Let’s tackle an easy one. Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts.
Probably one of the most commonly cooked pieces of meat and probably one of the things I get asked about the most. Truthfully, not my favourite. I’m a thigh man myself. I guarantee you that one will be coming soon.
As common as chicken is it gets brutalized fairly often. I know a few people who will not go near white meat because they complain that it’s always too dry. Here comes the truth…it’s not the chicken’s fault.
White meat can be plenty juicy and very enjoyable with a couple of simple tips.
First, when buying the chicken try to buy pieces that look to be similar sizes. If you have one huge piece and 2 tiny pieces, you are either going to have 1 undercooked piece or 2 dry pieces if you cook them for the same amount of time.
Second, dry those babies off. When you pull them out of the package they will probably be wet. We want our chicken to be dry(ish) when we start to season them. This will ensure the chicken gets evenly seasoned and you don’t have your seasoning running off.
The seasoning….Now, you can put anything and everything you like on your chicken at this point. Some things to keep in mind. If you use any rubs or sauces at this point that have a lot of sugar in them it will probably burn and go black and gross on you before the chicken has a chance to cook. If you use a rub with a lot of salt, be careful. It is very easy to make your chicken too salty this way.
Me personally, I use 3 things on my chicken…olive oil, salt and pepper. That’s it. Now to be truthful, its not regular table salt I use. It’s Lawry’s Seasoned Salt. The salt and pepper are for flavour obviously…but why the oil? Two reasons. It will hold the seasoning to that chicken like it’s life depended on it and it will prevent the chicken from sticking to the grill. I use a very very small amount. Just a light brushing on both sides before I apply the S&P.
Notice I didn’t go crazy on the seasoning. Enough that you will know that it’s there but not so much it will overpower the chicken.
Now toss those bad boys on the grill.
Here’s a little known secret about BBQs…they have more than one setting…That’s right! Despite common thinking, you do not have to cook everything on High/Max heat. Shocker, I know.
Notice I have my BBQ at just over Medium heat for the chicken. Too high and the outside will burn before the middle is cooked.
Here’s another tip. Shut the lid. The chicken isn’t going anywhere. By shutting the lid we create an oven like environment. This will cook the chicken quicker and more evenly. The chicken is probably going to take 7-10 minutes a side. As long as you remembered to put it on medium heat you will be fine. Now if you want to open the lid and check from time to time no problem.
Flipping the chicken. The meat itself will tell you when it is ready to be flipped. If the chicken is sticking to the grill, shut the lid and check again in a few minutes. Your chicken only needs to be flipped once. That’s right, once. Not nine thousand times. Notice on my chicken below nothing stuck and you get nice looking grill marks on the chicken. Also, it’s not too dark. Thank you Mr. Medium Heat Setting.
Close the lid again and cook for approximately 7-10 minutes more or until the chicken reaches 165 degrees F internal temperature. A good meat thermometer will be your best friend and almost mandatory for a lot of things you will cook on a BBQ and definitely in a smoker. I use a Thermapen. It was expensive, but worth every penny.
If your chicken is getting too much colour before you reach your desired temperature, move it to the top rack or to a burner that is off and shut the lid. Let the heat of the burners that are still going turn the BBQ into an oven and finish the cooking that way.
If you wish to use BBQ sauce, now is the time. Apply the sauce to both sides and let sit on the top rack for 5 minutes to set the sauce.
Now the hard part. When you take the chicken off let it sit for a good 3-5 minutes before you serve it. I know this is the hardest thing to do but it is so worth it. This will allow the juices in the chicken to stay in the chicken. If you cut it right away you will watch all your hard work literally pour out of the chicken. We did a lot of work here to keep that chicken juicy, don’t take a shortcut now.
I don’t know if these pictures capture it properly, but you could literally see how juicy the chicken is at this point. Also notice it’s cooked all the way through and no pink anywhere in sight.
Any questions, leave a comment here or get in touch directly and I will help you out.