The Number 1 Reason Your Grilled Chicken Breasts Suck

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pound chicken breasts down to size

Do the words “rubbery” and “dried out” get mumbled around your dinner table? It’s ok, you can keep blaming the quality of the chicken (that was just one mean/tough chicken!). But if you want to stop making sucky grilled chicken breasts, keep reading. The number one mistake most people make when grilling chicken breasts is they don’t bother to pound them down to a uniform thickness before they hit the grill. Get down to counter level and look at that chicken breast. See how thick it is on one side? You can’t expect that thing to cook evenly, from the thin point to the thick end. By the time the thick end cooks through to 165 degrees, that thinner side is going to be chicken jerky.

Next time you are preparing your chicken breasts for the grill, cover them with a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper and then use a heavy object like a meat mallet to pound the thick end to a thickness even with the rest of the beast. You don’t have to go crazy, we’re just looking for a uniform thickness that is about as thick as your thumb. If you don’t have a meat mallet, the bottom or side of a pot will work. Look, I know what you are thinking. I hate handling raw poultry too. I’d rather dump it straight from the package onto the grill, but this step is critical to great grilled chicken. Get yourself some disposable gloves if you really have to, just quit screwing up those grilled chicken breasts.

For more detailed chicken breast grilling instructions travel over to this page.

Categories: Grilling Tips


  1. ms vicky says:

    if you soak your breast in kosher salt water over not they will be moist. pork also just rinse well before cooking

  2. So that’s what I have not done. Tip is terrific. Will pass on to family and friends!

  3. Carol Cox says:

    You can let your chicken breasts spend some quality time in buttermilk, with a few spices or herbs and not only will your chicken be moist and tender but also flavorful.

  4. Chris says:

    Since I started to use a sous vide cooker, I haven’t ruined a chicken breast, pork chop, or steak. Universal approval from the knucklehead brigade!

  5. Richard says:

    The key to boneless, skinless, chicken not turning to rubber is letting the chicken spend 30 minutes to 1.5 hours, in a solution of salt, 2 o 3 teaspoons in a two to three cups of water in fine and add a little sugar to the water that will help the outside brown. Discard the brine, and cook it dry so that the outside will carmelize and lock in juices rather than on wet pan that will make the exterior rubbery instead of crisp.


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