Perfectly Barbecued Chicken Breasts
A good salt brine keeps the meat juicy and moist, and the result is a simple, delicious dinner with lots of sophistication. For convenience, we gave you the option of using chicken with or without the bone in this recipe. While both are tasty, chicken cooked on the bone can be even more flavorful and juicy than boneless chicken breasts. Don't be nervous cooking with bone-in meat! Once you try it, you'll soon see what we mean. But the real secret to grilling chicken, bone-in or not, is keeping it to the side of the heat—that is, barbecuing it so that the natural sugars and proteins slowly break down to create the best flavor.
Uncooked boneless skinless chicken breast(s)
2 pound(s), or four 10 oz bone-in skinless breasts cut in half the short way to yield 8 pieces
- Whisk the salt into the warm water in a very large bowl until salt dissolves. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
- Submerge chicken in cooled brine. Refrigerate 1 hour.
- Off heat, coat grill with cooking spray. Prepare gas grill for medium-high, indirect cooking (barbecuing) or build a well-ashed, medium-high-heat charcoal bed in a charcoal grill and rake the coals to the sides of the cooking grate.
- Remove chicken from salt brine; rinse them and pat dry. Place chicken bone-side down on grill grate to the side of any heat source, not directly over the heat. Cover grill and barbecue 15 minutes.
- Brush chicken breasts with barbecue sauce, cover grill and continue cooking until an instant-read meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of one breast registers 165°F, about 15 minutes more (and less for boneless chicken). Transfer chicken to a cutting board and let stand for 5 minutes to reincorporate any juices before serving. Yields about 3 ounces chicken per serving.