Basic, almost foolproof grilled chicken

If you were to poll people who have embarked on a paleo path and ask them “what protein source do you most often eat?” chances are chicken would be at the top of the list.

There are hundreds if not thousands of ways to prepare chicken, which makes life all that more interesting. Yet, despite hundreds and thousands of chicken recipes, this recipe is one that never bores or disappoints me.

The most enlightening bit about this recipe: how to make grilled chicken at home and not dry it out. The secret really is finishing it in the oven.

This is also the best and easiest way to make grilled chicken for the masses. I made this once for a big dinner at one of the BTB instructor’s homes, and it turned out perfectly. Fortunately, it was before we drank too much wine and headed out for ’80s night. That’s a recipe for disaster . . . this is a recipe for success!

2 pounds (900 g) chicken breasts
4 cloves garlic, chopped
~ zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary
3 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon sea salt (optional)
½ teaspoon black pepper

  1. Trim the chicken of any excess fat, and if both breasts are still attached by the cartilage in the middle, simply cut that out. If the breasts have the tenderloins still intact, go ahead and remove those and save for a future use.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the garlic, lemon zest, rosemary, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine thoroughly.
  3. Add in the chicken, using your hands to make sure the marinade thoroughly covers all parts of the chicken. Allow to marinate at least 30 minutes. Longer is preferred, as the flavors will really permeate the chicken that much more.
  4. Preheat oven to 400°F (205°C).
  5. Heat a large cast-iron grill pan over medium-high heat. Once very hot, place chicken breasts smooth side down on pan. Do not even think about touching the chicken to turn until nice and caramelized and the chicken releases easily from the pan. If it resists releasing, it is not ready to be flipped. If your grill pan was nice and hot (as it should be) this should only take about 3–5 minutes per side.
  6. Remove the chicken from the grill pan, and place on a sheet pan and into the oven for 12–15 minutes to finish cooking. You will know your chicken is done when juices run clear.
  7. Allow breasts to rest for 5–10 minutes, then slice against the grain and serve.

Variations—This marinade is awesome on lamb, beef, even shrimp. If you want to use this on shrimp, only marinate for about 30 minutes, as beyond that it tends to get too overpowering for your shrimp. You can also grill these outside if you prefer, still finishing the breasts in the oven to retain that juicy-ness.

Plan Ahead—The marinade can be made a few days beforehand, though you will want to bring it to room temperature when you are ready to use.