Chicken breasts are not a very popular meat for summer BBQs, as they’re perceived as invariably turning out dry and boring. But the truth of the matter is that the problem often lies with the chef and not the meat itself. Over the years I’ve learned a handful of tricks for grilling chicken breasts so that they turn out flavorful and juicy every time.
Read on for how to confidently include this delicious white meat at your next summer grill-out.
The Keys to Grilling Perfect Chicken Breasts
Slice the Cut Horizontally
When grilling any meat, you want a cut with even thickness all around — that’s the only way it’ll have a consistent temperature all the way through. Those giant chicken breasts you get at the store are always lopsided and inevitably cook unevenly. The thin side is done in 10 minutes, but the big end needs another 10 to get to temperature; by that point, half the breast is overdone and too dry to enjoy.
You have a couple options to even out the chicken to make it easier to grill. You could pound out the thick end of the breast, but I’ve always found that to be an unpleasant process. It leads to a mess and makes for misshapen cuts of meat.
My preferred tactic is to use a sharp knife and slice the whole thing horizontally. It’s still inevitably a little uneven, but not nearly as much as before. The internal temperatures may not be totally consistent, but since the cut of meat will be thin anyway, it doesn’t matter as much. You could “butterfly” the cut, which is where you cut horizontally but stop before you go all the way through. In my opinion, though, there’s not much point to that; might as well just go all the way, as it makes for easier handling on the grill and plate.
Salt Ahead of Time
Apply a light layer of salt to your piece of chicken — a “dry brine” — at least a few hours before cooking, up to a full 24. As Samin Nosrat explains in her book Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, the benefit of this salting, which applies to any kind of meat, is that “the piece of meat remains moister, and you have a greater margin of error for overcooking.”
Juicier chicken, with less risk of a dried-out, overcooked product. Win-win! There’s no reason not to give the meat a dry brine. Here’s how:
Apply 1/2-3/4 tsp of salt per pound of meat, spreading it evenly over the surface — top, bottom, and sides. It’s not a crazy amount of salt, but most likely more than what you’d normally add. Use kosher or table salt; whatever you have is just fine. If cooking a skin-on breast, note that salt will penetrate the skin; so go ahead and apply directly to the exterior. (As an added bonus, the salt will dry the skin, making it extra crispy and delicious.) Stick in the fridge — no need to cover — for anywhere from 2-24 hours.
Right before cooking, you can also apply any other seasoning you like — there’s no real reason to do it ahead of time with the salt. It’s the salt that’s doing all the work and any additional seasoning is just for flavor at the time of eating.
Read up more on the science and technique of salting.
If you’re feeling saucy, go ahead and use a marinade. (If you’ve dry brined as well, just marinate it for the final 1-2 hours before cooking.) Store-bought does the trick fine, but something homemade is really easy to whip up and not prone to the over-sweetness of the stuff you find on grocery store shelves. This article has a great kabob marinade recipe (and some other general marinating tips).
A marinade will not penetrate through to the interior of the chicken breast; the point is simply to coat the outside of the food and give it a flavor-packed, caramelized exterior. The liquid will certainly penetrate some, but not much. You’re aiming for a crispy crust and a juicy interior.
Two quick tips for marinating:
When grilling marinated foods, you’ll want to oil the grill a little bit to help mitigate sticking, which is common when you’re grilling with a sauce. Put a little bit of oil — about a teaspoon — on a paper towel and wipe the towel on the grill grates. Don’t poke holes in the meat. I used to do this, thinking it would allow the marinade to better soak in. Instead, what it does is allow the meat’s juices to run out and you end up with a drier interior. The combo of
Sunday Firesides. Sometimes the Critic Counts
“It is not the critic who counts.”
If this line from Theodore Roosevelt’s famous “Man in the Arena” speech is taken to mean that the individual who takes action has far greater worth than he who merely casts stones from the sidelines, then it can be adopted as an unassailable truth.
If, however, it’s taken to mean you should never listen to your critics, then it’s a mantra that cannot be universally applied.
T.R., after all, was a critic himself, and when he called individuals “fragrant man swine,” “little emasculated masses of inanity,” and “beings who belong to the cult of non-virility” — you can bet he wanted to be listened to (and probably should have been).
While adopting a blanket “f**k the haters” mindset may anesthetize the pain of receiving negative feedback, it comes at the cost of two key things:
First, you surrender a potentially helpful perspective.
