How to Grill Marinated Chicken Breast

When you grill marinated chicken breast it can make a mess but boneless skinless chicken can be very dry and tasteless when not marinated. With this technique you can get all the extra flavor and extra moisture without the mess.

grill marinated chicken breast finished

Choose your marinade: the marinade we are using for this a combination of Italian salad dressing and Goya Sazon seasoning. We will be using this chicken for fajitas and have found this combination works very well. But there are many marinades on the market so use whatever sounds good today. Set aside about a quarter of the marinade for use at the end of cook.

bonless skinless chicken marinating in ziploc bag

First we place the chicken breasts into a large Ziploc bag then add about half the bottle of Italian salad dressing and use the entire packet of the Goya seasoning. Seal the Ziploc and mix the seasoning thoroughly until it is spread evenly through the bag. Set the bag in the fridge overnight and flip it over about half way through the marination process. It’s not a crime if you forget to turn it, you will get slightly better results if you remember to do it though.

If you are short on time you have a couple of options: You can inject the marinade into the breast or you can fork it. What I mean by that is poke some holes into the thickest part of the meat before placing it into the marinade. If you inject it, you can grill it right away. With the fork technique you should still marinate for a while but you can be grilling in an hour or so.

To grill marinated chicken breast: Heat your grill to a medium high heat. You will be using indirect heat for this. I prefer to heat the entire grill surface and then turn a burner off right before placing the chicken on the grill.

blotting the marinade off of chicken breast

Remove the chicken breast from the bag and place onto a plate and blot the chicken breast dry with a paper towel. This step is important. Your grill will be a mess and most likely your chicken will burn if you do not blot the marinade off. Throw the bag with the used marinade away.

Here is what your grill grates will look like if you do not blot them.

ditry grill grates

Place the chicken breast onto the grill in a spot with no direct heat. If your heat source is only on one side be sure to place the thicker side of the breast toward the heat. You can also lower the heat and place it onto an upper rack if you don’t have multiple burners.

marinated chicken breast on the grill

Grill marinated chicken breast for 5 to 6 minutes and then rotate it 90 degrees on the grate. After another 5 to 6 minutes turn it over. Repeat the 5 to 6 minute rotation that we did on the first side. Check the temperature of the chicken at this point depending on the size you should be around 100 to 120 degrees.

At this point any left over marinade should have dried off of the surface of the chicken so we can move it over the direct heat for finishing. Depending on your temperature reading this should take another 5 to 10 minutes. This is where the marinade we set aside comes into play. With a basting brush apply a light coating of the remaining marinade after you have moved the chicken breast to the heat. Wait a few minutes and brush on another layer the first layer will absorb into the meat and the second should give you a nice coat.

We are shooting to pull these off of our grill at a temp. of 155 to 160 degrees.

marinated chicken breast on the grill

After removing chicken breast from the grill, place on a plate and tent with tinfoil for an additional 5 minutes. This should bring the chicken up to a safe 165 degree internal temperature.

When you know how to grill marinated chicken breast correctly I am sure you will do it all the time. We do around here. It also keeps from complaining that the wife keeps buying boneless skinless chicken.

About the author: Mike is the owner of 4thegrill.com, a Certified Food Safety Professional and KCBS member.

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