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How To Grill Chicken Breasts For Your Weenie Husband

Here at the swanky neighborhood near you, we have a long-standing problem.  Mr. Potter does not like dark meat chicken.  Dark meat chicken is delicious, moist, stews and grills well, and is great in curries and stir-fries.  I can sneak the stuff into him in a stir fry or a curry--but less adorned than that and he will turn up his nose.  Having grown up on a farm, he prefers his chicken in a form that does not look like chicken: skin off, bones gone.  And yes, sadly, white meat.

Therefore, I have had to learn how to cook skinless, boneless chicken breasts on the grill and not turn them into Kleenex.  Ken actually wouldn't mind if I did that, but I couldn't eat them then, so it's a matter of survival.  And patience.

Here is what I do.  This recipe will work with boneless, skinless thighs, by the way, too.  (You know--what normal people eat!)


As many skinless, boneless chicken breasts as you want to cook.

Plenty of olive oil

The juice of a lemon (or two if you're making lots and lots)

three or four minced or pressed garlic cloves (multiply up if you're cooking for a crowd)

kosher salt and a few grinds of black pepper (be generous with the salt)

Plenty of whatever fresh herbs you have around, washed and chopped--oregano and thyme are especially nice--or about half the quantity of dried herbs of your choice, rubbed between your palms before you use them. 

First, look at your chicken breasts.  If they aren't of the thin-sliced variety, you'll need to pound them.  You can do that by putting them, one at a time, into a plastic baggie and using a meat-pounding hammer or an empty wine bottle.  You want to make them about the same thickness so they will cook evenly, and thinner is better.  You may want to cut them in half after that if they seem to have become plate-sized!  The "tender" will probably come off.  You can cook that along with the breast, but be aware it'll get done really fast.

Then, put them all in a BIG plastic baggie and add about twice as much olive oil as you have lemon juice, the herbs, the garlic, the salt and pepper, and of course the lemon juice.  Make sure you have enough liquid to touch all the chicken.  Seal the bag and squish the chicken in the marinade.  Then put it aside for about an hour if you have time.  Best to keep it in the fridge, but you can and should bring it out to come up to room temp about twenty minutes before cooking.

When it's time to eat, heat your grill nice and hot.  Using tongs so your hands don't get oily, pull the chicken out of the baggie and carefully arrange them on the grill.  Watch for flare-ups from the oil! If you've pounded them properly, they should cook through quickly. If you're grilling the thin sliced chicken breasts, they will cook in a heartbeat.  Put them on and turn them right away. You'll let the pounded breasts go a minute or two before turning.  Check to make sure they're almost not pink anymore before you take them off; they'll come up in temperature a few degrees as they sit off the fire.  Wait five minutes before serving.

The breasts shouldn't be dried out--and they do make good leftovers for sandwiches and salad the next day. 

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