I have always had a problem with grilling chicken and not overcooking it to the point of being dry. I have tried marinating the chicken but it doesn't always do the trick. I had heard of brining before and I had even tried a recipe a few months back but I didn't really care for it. Brining is when you allow poultry or meat of your choice to marinate in a solution of salt and water. Sometimes sugar, spices and/or oil is added to the mixture. But it is used primarily to tenderize poultry and/or meats that easily dry out when baked or grilled.
I decided to give brining another try yesterday and I am glad I did. I tried a different recipe that I found on allrecipes.com. Don't let the amount of salt scare you or think it is a typo...it is 3/4 cup of kosher salt NOT table salt which makes enough brine for up to 10 pounds of chicken. I only used half of the solution for 8 chicken breasts. Chick Fil A and Kentucky Fried Chicken both brine their chicken, or so I have heard, before battering and frying their chicken and it is always tender and juicy.
I wish I would have been prepared to take better pictures. I will definitely be using this recipe again. I'm thinking that next time I will add fresh, minced garlic and maybe some fresh ginger.
Oh and one more thing. I am always so worried about undercooking the chicken that I end up overcooking it. A while back I bought a digital meat thermometer at Williams-Sonoma. It takes the guesswork out of grilling chicken to the proper temperature. They are relatively inexpensive and you can probably find them at just about anywhere that sells kitchen supplies.
Let's get grilling!!!!
BRINED GRILLED CHICKEN BREASTS
1 gallon of warm water
3/4 cup of kosher salt
2/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup canola oil
10 lbs. Chicken (does not have to be just breasts)
Combine the ingredients together in a bowl or container that is twice the volume of the water. Mix well until salt and sugar is dissolved. Set aside and let cool completely.
Rinse chicken breast and add to either a container or a large Ziploc bag. Pour the cooled brine over the chicken. If you are using a container then cover and place in the refrigerator. If you are using a Ziploc bag, place the filled bag inside a pan or bowl so if it leaks you will not have a huge mess to clean up. I have learned this the hard way...not fun!
Refrigerate for 2-4 hours. I refrigerated my chicken for 2 hours and it was great but I might try a little longer next time just to compare.
Light the grill. If you are using charcoal try to mound the coal on one side of the grill. If you are using a gas grill, turn the grill on high.
Remove the chicken from the brine. Throw away the brine...do not reuse! Rinse the chicken and pat dry.
I wadded up a few paper towels into a ball and gripped them with a set of tongs. I dipped it in a little bit of oil, not dripping or you will get flare-up, and rubbed it across the grill grates. (You may have another method, please share if you do) Place the chicken directly over the coals or on the gas grill. Grill for approximately 2 minutes or until there are good grill marks. I am frequently lifting the chicken and working my tongs underneath the chicken breasts to keep them from sticking. Flip the chicken over and do the same thing.
When you have good grill marks on both sides of the chicken, place the chicken over the part of the charcoal grill with no coals. If you are using a gas grill, turn the middle burner off and the other burners to medium heat and place the chicken over the middle section without the fire. Continue grilling for about 10 minutes before turning and grilling the other side until the internal temperature is 170 degrees. Some websites say 160 degrees is enough but others say 170 degrees. I say better safe than sorry so I will cook until the temperature is 170 degrees at the thickest part of the chicken.
Serve this with a salad, baked potato, garlic bread and fresh cantaloupe and you have a great "summatime" meal!