One of the best things about summer is firing up the grill and enjoying a delicious, juicy grilled chicken dinner. This heart-healthy protein is perfect for a casual cookout with friends or a romantic dinner for two. But all too often, grilled chicken can be dry, tough, and flavorless. Not anymore! These 5 tips will show you how make the most flavorful and juiciest grilled chicken that will knock your socks off.
1. Choose The Right Chicken
When it comes to grilling, not all chicken is created equal. For the best results, opt for chicken breasts that are about 6 ounces each. Avoid using frozen chicken, as this can affect the cooking time and lead to uneven cooking.
If you can, use fresh chicken that has been refrigerated for no more than two days. This will help to ensure that the chicken is juicy and flavorful. When preparing your favorite chicken recipes, it is important to consider the quality of the chicken. It can make or break a dish!
2. Prep Your Chicken Properly
Before you start grilling, make sure to prep your chicken breasts by trimming any excess fat and removing the tenderloins (the long, stringy piece of white meat attached to the breast). Tenderloins tend to cook faster than the rest of the breast, so removing them helps ensure that your chicken will cook evenly.
Season the chicken breasts with salt, pepper, and any other desired spices or herbs—I like to use a little garlic powder for an extra boost of flavor.
3. Seasoning Is Essential
Brine your chicken before grilling. This simple step will help to keep your chicken moist and juicy. Just soak your chicken in a saltwater solution for 30 minutes to an hour before grilling.
Use a spice rub or marinade to add flavor. There are endless possibilities when it comes to flavoring your grilled chicken. Experiment with different spice rubs or marinades to find a combination that you love. Just make sure to let the chicken sit in the rub or marinade for at least 30 minutes before grilling.
4. Get Your Grill Hot—But Not Too Hot
Grill over medium-high heat. You want the grill to be hot enough to sear the outside of the chicken and cook it through, but not so hot that it burns the skin or dries out the meat. Aim for a temperature of around 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Once your grill is preheated, use a paper towel soaked in vegetable oil to grease the grates. This will help prevent your chicken from sticking—and trust me, nothing's worse than trying to pry stuck-on chicken off of a hot grill!
4. Grill Like A Pro
Now it's time to start grilling! Place your seasoned chicken breasts on the grill and cook for about eight minutes per side, or until they reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Be sure to keep an eye on your chicken so it doesn't overcook — nobody likes dry, rubbery grilled chicken!
Avoid flipping your chicken too much. Once you've placed your chicken on the grill, resist the temptation to flip it every few minutes. flipping it too often will dry out the meat and prevent those beautiful grill marks from forming. Flip it only once or twice during cooking so that each side has a chance to caramelize and form those gorgeous grill marks.
5. Let It Rest
When you pull a grilled chicken off the grill, it's tempting to start slicing into it immediately. But if you want to ensure that your chicken is juicy and flavorful, you'll need to let it rest first. This may seem like a strange concept, but there's actually science behind it.
When meat is cooked, the muscles contract and the juices are forced out. If you cut into the meat right away, those juices will simply run out, leaving your chicken dry and tough. However, if you give the meat a chance to rest, the juices will have a chance to redistribute evenly throughout the flesh.
As a result, your chicken will be juicier and more flavorful. So next time you're grilling chicken, resist the temptation to dive in right away. Let your chicken rest for a few minutes, and you'll be rewarded with a tastier meal.
The next time you are firing up the grill, with these five tips, you'll be able to make grilled chicken that is both flavorful and juicy. You and your guests will end up licking their fingers to devour the delicious juices. So fire up the grill and enjoy!