Cook like a farmer - grilled chicken breasts

You know, one would think that after selling grass-finished and pastured meats for so many years, I would be better at sharing recipes. I’m working on it though and plan to spend the summer sharing recipes and cooking tips for how to get the most out of your CSA. That being said, I’m no cookbook writer or food stylist but I can share recipes and cooking tips in one location for our members.

Another thing? I hate trying to find recipes online and having to scroll and scroll through endless prattle to the bottom of the page where the recipe is finally revealed. JUST.GIVE.ME.THE.RECIPE. So, I’m not going to do that. If you want more details (especially a link to a video showing how to debone the chicken breast), look at the end of the post.

Today we are going to prepare the split chicken breasts (also called bone-in chicken breasts) that come in our Meat CSA shares and turn them into boneless, skinless breasts. Then the meat is pounded to an even thickness, brined to retain moisture while cooking, grilled on over direct then indirect heat and given a quick rest before serving.

cooking chicken breast infographic


Learn how to debone a chicken breast in this video:

The skinny on brining:

Brining keeps chicken from drying out on the grill because it alters the protein myosin in the meat which keeps the muscle fibers from contracting and releasing moisture during cooking. The general ratio for brining meat (it works with pork too) is 1/4 cup of salt to 1 quart (4 cups) of water. Sugar can also be added to the brine to aid in browning and carmelization.

When to flip?

In general, chicken breasts are ready to flip when they release from the grill grates. So if you try to turn the meat and it is stuck, just chill for a minute and it will be ready to turn soon.

Doneness temperature:

The USDA recommends all poultry to be cooked through to 165 degrees and I’m not recommending otherwise for legal reasons. Personally, I like my pastured raised, small-batch processed, salt-brined, grilled chicken a little less done.