As I have stated before, I am not known for my chicken cooking skills. This is especially true when it comes to grilling chicken. I don’t think I have ever managed to grill chicken without burning it or drying it out. I think this is in part due to the fact that I’m so paranoid about under cooking chicken. I don’t want to make anyone sick, so I tend to over-cook the chicken until it looks like jerky. I also think chicken is bland. Now I know you can solve that with sauces, but I’m not a fan of most of them. Dave thinks this is weird, because he loves BBQ sauce. For our Labor Day cook out I knew I wanted to try something new, and figure out how to grill chicken. Off to scour the internet I go….
Now, there are a ton of recipes for chicken, but I don’t just need that, what I really need is some instruction on how to actually grill the chicken. I look for that and I find a few different sites. What they all have in common is that they tell you to brine the chicken. Brining is a prep cooking thing that you do a day or hour in advance. Now those of you that know me know that I am not a fan of things you have to do way in advance. Heck I don’t usually even think about what we are going to have for dinner until I get hungry, or fifteen minutes before we eat. I just don’t typically think about food that much. Having said that, to see if it makes a difference, we’ll give brining a try.
In the morning, I take the chicken out and lay it on a plate. I sprinkle coarse kosher salt over it (on both sides) the instructions I found said sprinkle, don’t coat. When I read this I wondered if it would make the chicken really salty, but I used only about ¼ tsp for both of these chicken breasts so I think it should be ok. I then put the chicken in a zipper baggie and put back in the refrigerator.
The other common instruction I found was to pound the chicken. Chicken breast is not a uniform thickness which can lead to one of my common mistakes burning the hell out of the thinner part. In the afternoon, I take the chicken out of the frig, put it on the counter and pound it flat. They tell you to use a rolling-pin or meat mallet, but I just used my hand and it worked fine. I then dump a couple of tablespoons of Fat-Free Italian Dressing on the chicken, re-seal the bag, and put it back in the refrigerator.
After the grill is heated up to medium high, I take the chicken out and place it on the grill. One site says “a few minutes each side”, another says 4 minutes, another says 4-6 minutes, Grrr.. More helpful, they all recommend using a meat thermometer and heating the chicken to 160 degrees. The meat thermometer I have is the one I use for turkey at Thanksgiving, but it works. I grill the first side of chicken for about 6 minutes (past the four, and until it had a little brown on it). I turn the chicken and grill it for another four minutes, then I use my thermometer to determine when to take it off. It took another 6 minutes for the temp. to reach 160. I pulled the chicken off and let it rest.
I put out some different options for the chicken, BBQ sauce, ranch dressing, salad, along with buns and condiments for sandwiches. I’ll try mine plain so that I can give it a true taste test.