Grilled Chicken Breast in Three Steps

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Here is a video from Melissa Clark on Grilled Chicken Breast:

Chicken breasts bulge at their middles and taper at the edges, making them hard to cook evenly over a direct hot fire. But constantly moving them around back and forth between direct and indirect heat (another option for uneven or large pieces of meat) can compromise the char because they cook so quickly.

The trick is to pound the chicken breasts, but not too thin, which could dry them out. Aim for about a thickness of about ½ to ¾ inch.

You can season the marinade or rub with anything you like. Herbs and garlic are classic. Soy sauce and sesame oil are rich and complex. A brown sugar-based spice rub gives them a spicy, shiny glaze, a little like barbecue sauce but less sticky. Don’t marinate them the day before; a few hours ahead is plenty.

Then build a hot fire, or get your gas grill nice and hot, and throw them over the flames. They’ll cook quickly and please nearly everyone — except perhaps the die-hard dark meat lovers. If you have those in your group, just substitute a couple of boneless, skinless chicken thighs for the breasts and grill them along with the breasts. Dark meat is more forgiving than white, so they don’t need pounding. But they will take a few extra minutes to cook through.

When the chicken is done, if you’ve used charcoal, you’ll still probably have some life left in the coals. Throw on some ears of corn, red pepper halves or zucchini slices, and your dinner will be complete without much added fuss. This is how summer should go.