We’d all do well to heed our inner voice and scorecard over that of the crowd. But we can lose track of that voice or allow ego to convince us we’re doing a better job than we are, and it can take an external observer to point that out.
Second, you forfeit — at least if you apply the “never listen to critics” standard with integrity/consistency — the right to be heard yourself.
Because if people shouldn’t listen to anyone else’s opinions, they shouldn’t listen to yours, either.
Little credit belongs to the masses of heckling, grandstand-riding spectators, who nine times out of ten, have nothing valuable to say. But to avoid developing what Teddy called “a mind that functions at six guinea-pig power,” it’s wise to recognize that sometimes the critic can count: when he’s someone you respect; when he’s someone who also has skin in the game; when he’s someone who’s got, well, a point.
The post Sunday Firesides: Sometimes, the Critic Counts appeared first on The Art of Manliness.
How to Diagnose and Treat Heat Stroke & Heat Exhaustion
It’s been freaking hot around the world this summer. Here in Oklahoma we’ve had more than a dozen days in July alone with temperatures over 100 degrees.
The chances of suffering a heat-related illness like heat exhaustion and heat stroke go up during extreme heat. According to the CDC, between 2004 and 2018, an average of 702 people died annually from heat-related causes, and thousands more ended up in the hospital. Small children and adults over 65 are most susceptible to heat-related illness. However, it can hit anyone who works or exercises vigorously in the heat. In fact, heat stroke is one of the three most common killers of soldiers and athletes in training.
Below we share how to recognize heat exhaustion and heat stroke and what to do to treat both conditions.
How to Recognize & Treat Heat Exhaustion
Heat Exhaustion Symptoms
Heat exhaustion occurs when your body can no longer cool itself down through sweating due to a loss of water and electrolytes. Heat exhaustion needs to be treated as soon as you recognize it in yourself or others. Left untreated, it can develop into its more severe sibling: heat stroke.
Symptoms of heat exhaustion include:
Heavy sweatingCold, pale, and clammy skinFast, weak pulseNausea or vomitingMuscle crampsTiredness or weaknessDizzinessHeadacheBrief fainting (passing out)
How to Treat Heat Exhaustion
The goal of treating heat exhaustion is to cool the sufferer down and restore their fluids.
Move to a cool room. If you don’t have access to an air-conditioned room, at least move to a shady spot.Take a cold shower or bath. If that’s not possible, drape (do not tightly wrap — this will trap heat) cool, wet towels/cloths on the body. Turn a fan on these towels if you can. Remove extra clothing.Sip cool fluids, like water and Gatorade.
If heat exhaustion symptoms continue for an hour despite your treatment, seek professional medical assistance.
How to Recognize & Treat Heat Exhaustion
Heat Stroke Symptoms
Heat stroke is the most serious of heat-related illnesses. With heat stroke, the body has lost its ability to cool itself down, resulting in a dangerously high internal body temperature (above 104 degrees Fahrenheit). High internal body temperature is potentially life-threatening as it can cause seizures, organ failure, and rhabdomyolysis. Even if you recover from heat stroke, you can still suffer long-term damage to your heart, brain (creating cognitive deficiencies), kidneys (requiring lifelong dialysis or a transplant), and liver (also requiring a transplant). Heat stroke victims often die months after they’ve “recovered.”
To guide me on the intricacies of identifying and treating heat stroke, I talked to Dr. Sean Langan, a research assistant at the Korey Stringer Institute at the University of Connecticut. The Korey Stringer Institute specializes in research in preventing heat stroke deaths among athletes.
Heat stroke symptoms include:
Central nervous system (CNS) dysfunction:ConfusionAggression/agitation (Dr. Langan says you frequently see heat stroke victims bite and punch people)DizzinessFaintingSeizuresVery high body temperature (104 degrees F or higher)Red, hot, dry skin (no sweating). Sean notes that you rarely see dry skin in people with exertional heat stroke (caused by exercising or working in the heat). Those exerting themselves in the heat may still be sweaty, and you’ll need to be on the lookout for other symptoms, particularly CNS dysfunction.Throbbing headacheNausea/vomitingRapid breathingRapid pulse
According to Dr. Langan, the critical heat stroke symptom to be on the lookout for is CNS dysfunction:
You can have really fit people who have an internal body temperature of 104 degrees Fahrenheit at the end of a marathon who are fine. Their body is adapted to having that high of an internal temp so they don’t have any CNS dysfunction and they cool down quickly after they finish their race.
