• Preparation
    30 Minutes
  • Cook Time
    30-45 Minutes
  • Serves
  • Difficulty

Behind the Recipe

Wanna Know the Secret to Juicy Grilled Chicken?

It’s all about the brine, baby! That’s right, the BRINE! A simple saltwater brine is easy to make and well worth the effort. All it takes is a little bit of planning. So here’s what you do: The night before you plan to grill–let’s call it this Thursday–fill a large resealable bag with 1 quart of warm water and 1/4 cup kosher salt.  Stir it up until the salt is mostly absorbed, and you have your brine. Easy! 

Place your uncooked chicken breasts in the saltwater brine. Put the bag in a bowl. Put the bowl in the fridge. Leave it overnight. And start thinking about how you just set yourself up for the best juiciest grilled chicken of your life!

Why leave it overnight? Because it takes time for that saltwater to diffuse into the fibers of the chicken breast. The salt enhances the flavor of your chicken from the inside, while the water helps to keep it from drying out over direct heat. 

Try a simple saltwater brine on this recipe for grilled chicken with lemon & thyme. You will never go back to dry, flavorless chicken again. Plus, the charred grilled lemon in this recipe adds a nice acidity to the juicy, delicious chicken!



  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Kosher salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (for coating)
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (for a final drizzle)
  • 2 lemons: 1 sliced in half, 1 cut into thin rounds
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 large sprigs thyme
  • 1 cup torn pitted olives


  1. Preheat your Nexgrill for two heat zones.
  2. Pat the chicken breasts fully dry (don’t skip this step) & season everywhere with salt and pepper.
  3. Place the chicken breasts on a baking sheet, and let ‘em sit at room temp for up to an hour, and no less than 30 minutes.
  4. With the lemon you halved, squeeze its juice into a small bowl until you have about ¼ cup. Set it aside.
  5. With the lemon you cut into rounds, take ½ of your lemon rounds and set them aside for serving. Place the other half into a small bowl with the crushed garlic and 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil. Toss it all together, and add a pinch of both Kosher salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Back to your chicken. After at least 30 minutes at room temperature, pat them dry again. Then rub with 2 Tbsp. of olive oil.

Cooking Instructions

  1. 1

    Grill the oiled lemon slices over direct heat (the hotter side of your grill) for 3 minutes, turning once until you see those beautiful charred grilled marks. Transfer to a plate.

  2. 2

    Next, place your chicken on the cooler side of the grill. Let it cook about 15-20 minutes until the surface is browned and starting to crisp.

  3. 3

    Turn the chicken over, close the lid, and continue grilling about 8–10 minutes more, until a meat thermometer registers 160°F at the thickest part of the breast.

  4. 4

    This step is optional, but totally encouraged. If you like your chicken with a little char on the surface, open your grill and transfer them to the hotter side. It should only take a minute or two over direct high heat to get the results you want.

  5. 5

    Transfer chicken breasts to a cutting board and let rest 10–15 minutes.

  6. 6

    This is where it all comes together. Place your chicken breasts on a plate or platter. You can cut them into slices or leave them intact. Scatter with thyme sprigs, olives, grilled lemon slices, and reserved fresh lemon slices over the chicken. Drizzle the plate with reserved lemon juice and remaining ½ cup oil over. Let all those flavors sit with each other for a few minutes, and then dig in!

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