Thursday, June 18, 2009

Slow Grilled Chicken Breasts

After the rub has been applied

Have you noticed lately how difficult it is to buy a bone-in chicken breast at the grocery store? It seems most of us just want the boneless/skinless variety.  Sometimes I'll buy a whole chicken to just get a couple of breasts, but then I have to figure out what to do with the legs, thighs, and wings. Don't get me wrong, I use boneless chicken several times a week.  You can add it to sauces, eat it as nuggets, put it in soups, stir fries or any other number of things.  I just don't like them sitting next to my mashed potatoes.  They seem -  well, blah! But the mighty whole chicken breast is moist, meaty and flavorful.  It's as if when you pull out the bone you pull out the flavor. Now I watch when my store puts them on sale and I purchase at least a dozen and I freeze them. The cost is less than $.80 per breast.

Last year I lifted a recipe for slow grilled chicken breasts off the internet site  The original recipe was by Howie Rumberg, an associated press writer, and was originally published in several newspapers across the country on May 14th, 2008. This has to be one of the best grilled chicken recipes I have ever eaten.  You could even say it is to die for - and with all the sodium in it you just may! I have adapted it slightly to reduce the salt.

Slow Grilled Chicken Breasts

3 tablespoons coarse or kosher salt
2 tablespoon freshly-ground pepper (I reduced this to 1 - a personal preference)
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts*
4 teaspoons olive oil

*You can use skin-on or skinless bone-in chicken breasts.  Both are delicious.

Preheat your barbeque grill
  • If using charcoal, the grill is ready when the coals have a gray-white ash coating. Using a poker, divide the coals into two piles, pushing each to one side of the grill. Place a pan between the coals beneath the grate to catch fat drippings and help prevent flare-ups.
  • If using a gas grill, leave one side off and heat one side to a medium to medium high heat. If possible, place a pan beneath the chicken to catch fat drippings and help prevent flare-ups. There wasn't enough room to do this on my grill, but I didn't have any problems.
While the grill heats, prepare the chicken breasts. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the salt, black pepper and brown sugar. Rub olive oil over the chicken-on both sides and then pat on the rub. Arrange the chicken breasts skin side up so the chicken pieces are not over the flames or hot coals. Cover the grill (leaving any vents open), cook for 30 minutes, and walk away. Do not open the lid of the grill for 30 minutes - walk away!

After 30 minutes, open the grill, turn the chicken pieces over, recover the grill, and cook for another 30 minutes without opening the grill. Check chicken at the thickest part with an instant read thermometer. The temperature should read 165 degrees.  Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before serving.  Serves 4. Life is good - enjoy!

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