How To Grill Perfect Skinless, Boneless Chicken Breasts, Part 2
Who among us hasn’t looked dolefully at a package of boneless, skinless chicken breasts we picked up on a quick trip to the supermarket or retrieved from the freezer, and asked ourselves, “Now what?”
Lean, protein-packed chicken breasts are often considered bland and boring. Yet, they’re one of the blank canvases of barbecue, compatible with nearly every savory flavor combination found in the world’s grilling cultures, from Tokyo, where skewers of thinly sliced chicken breasts are glazed with a simple teriyaki sauce, to Tuscany, where the breasts are grilled under a foil-covered brick. (The latter technique shortens the grilling time, improves the texture of the meat, and encourages killer grill marks.)
A few weeks ago, Steven and I shared general strategies for grilling juicy, flavorful chicken breasts. We hope you’ve had an opportunity to try Steven’s Bourbon- Brined Chicken over a wood or wood-enhanced fire.
8 Juicy, Flavorful Grilled Chicken Breast Recipes
Here are more of our favorite ways to grill this versatile meat.
1. Chicken Sates
Partially freeze the meat and slice it lengthwise into 1/4 inch strips. Marinate in your favorite marinade or vinaigrette, for at least 30 minutes then drain and pat dry. Thread on bamboo or metal skewers and grill over a medium-hot fire for 1 to 2 minutes per side. You can use chicken tenders for these sates, but because they’re thicker, they’ll need at least 2 minutes per side. Grill lemon halves and skewers of cherry tomatoes at the same time. We love to use a hibachi or Big Green Egg’s tabletop grill for this.
2. Caprese Chicken Breasts
Using a sharp knife, cut a deep pocket through the side of a brined chicken breast. (Thicker breasts work best for this preparation.) Season the inside and outside with freshly ground black pepper, granulated garlic, and if desired, hot red pepper flakes. If the chicken’s been brined, you probably won’t need salt. Stuff the pocket with slivered fresh basil leaves, slices of fresh mozzarella or other good melting cheese, and thin slices of fresh tomato. Pin shut with oiled toothpicks. Grill for 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until the cheese has melted and the chicken is cooked through.
3. Chicken “Calzones”
Make a pocket in a brined chicken breast as described above. Season and stuff with provolone, sliced prosciutto or pepperoni, sliced olives or pepperoncini, and a spoonful of your favorite marinara or pizza sauce. Pin shut and grill as above.
4. Chicken and Mushroom Kebabs
Brine chicken breasts in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to 3. (For the brine, mix 1/4 cup of kosher salt with 4 cups of cold water and stir until the salt crystals dissolve. Alternatively, soak the chicken in buttermilk or your favorite Italian dressing.) Drain the breasts and pat dry. Slice into 1-inch cubes. Wipe cremini or button mushroom caps with a damp paper towel (it helps if they’re about an inch in diameter) and trim the stems.
Alternately thread the chicken, mushroom, and leaves of fresh sage on skewers. Brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill over medium-high heat for 1 to 2 minutes per side (4 to 8 minutes in all), or until the chicken is cooked through and the mushrooms are tender. Drizzle with a balsamic glaze, if desired.
5. Chicken Paillards
A paillard is a thin medallion of meat, sliced and/or pounded to reduce its thickness. Using a sharp knife and starting in the thickest side, slice the breast in half lengthwise. If desired, lay the two halves between sheets of plastic wrap and gently pound to an even thickness. Make a simple marinade using 1 part of good-quality vinegar to 4 parts EVOO, a spoonful of Dijon mustard, fresh chopped tarragon or parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Marinate the chicken in half the marinade for 1 to 3 hours. Reserve the remainder of the marinade. Drain the chicken, then grill over medium-high heat for 1 to 2 minutes per side, or until the chicken is opaque.
Serve with grilled bread on a bed of arugula that you’ve dressed lightly with the remaining vinaigrette. Also good served on a toasted bun.
6. Tandoori Chicken
Make Steven’s tandoori-style marinade. Substitute 8 chicken breasts for leg of lamb. Marinate the chicken for at least 1 hour, and up to 3. Scrape off any excess marinade and discard the remainder. Grill the chicken breasts over medium-high heat for 4 to 5 minutes per side, or until cooked through, basting with melted butter. Serve with raita, jasmine rice, and pre-packaged naan.
7. Gaucho Chicken Sandwiches
Drizzle drained brined chicken breasts with olive oil, then season with freshly ground black pepper, dried basil or oregano flakes, and hot red pepper flakes. Make Steven’s Argentinean chimichurri sauce and set aside. Set up your grill for direct grilling and oil the grill grate well. Grill the chicken over medium-high heat for 4 to 5 minutes per side, or until cooked through. (Move the chicken to the cooler side of the grill if it browns too fast.)
Let the chicken rest for 3 minutes, then thinly slice on a sharp diagonal. Pile the chicken slices on toasted kaiser rolls or rustic rolls and top with chimichurri sauce. Serve, if desired, with pickled onions.
8. Chicken and Parmesan Sliders
Grind chicken breast (or ask your butcher to do this for you). You’ll want 2 pounds. Chill. Using a light touch, combine the meat with 1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese and your favorite seasonings. Form into 3-inch patties. Oil well with vegetable or olive oil. Grill over medium-high heat for 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until the center of the slider is cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Place on a toasted slider bun and top with sautéed mushrooms, onions, pesto sauce, or your favorite condiments.
Read More on Chicken Breasts:
- How To Grill Perfect Skinless, Boneless Chicken Breasts, Part 1
- Do Chicken Breasts Deserve Their Bad Rap?
- Better Than Popeyes: Grilled Chicken Sandwich With Spicy Sauce Recipe
- Chicken Souvlaki Recipe