How To Grill Perfect Chicken Breasts

Dave —  July 13, 2012 — 3 Comments

There are many things in life that I (Dave) am awful at doing. Here are just a few of them:

  • Dancing
  • Cartwheels
  • Math, specifically math that involves fractions

However, there are also some things in life that I am great at doing. One of those things is grilling chicken breast. I don’t want to brag here, but I will. I have yet to eat a grilled chicken breast that tastes as good as mine. I really can’t take all the credit though. Much of my success comes from my grillfriend:

Charbroil Infrared Grill

The Charbroil Infrared Grill takes all of the guess work out of grilling. There are no hot spots and cold spots…just consistent perfection. Today, I am sharing my grilling secrets with the world so that you too can enjoy perfectly grilled chicken breasts.

How to grill perfect chicken breast

1. Start by making sure your grill grates are nice and clean. You don’t want the junk from your burgers last weekend sticking to your chicken. Turn on your grill and heat it to high.

2. Place the chicken between two pieces of plastic wrap and, using a meat mallet or the bottom of a heavy saute pan, pound the chicken light to an even 3/4-inch thickness.

Chicken Breast Pounded

3. Starting with the underside of the breast (the rough looking side) brush each side of the chicken with olive oil and season with sea salt and fresh cracked pepper. The reason I start with the underside first is all about presentation, and I do this with almost every piece of meat that I grill. If you season the underside first, it doesn’t really matter what happens to it when you turn the meat over to season the topside. If some of the seasoning falls off or moves around, who cares. No one will see it!

Seasoned Chicken

Seasoned Chicken Breast

4. Place the chicken on the grill, top side (smooth side) down. Again, this is all about presentation. You grill should be hot enough that you can get a good sear on the chicken breast. All of the seasoning you put on the top side should stay nice and pretty and you should get those beautiful grill marks that make you look way cooler than you are. Close the grill lid and cook until golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes. This may vary slightly on your grill. I know that mine takes exactly 5 minutes, no more and no less.

Grilling Chicken Breast

5. Flip the chicken breast over and continue grilling until the chicken is cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes. Again, this will vary slightly based on your grill. For me, I cook the underside of the chicken for 4 minutes, no more and no less.

Perfect Grilled Chicken Breast

6. Remove chicken from the grill. Tent the chicken with foil and let rest 3 to 4 minutes. Don’t worry, it will not get cold. It will actually continue to cook a bit as it sits. THIS IS KEY!!!! Letting the meat rest allows the juices to evenly distribute throughout the chicken breast and will help keep it nice and moist after you cut into it. The chicken breast should have a nice golden brown crust on the outside, and be moist and white on the inside.

How to grill moist chicken

Besides the 6 tips to grilling perfect chicken breasts, I also have a few “DO NOT’S” that you should keep in mind.

DO NOT flip the chicken too early or turn it over to take a look at your cool grill marks. If you do this the chicken will stick to the grates, your grill marks will be jacked up, and you’ll look like a fool who can’t cook chicken.

DO NOT cut the chicken breast in half on the grill to see if they are done. If you really want to be sure, you could use a meat thermometer to make sure the chicken breast is 160° F, but you should be able to get to a point where you know the chicken is done without cutting into it or using a thermometer. 

DO NOT eat undercooked chicken. I know this should go without saying, but seriously…don’t do it. It can make you sick and it’s just gross. You can cut into the chicken after it has been removed from the grill and rested. If you notice it is undercooked, throw it back on the grill for a couple minutes. Please don’t put it in the microwave. You will lose all your friends if you serve microwaved chicken breast.

And there you have it! Those are my secrets to grilling perfect,delicious, moist chicken breasts. Follow these rules next time you grill chicken breasts and let us know how they turn out!

Check out more awesome recipes with perfect grilled chicken breast:

Lemon Grilled Chicken with Mediterranean Toasted Quinoa

Lemon Grilled Chicken with Mediterranean Toasted Quinoa

Chipotle Chicken Sandwich

Chipotle Chicken

Frontega Chicken Sandwich (Panera Copycat)

Frontega Chicken

The Big Salad

Big Salad

Chipotle-Lime Tacos

Chipotle Lime Tacos


3 responses to How To Grill Perfect Chicken Breasts

  1. thank you for teaching my husband how to grill a chicken breast. he marinates it in italian dressing overnight, and they are delicious!

  2. Just got the grill – wish I would have seen this post first. Yours look way better than mine!
    What grill temp do you use?

  3. Just brought a infrared grill. Wanted to try chicken breast and found this recipe. I like to marinate in Italian dressing, but the grilling instructions was perfect!!! I grilled the chicken breast for 5 minutes each side and that was by FAR the juiciest chicken breast I’ve eaten. Thanks

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