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Cyndi Allison - Grill Girl

Grilled Chicken Breasts

Grilled Chicken Breasts
Grilled Chicken Breasts

Boneless skinless chicken breasts on the barbecue grill can be a bit tricky, but they are not that difficult if you know a few barbeque tricks for getting them to turn out right. In fact, boneless chicken breasts are easier than doing the thicker pieces with bones once you get the process down pat.

Picking the Boneless Chicken for Grilling

Boneless chicken breasts come in all kinds of shapes and sizes these days. That’s good. That means that you can cut the time on lots of recipes.
For grilling, it’s better to go with the chicken breast filets that are larger. You can get the little strips and use my directions, but you’ll need to cut the grilling time down and watch very carefully. For the first time, I’d say to go with the bigger pieces that are closer to the size you get on a chicken breast sandwich at a restaurant.

Another option is to buy chicken breasts with bones and then filet them. If you see a good sale on breasts with bones, then this is more work but is fine. Once you filet the main meat off the bone, then the chicken can be boiled for chicken and dumpling (a real southern treat) or for broth for other dishes.

Marinate to Prevent Sticking

Place thawed boneless chicken in a container and pour Italian dressing (thin and not creamy type) over the meat. It’s fine to use the low calorie versions. I wasn’t so sure about that to start with, but it does work fine.

Let the meat sit for a couple of hours in the Italian dressing, or you can do this the night before. You want to let this soak in the refrigerator to prevent food poisoning. Leaving uncooked chicken out on the counter is not a good idea.

If you did not prepare before, then you can dip the breasts in the dressing and coat. It helps prevent sticking but does not add the flavor like a longer resting time.

Get the Grill Ready for the Chicken

Be sure the coals are going good if you are using charcoal. A  chimney starter can make a huge difference though you can go with your normal routine. If you’re using gas, then set to medium and allow some time for the grill to heat well.

Before putting the grate on the grill, spray it with Pam or other cooking spray. Most of the fat in the chicken is in the skin, so you have a pretty lean meat if using skinless chicken. This step also helps if you add barbecue sauce at the end. That’s pretty messy and the coating of cooking spray helps a lot.

Get the Chicken on There and Grilling

Use tongs to place the chicken on the grill grate. If you have thicker pieces, place them closer the center and smaller pieces to the side.

Time does vary depending on the size and thickness of the chicken and also on the heat. Look for the sides to turn white coming around the edges. This gives a good indication that the bottom side is getting close done. I ran around 8 minutes on the turn time this evening. If the chicken is thicker it may be closer to 12-15 minutes.

When you flip the chicken over, you should have black grill marks. Between the marks, you will see white meat with no pink coloring. If it looks undercooked, then don’t worry. You can flip chicken more than once without a problem.

Sauce it Up – Barbecue Chicken

Once you cook the chicken on both sides about 8 minutes per side (or until done but not overcooked), you can sauce the chicken up. Brush on BBQ sauce if you want barbecue chicken. Flip the chicken over once coated and let that cook a minute or so to set the sauce.

Coat the top side up and then flip again to heat and set.

In other words, you cook the chicken on both sides, add the sauce and cook briefly just to set the sauce. If you add it earlier, then it burns and the chicken is not so tasty.

You don’t have to add barbeque sauce at all. The chicken is great with just the Italian coating, so try it both ways and see what you like. You can also add the sauce after the meat is cooked and off the grill, but it’s not as good as briefly cooking the sauce on the chicken on the grill.



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