When cooked right, BBQ Chicken has a caramelized and slightly charred exterior that locks in the juices and creates a crispy outside and tender inside. Our method gives you a burst of smoky BBQ flavor with the juiciest and most tender chicken in each bite.
The Best Tender & Juicy BBQ Chicken Breasts
BBQ chicken is one of our favorite meals once grill season hits. There is just something so satisfyingly delicious about the char on the meat, coated in sweet and sticky barbecue sauce. We turn to it time and time again. Not only does it make a delicious dinner when served with a hearty side dish and corn on the cob, but leftovers are divine when served over a salad or tossed onto a crust for quick and easy BBQ Chicken Pizza.
But here’s the thing. As much as I love chicken breast, it can get dry and tough pretty dang quickly on the grill. Trust me, it takes just one “Mom, check out this cool trick I can do on the trampoline!!” for your chicken breasts to go from tender and juicy to ‘better order a pizza’. But no more!! We have figured out the secret to tender, flavorful, juicy grilled chicken breasts. Every time. And the best part? It doesn’t require any fancy ingredients or gadgets. It doesn’t require overnight marinating. In fact, it only takes 30 minutes and a couple ingredients that we all have…. salt and water.
A quick soak in a brine is all it takes to deliver top-notch grilled chicken. Throw the chicken breasts into the brine, spend the next half hour prepping the rest of your meal and heating up the grill, then throw the chicken on. Spend the next 10 minutes grilling and basting with your favorite barbecue sauce, and boom. The most flavorful, juicy and tender grilled BBQ chicken breasts you’ve ever had. So fire up that grill, and let’s get cooking.
Ingredients You Need to Make BBQ Chicken Breasts:
- Chicken Breasts– We used boneless, skinless chicken breasts. You can also use bone-in chicken breasts, but you need to adjust the cooking time accordingly.
- BBQ Sauce– This will be the prevalent flavor in your chicken, so make sure to use a brand that you like. You can also use homemade BBQ sauce.
- Paprika– Paprika adds an additional smoky flavor to the the chicken.
- Oil– We used olive oil, but any neutral flavored oil will work.
- Cool Water & Sea Salt– You will use the salt and water to create a brine. The chicken breasts will soak in the brine for half an hour before grilling. It will add incredible flavor, help tenderize the chicken, and lock in the moisture. Brine = No dry, flavorless grilled chicken breasts!
How to Make Tender and Juicy BBQ Chicken Breasts:
- Brine the chicken. Add water and salt to a large mixing bowl and stir until the salt is dissolved. Add the chicken breasts and place in the fridge. Allow to sit for 30 minutes.
- Season the chicken. Remove the chicken from the brine and pat dry with paper towels. Coat the chicken with olive oil and season with paprika.
- Heat the grill. Heat your grill to medium heat. Once your grill is good and hot, brush the grills with oil to help prevent the chicken from sticking.
- Grill and baste the chicken. Add the chicken to the preheated grill and baste with BBQ sauce. Allow to cook for 5-6 minutes, undisturbed, before flipping. Baste again with the BBQ sauce and cook for another 5-6 minutes or until the chicken breasts reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
- Rest. Remove the chicken from the grill and baste one final time with the BBQ sauce. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes to allow the juices to redistribute before serving. Enjoy!
Tips & Suggestions:
How long should I grill chicken breasts?
The ideal cooking time for grilled chicken is 9 to 12 minutes, depending on the thickness of your chicken breast. You want to aim for a grill temperature of around 425 degrees F. Your chicken breast is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Make sure you check the temperature in the thickest part of the chicken breast.
What goes well with BBQ Chicken Breasts?
So many things go well with the sweet and smoky flavor of grilled BBQ chicken breast! Here are some of our favorite dishes to serve with it:
- Potato Salad
- Spinach Salad
- Sweet Potato Biscuits
- Easy Pasta Salad
- Fruit Salad
- Roasted Asparagus
- Mashed Sweet Potatoes
- Broccoli Salad
More Delicious Grilled Chicken Recipes:
- Grilled Coconut & Lime Chicken
- Grilled Lemon Chicken
- Grilled Teriyaki Chicken and Rice Bowls
- Grilled Island Chicken Kabobs
Tender and Juicy BBQ Chicken Breasts
- 4 cups water cool
- 1 1/2 tablespoons fine sea salt
- Brine chicken breasts. This helps the chicken absorb moisture so that they don't dry out on the grill. The chicken won't get salty because the brine time isn't very long, but the flavor and moisture level will be amazing!
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 4 cups of cool water with sea salt until the salt is dissolved. Add your chicken breasts to the water, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- While the chicken is brining, heat your grill to medium heat. Brush the grates with a little olive oil before placing the chicken on it.
- Remove the chicken from the brine and pat dry with a paper towel. Coat the chicken with olive oil and season with paprika on both sides.
- Place chicken on the hot grill, and baste the top side with BBQ sauce. Let it cook undisturbed for 5-6 minutes. Flip the chicken over and move it to a cooler side of the grill. Baste the other side with BBQ sauce. Cover the grill and let them them finish cooking until the internal temperature reaches 165℉. Remove from the grill and brush with a final coat of BBQ sauce. Cover and let rest for 5-10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
I'm a registered dietitian, mom of 4, avid lover of food and strong promoter of healthy habits. Here you will find lots of delicious recipes full of fruits and veggies, tips for getting your kids to eat better and become intuitive eaters and lots of resources for feeding your family.Learn More about Natalie