Pounding Makes Grilling Juicy Marinated Chicken Breasts a Snap for Dinner Tonight

Mechele R. Dillard's picture

A 10-minute marinade makes this grilled chicken recipe an easy last-minute option for dinner tonight, and pounding the chicken breast makes it simple to cook to moist, juicy perfection.

Grilling chicken can be tricky. It has always been my cooking nemesis, in fact. But, I recently tried a recipe that not only helped me grill a tasty chicken breast, I was able to grill it without drying it out like shoe leather, as well.

I like chicken breasts. I’ve never cared for the dark meat in particular. But, the breasts are a little harder to cook without overcooking, and too often I will cook them to the point of complete and utter dryness—not good, in other words. A few days ago, however, I decided to do what I should have been doing all along, and it was just the thing my chicken breasts needed to be “cookable”: I pounded it.

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts, when done right, are delicious. But, chicken breasts, as we all know, are not evenly sized pieces of meat. Typically, they are thick on one end, and taper down to a thinner point. So, getting that entire piece of chicken to the “doneness” point without overcooking at least part of it has always been, well, impossible for me. Additionally, I am one of those cooks who is just terrified of serving a piece of underdone chicken and making someone at the table sick. So, I have multiple reasons for overcooking dinner when chicken is on the grill—and, typically, I do.

Last week, for whatever reason, I decided I was going to break my habit of overgrilling chicken. I looked around for chicken-cooking tips, marinade ideas, and I brought together something that worked for me—and I thought I would share with you, my friends and readers at Huliq.

Easy Herb-Marinated Grilled Chicken

First, pound your chicken breasts. Yes, take the time to do it, and you will not regret it. Most meats we cook on the grill—steak, burgers, fish, etc.—are uniform in thickness. That, of course, is what a chicken breast is missing: uniformity. So, take a piece of plastic wrap and cover your pounding surface. Place your chicken on it, and fold the plastic wrap loosely over it, giving the chicken room to spread. Then, take your meat mallet (some people use a heavy pan) and just give the breast a few good whacks, until it is uniform in thickness, a couple of inches thick. Not only does it give the chicken breast the uniformity it needs to cook easily on the grill, it gives the illusion that there is more there than there really is—a plus in itself, many would agree.

After pounding your chicken, make a marinade. The particular marinade I used last week was a great one because it does not need hours to be good; a few minutes to “set” it on the chicken, and it was ready to go. You will need the following:

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. dried savory
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes

Mix your herbs (by the way, dried leaves of these herbs work great, but ground is fine, too) and oil; it will be thick, almost like a paste. Coat your pounded chicken breasts with the marinade (after pounding, this amount of marinade was perfect for the two chicken breasts I fixed). Set in the refrigerator while you start your grill heating. In about 10 minutes, your herbed chicken will be ready to go. Grill on medium-high heat until cooked through—about 10 minutes on the first side, 5-7 minutes on the flipside.

This chicken was delicious and moist; served with roasted potatoes, corn on the cob and a green salad, it was a fantastic, easy and simple weekday meal—and it is definitely going to be in my regular meal rotation from now on.


Huliq readers, what are your favorite marinades for chicken on the grill? Let us know in the comment section below!

Image: Wikimedia Commons

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