This recipe appears in:From the Archives: The Best Juicy Grilled Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts How to Grill the Juiciest Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
Grilled skinless chicken breasts are all too often more like pieces of cardboard than proper serious eats. With a little know-how, however, we no longer have to stand for this injustice. The key to juicy grilled chicken breasts is to brine them first, then to cook them over a two-zone fire, using a thermometer to gauge doneness.
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Place one chicken breast in a resealable plastic bag or between two pieces of plastic wrap. Using a meat pounder, rolling pin, or small skillet, pound chicken breast into an even thickness about 3/4-inches in height. Repeat with remaining 3 breasts.
To make the brine, in a medium bowl whisk together the the water, salt, and sugar until the solids are dissolved. Place the chicken breast slices in brine and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange the coals on one side of the charcoal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Remove chicken breasts from brine, pat dry with paper towels, season to taste with salt and pepper, and brush lightly with olive oil. Place chicken over hot side of grill and cook until well browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Flip and continue to cook until second side is browned and chicken registers 150°F (or 160°F if you really want to stick to FDA guidelines) on an instant read thermometer inserted into the center of breast. If second side browns before it registers 150°F, move to cool side of grill, cover, and let cook until chicken reaches temperature. Remove chicken from grill, let rest for 5 to 10 minutes, then serve immediately.