that says spring is in the air like the luscious, smoky scent of grilled fare. Have you been tempted to fire yours up yet?
I have to admit, my first several attempts at grilling chicken breasts were disappointingly dismal. Grilling seemed obvious enough to me, shake on some seasonings and slap those puppies down! Right? It’s simple, that why guys like it? WRONG!
Achieving lip-smacking morsels hot off the grill is definitely a realm where fine science meets dynamic creativity – especially when it comes to chicken breasts. If you’re not careful, you’ll end up with a dried up, rubbery sticks to chew, that is if you’ve managed not to burn them to a crisp.
Follow these simple steps below and you’ll be guaranteed to have tender, juicy chicken fillets dripping with flavor and goodness. And don’t forget to add rainbow rice as a nutritious side dish!
- 4-6 fresh boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- ½ cup peanut oil
- ¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce, tamari or coconut aminos
- 2-4 garlic cloves, finely chopped (or 1 teaspoon garlic powder)
- 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, finely chopped (or 1 teaspoon ground ginger)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cayenne red pepper (optional)
- Trim – Remove any residual fat, skin or tendons along the edges of the chicken breast. Trim the under side of the chicken (tenders side) to make the entire breast close to the same thickness. Also trim off the long thin piece that you will sometimes find on one end.
- Slit – Carefully cut shallow slits up and down each chicken breast, spaced about every half inch. Be careful not to cut too deep. These grooves will help the marinade penetrate the meat, as well as help the chicken lay more flat and cook evenly.
- Marinade – Whisk together the remaining ingredients for the marinade and pour over the chicken breasts. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4-8 hours or over night.
- Grill – These marinated chicken breasts can be cooked on a gas or charcoal barbecue grill, in a stovetop grill pan with ridges, or even in an electric grill such as a George Foreman Grill. My preferred method is to cook chicken breasts at medium-high on my well-used gas grill. However you grill them, chicken needs to cook until it's completely cooked through, but grilling too long will make them dry and tough. You can tell when the chicken is done by how it looks and feels. The outside of the chicken will be nicely browned on both sides and it should feel firm to the touch, but not hard.
- Enjoy – Make sure everyone is ready to enjoy these tasty treats hot off the grill! You’ll be amazed at the tenderness and incredible flavor oozing out of every bite! This chicken pairs perfectly with rainbow rice as a side.
- Save the trimmed chicken pieces in a freezer-safe container to add to a stir-fry or to use the next time you make chicken stock or stew.
- When modifying this technique to use with other homemade marinades, remember that a good marinade should roughly include a 2:1 ratio of oil to acidic ingredients with plenty of additional flavorings such as spices and herbs.
- When grilling, remember to judge cooking time by how the meat looks and feels, not just by the amount of time the recipe calls for. Cooking time will depend on the temperature of the chicken, how hot the grill is, the thickness of the chicken breasts, and even weather conditions if you're cooking outside.