Recipe: Marinate chicken breasts in a soy-honey brine to keep them from drying out on the grill

Grilled chicken breasts with soy-honey brine
Grilled chicken breasts with soy-honey brineKaroline Boehm Goodnick for The Boston Globe

Serves 4

Brines for lean meat, such as chicken breasts, keep them from drying out over a hot fire. They’re typically made with salt and water. Since brining keeps the flesh moist and adds a significant amount of flavor, this is your opportunity to stir seasonings into the brine. For bone-in chicken breasts, add soy sauce and honey, along with cider vinegar, garlic, and ginger. Plan ahead so the chicken can marinate for a couple hours. Choose a hot spot on the grill for the initial browning, then move the breasts to a cooler section to finish cooking. But don’t leave the grill; the honey may burn if you don’t watch it carefully. Serve with grilled corn, steamed or stir-fried sugar snap peas, or other fresh summer vegetables.



8cups water
cups honey
1cup soy sauce
½cup cider vinegar
¼cup kosher salt
3cloves garlic, smashed
1piece (1-inch) ginger, smashed
4bone-in split chicken breasts (about 4 pounds)

1. In a large bowl, combine the water, honey, soy sauce, vinegar, salt, garlic, and ginger. Stir well.

2. Add the chicken breasts and refrigerate for 2 hours.


Vegetable oil (for the grill)
Black pepper, to taste
¼cup soy sauce
¼cup honey
2tablespoons cider vinegar

1. Prepare a charcoal grill or heat a gas grill to medium-high. Brush the grill grates to clean them and use a wadded paper towel to wipe them with oil.

2. Line a rimmed baking sheet with several layers of paper towels.

3. Remove the chicken from the brine, and transfer the breasts to the baking sheet. Pat both sides dry with more paper towels. Sprinkle the chicken with pepper.

4. In a bowl, combine the soy sauce, honey, and cider vinegar to make the glaze.

5. Place the chicken breasts over a hot section of the grill, skin side down. Grill for 3 to 4 minutes or until browned.

6. Turn the breasts over and transfer them to a cooler section of the grill. Brush each breast with some of the glaze. Cover the grill, and cook for 15 to 20 minutes more, or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breasts registers 160 degrees. Brush the chicken with more glaze occasionally as it cooks. (Total grilling time is 18 to 24 minutes.)


7. Remove the chicken from the grill and transfer to a platter. Let it rest for 5 minutes before serving. Karoline Boehm Goodnick

Karoline Boehm Goodnick can be reached at kboehmgoodnick@gmail.com