Learn how to whip up an easy brine that will prevent your grilled chicken breasts from turning into a dry, rubbery mess.

The solution is actually a solution. It’s a salt-water brine that is seasoned with brown sugar. A brine will do two things for your chicken. First, the salt in the water will actually tenderize the meat so that when it cooks it will not tighten up as much as it normally would. Second, the salt interacts with the protein in a way that causes them to absorb more water and then retain it while your chicken is cooking.

To make the brine, start with a pot of about 2 quarts of water. Add ¼ cup kosher salt, ½ cup cider vinegar, ¼ cup dark brown sugar, 6 large sprigs fresh thyme, 4 (4-inch) sprigs fresh rosemary, 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes,  and 4 crushed garlic cloves. Heat over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until salt and sugar fully dissolve. Let it stand for one hour to cool. Place 8 to 12 (6 to 8 oz.) skinned and boned chicken breasts in the brine and chill for 1 to 3 hours.

Preheat grill to 350 degrees to 400 degrees (medium-high) heat. Drain chicken, discarding brine. Pat dry with paper towels and sprinkle with desired amount of fresh ground black pepper. Grill chicken, covered with grill lid, 5 to 7 minutes on each side or until done. Remove from grill and let stand 5 minutes. If you accidentally overcook your chicken, the brine will act as an insurance policy to make sure your chicken stays tender and juicy.

For more delicious ways to cook chicken, check out our list of quick and easy chicken recipes. We’re sure you’ll find a few new favorites in our collection.

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