Thursday, June 30, 2011

Perfect Every Time Grilled Chicken - make ahead for the week

Moist, succulent and perfect every time, I like to make 5 lbs of grilled chicken ahead for the week.  Cooked chicken will keep for up to 5 days in the fridge, so I make a batch once a week and use it in all sorts of recipes throughout the week.  It really is a time saver for me.  Done properly, your chicken will be moist and delicious for every recipe you use it in. Perhaps 5 lbs sounds a bit much. Remember chicken looses about 25% to cooking, so 5 lbs becomes a bit over 3.5 lbs when cooked.  Depending on your size family, that could give you 3 to 5 meals.

Since all chicken thickness is different, its not accurate to follow a recipe that says cook X amount of minutes on each side.  Sometimes I use tenderloins and other times its chicken breast.  Heres the secret to grilling moist chicken. Its the feel.  When you press on it with your fork or your finger it should feel like your pressing the muscle between your pointer and thumb.  Try it, pinch the flesh where your pointer meets your thumb while your fingers are fully out stretched (like your making the #5). Its firm, but has a softness to it.  Once you learn how to press your chicken to check for doneness, you'll have unlocked the secret to all great grill cooks.  They would not dare cut into the meat to check if its done.  Its simply the way it feels to them when they press it. 

It took me a couple of times of pressing a piece of chicken, removing it from the grill, letting it sit for a few minutes then cutting it open to see if I got it right.  Picking up this method will revolutionize your kitchen! You will be able to grill ahead and serve awesomely moist and flavorful meals in under 10 minutes like me!  Notice the blatent compliment I paid myself  : )  Get to the grill or grill pan and give it a try.  Detailed instructions below.

  • 5 lbs of white chicken meat, breast, sliced thin, cutlets or tenderloins, washed and patted dry
  • 2 tbsp olive oil (not extra virgin as it will burn)
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp liquid smoke (optional) *

We are going to grill just 1 piece of chicken in the first batch.  This way you can test it and if you got it right, you  will know how to feel for doneness with the whole rest of the batch.  Here goes.

Wash and pat dry your chicken.  In a large bowl, toss chicken with remaining ingredients.  Heat grill pan or grill to medium heat.  Place 1 piece of chicken on grill and let cook until edges get white.  Turn over and allow to cook until fully opaque.  Then start pressing.  Press it to feel for a medium firmness.  Your pressing should not leave a depression in the meat, that means not yet cooked.  Think muscle between pointer and thumb.  The feel should be somewhat soft, but firm.  Its going to take a little cheating to learn this, so when you think its almost done, pull it off and place in a dish and let it stand for 5 minutes then cut it open to see whatcha got! I say almost done because when you think its done, its probably going to be slightly overcooked.  The meat will continue to cook even after you take it off the grill. If theres no pinkness to it , its perfect.  It should be moist and juicy looking. If it is, then cook the rest of the batch accordingly.

Ok so what did I do with 5 (or 3.75 lbs cooked) chicken this week?  I made:

1. Grilled Chicken Arugula and Tomato Salad

2. Grilled Chicken with Broccoli Rabe over Pasta

3. Grilled Chicken over Crispy Broccoli Rabe

4. Grilled Chicken Bruschetta - Similar to the chicken bruschetta, just substituting breaded cutlets for grilled

I will add liquid smoke to my chicken to give it a real BBQ grilled flavor.  Whether in the grill pan or on my gas grill, since neither of the 2 will give me a charcoal cooked flavor.  Its optional, but you should experiment with it.  Its comes in a small bottle, sold at most grocery stores.


  1. What a great idea! I love staples like these. They are lifesavers once the week starts.

  2. Hi Rivki. Thanx for your comment. I agree. They are really life savers!


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