You can also have someone who has an internal body temperature of 103, but they’re experiencing CNS dysfunction. This person has heat stroke and needs to be treated.
If you see someone who’s been in the heat who’s showing signs of CNS dysfunction, your best bet is to start treating that person for heat stroke. To confirm, take their temperature with a rectal thermometer (it will give you the most accurate reading)
Podcast #678 Physical Benchmarks Every man should meet at every age
As men, we all want to be physically capable. We want to be able to save our own life in two ways: in the more metaphorical sense of wanting to preserve it in healthy, fit form for as long as possible, and in the more literal sense of being able to make it through an emergency unscathed. How do you know if you do possess that kind of lifesaving physical capability?
It’s time to do more than wonder, and really check in with yourself. My guest today has some helpful benchmarks that guys from age 8 to 80 can use to see if they’ve got an operative level of strength, mobility, and conditioning. His name is Dan John, and he’s a strength coach and the author of numerous books and articles on health and fitness. Dan walks us through the fitness standards the average male should be able to meet from childhood to old age, beginning with the assessments he gives to those who are 55 years old and older, which includes carrying their body weight, a long jump, and something called “the toilet test.” We then reach back to childhood, and Dan discusses the physical skills kids should become adept in, which were inspired by a turn-of-the-20th-century physical culturist who thought every individual ought to be able to save his own life, and which can be broken down into the categories of pursuit, escape, and attack. We end our conversation with the physical standards those in the 18-55 range should be able to meet, including how much a man should be able to bench press, squat, and deadlift, and the walking test that’s an excellent assessment of your cardiovascular conditioning.
Resources Related to the Podcast
My first and second interview with Dan“10 Things Every Lifter Should Be Able to Do”AoM Article: Don’t Just Lift Heavy, Carry HeavyAoM Article: Take the Simple Test That Can Predict Your MortalityAoM Article: The 10 Physical Skills Every Man Should MasterAoM Podcast #663: How to Achieve Physical AutonomyAoM Article: The History of Physical FitnessAoM Article: Every Man Should Be Able to Save His Own LifeAoM Article: 12 Balance Exercises You Can Do on a 2×4Shaker PlateAoM Podcast #508: Break Out of Your Cage and Stop Being a Human Zoo Animal
Connect With Dan John
DanJohnUniversity.com Dan on IGDan’s website
Listen to the Podcast! (And don’t forget to leave us a review!)
Listen to the episode on a separate page.
Download this episode.
Subscribe to the podcast in the media player of your choice.
Listen ad-free on Stitcher Premium; get a free month when you use code “manliness” at checkout.
Click here to see a full list of our podcast sponsors.
Read the Transcript
Brett McKay: Brett McKay here, and welcome to another edition of The Art of Manliness podcast. As men, we all want to be physically capable. We wanna be able to save our life in two ways. First in the more metaphorical sense of wanting to preserve it in a healthy fit form for as long as possible. And second, in the more literal sense of being able to make it through an emergency unscathed. How do you know if you possess that kind of life-saving physical capability?
Well, it’s time to do more than wonder and really check in with yourself, and my guest today has some helpful benchmarks that guys from ages eight to 80 can use to see if they’ve got an operative level of strength, mobility, and conditioning. His name is Dan John. He’s a strength coach and the author of numerous books and articles on health and fitness.
Today on the show, Dan walks us through the fitness standards the average male should be able to meet
Fashion6 months ago
Julian Schneyder Relaxes with Man About Town
Motor8 months ago
Rodeo Drive Concours d’Elegance Is Back
Baller Awards9 months ago
Dave Chappelle’s camp releases statement after on-stage attack as he cooperates with police
Baller Awards10 months ago
Hugh Grant dismisses those ‘Doctor Who’ rumors
Frontier Adventure1 year ago
There are 6×10^80 Bits of Information in the Observable Universe
Frontier Adventure6 months ago
A Black Hole can Tear a Neutron Star Apart in Less Than 2 Seconds
Outdoors6 months ago
California Fishing Season. All You Have to Know
Fashion2 years ago
Steampunk Clothing & Jewelry