Grilled chicken breasts can be the epitome of boring. Too often they’re dried out or rubbery. But when soaked in a super-quick marinade — with balsamic, brown sugar, and dried thyme — you’re guaranteed deliciousness.
How long can I keep the chicken in the marinade?
We’d recommend no longer than 12 hours. Technically (according to the USDA) you can keep raw chicken refrigerated for up to 2 days, but we don’t recommend marinating that long. You’re likely to get mushy chicken.
How do I keep the chicken from sticking on the grill?
As long as you give each side enough time, it shouldn’t. When your chicken gets those nice charred lines, it naturally releases from your grill grates. If you try to flip and the chicken feels stuck, try giving it another minute or two. It’ll release naturally, when it’s ready.
…But we like to preheat, oil, and repeat just in case
1) Turn the grill to high (if using gas) and close the lid. Let it preheat for about 10 minutes. 2) Dip a folded paper towel in a bit of oil, open the lid, and using tongs, quickly brush the grill grates with oil. Close the lid, keeping it on high heat for about 20 seconds. 3) Repeat this one more time until you are ready to cook the chicken. By oiling and heating the grill grate, you are essentially creating a nonstick surface. Pretty amazing, right?
What should the internal temperature of my chicken be?
According to the FDA, all chicken should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165°. We prefer our chicken breasts closer to 150° because we’re rule breakers. 😉Jokes aside, the real reason we don’t go all the way to 165° is because boneless skinless chicken breasts have basically no fat, so in order to maintain some juiciness we pull them a little early.
Can I adapt the marinade?
Absolutely! Swap in a different acid for balsamic like champagne vinegar or lemon juice. Try different dried or fresh herbs like cilantro or oregano. You could even sub out the brown sugar for honey or agave. We love the marinade on our cilantro-lime chicken, which you can sub in entirely for this one. Also feel free to add in your favorite spices or even hot sauce. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are the perfect blank canvas to experiment.
How hot should my grill be for chicken breasts?
Depending on the size of your chicken breasts, a two-zone (that means two temperature) fire is the way to go. If you have really small chicken breasts, you can get away with a medium-high heat, because by the time you have nice grill marks on both sides the chicken will be cooked through as well. For larger chicken breasts, get your sear marks on both sides over high heat, then move them to a medium-low heat to finish cooking.
What should I serve with this?
Well, since you’ve already got the grill going, how about some grilled corn, grilled asparagus, and maybe a grilled pineapple sundae for dessert? (Can you tell we’re excited for grilling season? 😅)
YIELDS: 4 SERVINGS
PREP TIME: 0 HOURS 15 MINS
TOTAL TIME: 0 HOURS 45 MINS
1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. brown sugar
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried rosemary
4 chicken breasts
Freshly ground black pepper
Freshly chopped parsley, for garnish
- In a medium bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar, olive oil, brown sugar, garlic, and dried herbs, and season generously with salt and pepper. Reserve ¼ cup.
- Add chicken to the bowl and toss to combine. Let marinate at least 20 minutes and up to overnight.
- Preheat grill to medium high. Add chicken and grill, basting with reserved marinade, until cooked through, 6 minutes per side.
- Garnish with parsley before serving.