The Ultimate Guide to BBQ’ing Juicy, Flavorful Chicken Breasts

Are you tired of dry, bland chicken breasts? Look no further, my friend! In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the art of BBQ’ing chicken breasts to perfection, unlocking a world of mouth-watering flavors and tender, juicy textures. Get ready to impress your friends and family with your newfound BBQ skills!

Why BBQ Chicken Breasts?

Chicken breasts are a staple in many households, but let’s be honest – they can often be underwhelming. That’s where BBQ’ing comes in! Grilling over an open flame or smoky wood chips adds an incredible depth of flavor that takes chicken breasts from mundane to magnificent. Plus, it’s a healthier cooking method compared to frying or battering.

Preparation is Key

Before you fire up the grill, there are a few crucial steps to ensure your chicken breasts turn out perfectly:

1. Brine or Marinade

Brining or marinating your chicken breasts is a game-changer. It not only infuses them with flavor but also helps keep them moist and tender during the cooking process.


  • Mix 1/4 cup of salt with 4 cups of water until dissolved.
  • Add any desired spices or herbs (e.g., peppercorns, bay leaves, garlic cloves).
  • Submerge the chicken breasts in the brine and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 2 hours.


  • Whisk together olive oil, vinegar or citrus juice, herbs, spices, and aromatics of your choice.
  • Place the chicken breasts in a resealable bag or shallow dish and pour the marinade over them.
  • Marinate for at least 30 minutes (or up to 24 hours for intense flavor).

2. Bring Them to Room Temperature

Take the chicken breasts out of the fridge about 30 minutes before grilling. This helps them cook more evenly and prevents the outside from overcooking while the inside remains raw.

3. Pat Them Dry

Use paper towels to gently pat the chicken breasts dry before seasoning or grilling. Moisture on the surface can prevent proper browning and crisping.

Seasoning and Sauces

Now it’s time to add flavor! Chicken breasts are a blank canvas, so get creative with your favorite spice blends, rubs, and sauces.

  • Dry Rubs: Try a classic BBQ rub with brown sugar, paprika, chili powder, and garlic powder. Or, go bold with a Cajun or jerk seasoning.
  • Wet Rubs or Pastes: Combine spices with olive oil, mustard, or yogurt for a flavorful coating that locks in moisture.
  • BBQ Sauces: Brush on your favorite BBQ sauce during the last few minutes of cooking for a sweet, tangy glaze.

Grilling Techniques

There are a few different methods for grilling chicken breasts, each with its own advantages:

1. Direct Grilling

This is the classic way to grill chicken breasts. Place them directly over the hot coals or flames and cook for about 6-8 minutes per side, flipping once.


  • Fast cooking time
  • Char-grilled flavor


  • Higher risk of drying out the chicken
  • Flare-ups from dripping fat

2. Indirect Grilling

Set up your grill for indirect heat by placing the coals or flames on one side and the chicken breasts on the other. This method is slower but more gentle.


  • Lower risk of drying out
  • More even cooking


  • Longer cooking time
  • Less char flavor

3. Reverse Sear

Start by smoking or roasting the chicken breasts at a low temperature (around 225°F) until they reach an internal temperature of 120-130°F. Then, transfer them to the hot side of the grill or crank up the heat for a quick sear.


  • Juicy interior
  • Crispy, charred exterior


  • Longer overall cooking time
  • Requires monitoring two cooking zones

4. Spatchcocking

This technique involves removing the backbone of the chicken and flattening it out, allowing for more even cooking.


  • Faster cooking time
  • More surface area for browning


  • Requires some butchery skills
  • Less visually appealing presentation

Temperature and Doneness

Chicken breasts are safe to eat at an internal temperature of 165°F, but for the juiciest results, we recommend taking them off the grill at around 160°F and letting them rest for 5-10 minutes (the temperature will continue to rise).

Use an instant-read thermometer to check the thickest part of the breast for doneness. You can also do the “poke test” – if the meat feels firm but still has a little give, it’s likely done.

Resting and Serving

Once your chicken breasts are off the grill, let them rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing or serving. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, ensuring maximum moisture and tenderness.

Serve your perfectly BBQ’d chicken breasts with your favorite sides, like:

  • Grilled vegetables
  • Baked potatoes
  • Fresh salads
  • Garlic bread or rolls

Don’t forget to drizzle any remaining sauce or pan juices over the top for an extra flavor burst!

Tips and Tricks

  • Use a Thermometer: Don’t rely on guesswork – invest in a good instant-read thermometer to ensure your chicken breasts are cooked to perfection.
  • Pound Them Out: For more even cooking, pound thicker parts of the breast with a meat mallet or rolling pin to create a uniform thickness.
  • Baste or Foil: If the chicken breasts are browning too quickly, baste them with a little water, broth, or even BBQ sauce, or loosely tent them with foil to slow the cooking process.
  • Let Them Rest: Resist the urge to cut into those juicy breasts right away! Letting them rest for a few minutes allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in a moister, more tender final product.

Get Grilling!

With these tips and techniques in your arsenal, you’re ready to take your chicken breast game to new heights. Fire up that grill, grab your favorite seasonings, and get ready to impress with perfectly BBQ’d chicken breasts every time. Bon appétit!

Grilled Chicken Breast – Chicken Breast Stuffed and Grilled on Big Green Egg


How long should you BBQ chicken breast?

Place your chicken breasts on your preheated grill, and close the lid. It’s important to keep the lid of your grill closed while your chicken is cooking so that no heat escapes. Cook your chicken breast on the grill for 6-8 minutes on one side. After 6-8 minutes flip your chicken breast and cook for 6-8 minutes more.

How do you BBQ chicken breast without drying it out?

One good way to fully cook chicken breasts on a charcoal grill without drying them out is to brine them first. It does wonders. Also, don’t let the charcoal heat get too high. Move the coals around to even out the heat.

Do you BBQ chicken breast side up or down?

Best technique: Sear chicken skin side down over direct heat until golden brown, about three minutes. Flip and sear for another three minutes; transfer to indirect heat and continue grilling, rotating and flipping occasionally until 165˚F.

Which side goes down first when grilling chicken?

Season the chicken skin with salt and grill skin side down over moderately low heat until the fat has rendered and the skin is nice and crisp. Keep the heat low — if it gets too high, the fat will sear and not cook slowly and melt away. Flip the chicken and grill for a few minutes skin side up until cooked through.

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