Perfect Chicken Breast for the Holidays
More than a few of us will celebrate the holidays quietly with a table for one. Or two. While we probably wouldn’t have considered chicken breast an option in 2019, it’s starting to look pretty good. In fact, this much-maligned part of the bird is starting to look darn good.
Yes, we’ve heard the arguments against it. It’s bland. It’s dry. But it doesn’t have to be either of those things. Treat it right, and chicken breast—the little black dress of the poultry world—can be quite alluring, especially when grilled or smoked.
You can brine it, marinate it, stuff it, or slice it into strips for sates, wrap it with bacon, etc. Easy, affordable, and oh, so adaptable.
Tips for Cooking Perfect Chicken Breast for the Holidays
Here are our best tips for getting the most out of chicken breast.
1. Buy the best chicken breasts you can afford.
Buy the best chicken breasts you can afford, preferably, free-range organic birds that have been air-chilled.
2. Buy skin-on chicken breasts.
If possible, buy skin-on chicken breasts. The fat in the skin will keep them moist and flavorful.
3. Brine the breasts for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
If you have time, brine the breasts for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Dissolve 1/4 cup of kosher salt in cold water, submerge the breasts, and refrigerate. Or marinate them for up to 3 hours in your favorite marinade. Dab any excess moisture off with a paper towel before grilling to achieve the best grill marks.
4. Remove any tenders from the breast.
Remove any tenders from the underside of the breasts to ensure even cooking. Use them to make kebabs or sates.
5. Do not overcook.
Do not overcook. We like to bring the breasts to an internal temperature of 165.
6. Let the meat rest before serving.
Let the meat rest for 5 minutes before serving. Simply tent it with aluminum foil.
7. For serving, slice the breasts on a sharp diagonal.
8. Stuff your chicken breasts.
If the breasts are thick, make a cut through the side and stuff them with mozzarella cheese (or your favorite melting cheese), fresh basil, and pepperoni. (It’s a healthier version of a calzone!)
Our Favorite Chicken Recipes:
- How to Grill Perfect Skinless, Boneless Chicken Breasts, Part 1
- How to Grill Perfect Skinless, Boneless Chicken Breasts, Part 2
- Green Chile Chicken Under Bricks
- Bourbon-Brined Chicken