Grilled chicken is a family favorite of ours, but it can be tricky to make. Have you grilled chicken, only to have it turn out dry? Chicken can be tricky to grill and still keep those juicy flavors intact. We are sharing all the secrets on how we grill chicken while keeping it infused with juices so it’s never dry. It’s a simple set of tricks, but they work every time! Are you ready to learn those secrets? Keep reading, or jump directly to our recipe with the button above.
How do I keep my chicken breasts from drying out when cooking?
Have you ever cooked or grilled chicken only to have it end up a little on the dry side? Or worse, have you invited friends over for a cookout and your chicken didn’t cut the mustard? There are several secrets to keeping your chicken moist and juicy and we are going to share all of them with you.
Once you learn how to make a juicy grilled chicken breast, you will never change back from the recipe. You might change the poultry seasoning, but you won’t change how to grill the perfect, juicy grilled chicken.
There are multiple things that make for a perfectly grilled chicken breast:
- Flip time (you don’t want any of the chicken becoming too hot.)
- Placement on the grill
- Charcoal being used
- Olive oil based cooking spray
- Resting time
How to make the perfect grilled chicken
We just talked about all of the important steps above to keep your chicken perfect and juicy. Now we will go into detail on how each of these items plays a role in the perfectly grilled chicken breast.
What temperature should I grill chicken?
You should always strive to keep the grill at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Overheating the grill is one of the main reasons that chicken will dry out. Keeping a good even temperature is one of the biggest factors in keeping the chicken juicy in any recipe. These days outdoor grills like the Napoleon can maintain temperatures and allow for even cooking. It’s one of the best investments you can make if you like good food and grilling.
*Another tip – always use LUMP charcoal. It doesn’t burn too fast like other charcoals, and it allows you more control over the heat in the grill.
*BONUS: Lump charcoal can usually be used more than one time if you close down the grill once you are finished cooking. That means you might cook chicken tonight and still have enough lump charcoal on the grill to cook steaks tomorrow night.
How do I grill a chicken breast?
Now that you have the right temperature and the right charcoal, you need to prepare the chicken. This is another secret to keeping the chicken moist. We use an olive oil spray that we coat the chicken breasts with before using any seasoning. This step is one of the best ways to keep those juices sealed inside of the chicken.
How important is grill placement and time?
Grill placement and time on the grate are very important. Generally, I see the best results when I place the chicken breasts in the center of the grill for 1 minute, flip the chicken, and then 1 more minute. Note: I close the grill after each flip to keep the temperature even.
Flipping the chicken at certain points is also very important. After those first 2 minutes in the center, I then open the grill again and move the chicken to the outer areas of the grill. This allows the temperature to stay more even and also keeps the chicken away from the hottest point in the center. I will place them on the outer edge for 10 minutes and close the lid, then repeat and grill 10 minutes on the other side with the lid closed.
After 22 minutes of total grill time, I then use a thermometer and make sure the internal temperature is 165 degrees Fahrenheit. If not, I continue to grill and check every 2 minutes, flipping if needed.
Do I need to “rest” my chicken?
This is one of the last little secrets I have to the perfectly grilled chicken breasts. Once you remove the chicken from the grill, cover tightly in foil and place to the side. Finish up your sides, shut down the grill, just don’t touch the chicken for a solid 10 minutes. This is the resting time.
Resting the chicken in foil for 10 minutes will actually still allow the chicken to cook under the foil. It also helps sear in the seasonings and allows the juices to start surfacing in the chicken.
We also love to top our chicken and salmon with this avocado salsa recipe. We don’t do it every time, but it’s an amazing combination you should try.
- 1 Tbsp cilantro flakes
- 2 medium avocados (diced)
- 1/4 red onion diced
- 1 tomato (diced)
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- juice of a large lime
- salt/pepper to taste
Mix those together and place it on top of your freshly grilled chicken. It will be the flavor explosion of all flavor explosions!
It is literally one of the most amazing and juiciest grilled chicken recipes you will ever have. Once you get started with this recipe, you will never go back to the old, dry ways of cooking
Now that you know the secrets to grill the perfect chicken breast, you might also like these other grilled chicken recipes:
The Perfect Grilled Chicken Breast
- 4 chicken breasts boneless skinless
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp cayenne
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp thyme
- 1/4 tsp oregano flakes
- 1/4 tsp sage rubbed
- 1 pinch cumin to kick it up!
- In a small dish mix all of the ingredients for the poultry seasoning and set aside.
- Rinse and dry the chicken breasts and place on a prepared baking sheet.
- Heat grill to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Take Olive Oil based cooking spray and coat the chicken evenly on both sides. (the first part of the secret to keeping them juicy!)
- Rub the poultry seasoning on both sides of the chicken, and then place on the grill.
- Grill on each side for 10-12 minutes or until the internal temperature is 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Remove from grill and cover with foil for 10 minutes to allow it to rest. (the final secret to keeping the chicken juicy.)
- Make sure the grill is at the correct temperature for chicken. 350 F.
- Flipping the chicken breasts at specific times is key.
- One secret to keeping the chicken juicy is to coat the chicken breasts with an olive oil based cooking spray on both sides before adding the seasoning.
- The second secret to keeping the chicken juicy is to allow the chicken to rest covered in foil for 10 minutes after it's pulled from the grill.
- Lump charcoal is always best to use when grilling as it allows the grill to maintain an even heat.
- Top the grilled chicken breast with avocado salsa for even more flavors.