Want to learn how to grill boneless chicken breasts on a gas grill? You have come to the right place. Everything has been explained clearly in simple steps. You will master the art of cooking succulent and delicious grilled chicken breasts much sooner than you think.
Sinking your teeth into hard, dry and tasteless chicken is a disappointing experience to say the least. Unfortunately, novice cooks make a few common mistakes that result in unappetizing chicken.
There are 3basic things that you need to cover if you want perfectly grilled chicken breasts: heat level, recipe and grilling technique. You will get plenty of useful hints about marinating, grilling and improving the flavor with the right grilling techniques.
Turn on the Heat at the Right Level
An optimum heat level is crucial for perfectly done chicken. Chicken is a delicate item. Therefore, you should be careful with the heat level while grilling chicken breasts. Too much heat for even a minute will dry out your chicken and ruin your hard work. Too little heat will take excessive time to finish and may even leave the interior undercooked. Many people find undercooked meat unappetizing. It also raises safety concerns.
Medium heat level is the key for tender, tasty and moist chicken.
If you have little or no prior experience you might be wondering how you can ensure medium heat level.
Here is how it’s done. Just keep your hand about five inches above the burning grill. If you can comfortably keep your hand still for 4 to 6 seconds, then the heating level is medium.
A Good Basic Grilled Chicken Recipe
The other key point is to use the correct recipe. The right mix of basic everyday ingredients will allow you to make delicious grilled chicken breasts that everyone will appreciate. Chicken prepared in this way is suitable for sandwiches, salads and other recipes.
Here is the recipe.
- 4 halves of skinless and boneless chicken breasts weighing 6 oz each
- ½ teaspoon seasoning of pepper and lemon
- 1½ teaspoon of lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- ¼ cup of balsamic vinegar
Here are the steps that you will need to follow.
Tenderizing meat is the first step for this recipe. This will make the chicken soft and tender.
Butterflying boneless chicken breasts gives thin cuts of meat. This is very helpful for several recipes. It will reduce the cooking time. Thinly sliced meat is also ideal for stuffed chicken.
Remember to use a sharp knife. It will let you carve well-formed slices for best results. Place the skinless boneless chicken breast on a cutting board or a clean and flat working surface. First place your hand on top of the chicken meat to compress it gently. Then slice the piece by cutting it through the middle. Stop cutting when the knife edge is an inch away from the other end of the piece. Open up the two halves in the way that you open a book.
You can further reduce the thickness of the slices. First lay out a plastic wrap or a big piece of parchment paper over your work surface. Place your chicken over this. Now use a separate piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper to cover the chicken. This arrangement will help you to butterfly chicken breasts easily.
Simply use a meat mallet or rolling pin to butterfly the chicken breasts. Don’t use too much force. A few firm blows are enough to flatten the meat further. This technique can even be used to give a more even shape to the pieces.
The chicken breasts are now ready to be marinated. Put all of the ingredients according to their given quantities into a bowl or pan. Add the prepared meat into the bowl.
Some people may feel tempted to skip marinating meat. There is no doubt that this step is time-consuming. But the results are definitely worth it. Properly marinated meat allows you to cook better barbecue. The grilled meat is more tender, soft and moist. It also has a tangy and more zestful flavor. For best results, you should therefore always marinate the meat before grilling it.
Cover the pan (or bowl) and put it inside the fridge. Allow it to sit for at least 30 minutes so that the chicken soaks up the ingredients. After about half an hour, take out the pan from the fridge. The marinade can now be drained and discarded.
If you are new to grilling, you might be wondering if longer marinating time will provide improved results.
Marinating chicken for a long time is unnecessary for this recipe. Half an hour is sufficient for the acidic mixture to impart a rich flavor and tenderize the meat. The great thing about poultry is that it does not take too long to marinate unlike beef or mutton. Acidic ingredients can reduce the time needed to marinate chicken or any other meat. These include buttermilk, lemon juice or vinegar.
If you are facing time shortage, keep in mind that marinating for some time is better than not marinating at all.
Clean and Prepare the Grill Grates
Cleaning the grill prior to cooking is the best way to start. Ensure that no food from the previous cooking session is stuck to the grills.
After the grill is clean, you can moisten the grates with cooking oil. First, dip some paper towel in cooking oil. Use tongs to hold the paper towel and gently rub the grates with it.
There is some extra effort involved with this procedure. But doing it is certainly much better since the chicken will not stick to the grill rack.
Turn on the gas fire up the burners. Keep the heat at a medium level using the technique described above.
After ensuring medium heat, use tongs to carefully put chicken breasts on the rack. Cover your grill and cook the chicken for about 5 to 7 minutes. Use tongs for flipping over the chicken breasts after 5 to 7 minutes have elapsed. Keep grilling for another 5 to 7 minutes. The thermometer should indicate 165° at this point.
If you intend to use barbecue sauce, then you should wait until the final few minutes of grilling. This will prevent the exterior from darkening excessively due to the sugar content. You should do the same for all other sweet sauces as well.
Final Preparation of Your Grilled Chicken
At this point the barbecue is nearly ready. The food looks delicious and succulent. But you must resist the temptation to consume it immediately.
Take the chicken breasts away from the grill and wrap them in foil. Allow the barbecue to rest for at least 5 minutes. This ensures even distribution of the juices for a balanced taste. The small wait is worth it. Besides, since the food is very hot it should be cooled down a little. You will be well rewarded for your patience and forbearance.
After 5 minutes you can remove the foil and serve the barbecue.
While grilled chicken breasts are by themselves delicious and wholesome, there are other ways you can dress them up for a better taste. The simplest way is to add grilled veggies. This will make a great lunch or dinner. You can also stuff it inside sandwiches or add it to salads.
There are also many great marinade recipes for variety and fabulous taste.
Here is one very interesting and delightful variation which you are sure to enjoy.
Bonus: Tropical Tangy Chicken Recipe
This sauce has a very redolent aroma that will tempt everyone and whet their appetite. This recipe is enough for 8 servings. Here are the ingredients.
- 9 to 10 boneless chicken breasts
- 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon of ground ginger
- 4 minced garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- 2 tablespoons minced dried onions
- ¼ cup of water
- 1/3 cup cooking oil
- ½ cup of soy sauce
Add all ingredients besides the chicken in a small bowl. From this, reserve a third for basting. Cover and refrigerate the basting mixture.
The remaining mixture should be poured into a plastic bag (resealable). Add chicken and seal the bag. Turn the bag over so that all of the chicken is covered.
Refrigerate this marinade for 8 hours. This will bring out exquisite flavor, juiciness and tenderness.
You can then take out the chicken and grill it as previously described. Don’t forget to use the remaining sauce for basting.
You can also explore and try out other recipes to craft gastronomic epicurean delights from your gas grill.