Grilling chicken breasts seems like it should be easy. Too often, you end up with overcooked, bland chicken breasts. America’s Test Kitchen demonstrates how it is possible to achieve a nicely browned, perfectly cooked and flavorful grilled chicken breast. We shared the recipe in our May 2016 story, “Better Grilling Through Science.”
Here are the recipe tester’s notes: If using kosher chicken, do not brine. The milk powder enables these chicken breasts to be both browned and glazed because the protein and sugar in the milk protein allows for faster browning. From “Master of the Grill: Foolproof Recipes, Top-Rated Gadgets, Gear & Ingredients Plus Clever Test Kitchen Tips and Fascinating Food Science,” by editors of America’s Test Kitchen (Editors at America’s Test Kitchen, 2016).
1/4 cup salt
1/4 cup sugar
4 (6- to 8-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
2 teaspoons nonfat dry milk powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Vegetable oil spray
Spicy Hoisin Glaze:
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/3 cup hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1-2 tablespoons sriracha sauce
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon five-spice powder
Dissolve salt and sugar in 1 1/2 quarts cold water in a large container. Submerge chicken in brine, cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 hour. Remove chicken from brine and pat dry with paper towels. Combine milk powder and pepper in a bowl.
For charcoal grill, open bottom vent completely. Light large chimney starter mounded with charcoal briquettes. When top coals are partially covered with ash, pour two-thirds evenly over half of grill, then pour remaining coals over other half of grill. Set cooking grate in place, cover, and open lid vent completely. Heat grill until hot, about 5 minutes.
For gas grill, turn all the burners to high, cover and heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes. Leave primary burner on high and turn other burners to medium-high.
Make glaze: Whisk vinegar and cornstarch in a small saucepan until cornstarch has dissolved. Whisk in hoisin, corn syrup, sriracha, ginger and five-spice powder. Bring mixture to a boil over high heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl.
Clean and oil cooking grate. Sprinkle half of milk powder mixture over 1 side of chicken breast. Lightly spray coated side of breasts with oil spray until milk powder is moistened. Flip chicken and sprinkle remaining milk powder mixture over second side. Lightly spray with oil spray.
Place chicken, skinned side down, on hotter part of grill and cook until browned on first side, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Flip chicken, brush with 2 tablespoons glaze, and cook until browned on second side, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Flip chicken, move to cooler side of grill, brush with 2 tablespoons glaze and cook for 2 minutes.
Repeat flipping and brushing 2 more times, cooking for 2 minutes each side. Flip chicken, brush with remaining glaze, and cook until chicken registers 160 degrees, 1 to 3 minutes. Transfer chicken to plate and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Yield: 4 servings.
[gpp_icon type=”summary”] Grilled Glazed Boneless Chicken Breasts