We had this chicken the other day, and my wife gave me the biggest compliment. She told me “after you make this, you can tell how badly people over cook chicken breasts.” I know, she’s a keeper.
Happens to be, every bar-b-que I go to, the chicken breasts never get finished. Now it could be because, everyone always feels the need to make chicken breasts “for the women,” thinking that the women won’t eat the hotdogs and hamburgers, but we all know that’s just not true. In fact, a new study* published stated that married women, when sitting next to their husbands at bar-b-ques will in fact consume more hotdogs/hamburgers than their husband, if said hotdog/hamburger is on their husband’s plate. It’s true (*study may or may not be factual).
In my mind, the more likely reason grilled chicken breasts don’t get finished, is because, most of the time, they’re too dried out, and just not that good. However, fret not, I think I have the cure.
First thing we need to do, is get a uniform thickness throughout the chicken breast. You’ll notice, the breast tapers and thins out, so the way to fix that, is by butterflying it, or pounding it out. I personally like butterflying it, because I think it’s easier than pounding it out. Then cut off any random edges that are too thin and will burn while the rest of the chicken cooks through.
Ok, now that we have the right thickness, we can decide how to cook it. When it comes to cooking in a bbq grill, there are two basic options, cooking it over the actual fire, or not cooking over the fire. And I’ll let you in on a secret, the terms bar-b-que-ing and grilling, are in fact two different things. “Grilling” means to cook over the actual fire source, whereas “bar-b-que”-ing means to cook on the other side of the “grill” as the fire source. Usually grilling denotes a high heat, fast way of cooking, and bbq-ing is a slower, low temperature type of cooking. For whatever reason, the terms have become interchangeable in our vernacular, but I digress.
The best option for thin cuts of meats, ie steaks, and thin chicken cutlets, are to grill them over high heat. The thicker the piece of meat gets, then you might have to utilize both grilling and bbq-ing, by first putting over direct heat, and then moving the meat to the other side, and cooking it over “in-direct heat.” For these chicken cutlets, since we already thinned them out, the best way to cook them, is over really high heat, and really quickly, like 2-3 minutes per side.
Now onto the flavoring. This is a really simple and easy “recipe,” that I got from Ayelet’s sister Dvora (I think), and this is my go to grilled chicken recipe. Grab some basil from the garden (I hope you like basil, because in case you haven’t noticed, everything I’ve made recently has basil in it, because we’re growing some on the porch over here), and chop it up.
Put it in a bowl along with minced garlic, olive oil, and salt and pepper, and mix together.
And brush it over the chicken.
Like I was saying before, these are going to be cooked really fast over very high heat. So it’s really important to pre-heat the grill for at least for 10 minutes. When it’s good and hot, you can oil up your grill, by dipping a paper towel in oil, and brushing it over the grates, and when ready, slap these bad boys on the grill.
You’ll notice after about two minutes (depending on how good your grill is) the sides of the chicken will start to turn from pink rawness, to opaque cooked-ness, and that’s when I usually flip them. Then let them cook through, and that’s it
Now I’m not gonna lie, these don’t look all that attractive, and I know that. I think the reason is because it’s lacking grill marks (and also because it’s a freaking chicken breast for godsake!). And the reason it’s lacking grill marks, is because I don’t have that great of a bbq, and the grates are not made of wrought iron (at least that’s what I think the reason is). You see, with wrought iron, or any of those really heavy grates, they have an enormous capacity to hold heat, and when you put the chicken on the grill, it essentially cools it off somewhat, so you want something that has a very large heat “reserve” to compensate for that. And that’s essentially what iron will do, and that’s why you’ll get awesome grill marks. Most of the time the presence or lack of grill marks doesn’t effect the flavor, so it’s more important to take the chicken off before it dries out, than to get proper grill marks. The way around having a so-so bbq is to really pre-heat the grill, and get it scorching hot, and one good way to do that besides time, is to cover the grates with some aluminum foil a while it’s pre-heating.
Basil-Garlic Grilled Chicken Breast
- Boneless, skinless chicken breast, butterflied
- 5-10 basil leaves, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Pre-heat grill on high
- Combine basil, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper, adjusting the amounts to how much you need, and brush it over the chicken
- Grill on high over direct heat for about 2-3 minutes per side…when you start to see the “white” opaqueness creeping up the sides of the chicken, is when you should flip it.
- Chug a beer in less than 2 minutes, and it should be ready by the time you’re done
- Eat it
- Eat it again
- Contemplate why it only took you two bites to inhale this boiling piece of meat in your pie-hole, and then have another breast.
- Realize you are probably the only person who actually reads the recipe down here on the bottom of the post, and that you’re probably the only person who reads past the first paragraph! Hooray for you, you get a prize!