Published July 1, 2008.
The key to avoiding the charred skin and dried-out meat that plague most grilled chicken breasts is all in how you set up the fire.
Grilling chicken breasts isn't all that easy to get right. Burnt, limp skin and sooty, parched meat are too often the reality.
The perfectly grilled chicken breast should be cooked bone-in with the skin on for extra flavor and juiciness, the smoke-infused meat tender and succulent, and the skin golden and crisp.
Brining the chicken breasts for an hour or so before grilling helped ensure juicy, seasoned meat throughout, but consistency was an issue. We needed to focus on developing a precise grilling technique to minimize temperature fluctuation, thereby ensuring perfect meat every time. To do so, we created a sort of oven within an oven by covering the chicken with a piece of foil before closing the lid. This approach, combined with cooking the breasts skin-side down on the cooler half of a modified two-level fire, finished cooking all six of the chicken breasts simultaneously. But we had one remaining problem: flabby skin. To solve it we developed a three-step dance: Cook the chicken on all sides over the hotter part of the grill until lightly browned; move it to the cooler half and cover with foil; finish the breasts on the hotter side, cooking on both sides until the skin is brown and crisp.list of recipes