Reverse Seared Chicken Breasts


FullSizeRenderI really like to grill chicken breasts, but I struggled to get them juicy and tender on the inside while getting a nice caramelized sauce on the exterior.

Since getting my Big Green Egg a couple of years ago, I pride myself on my ability to grill a terrific steak. I use the reverse sear method to get the interior cooked to a perfect medium rare and then I get those prized cross-hatched grill marks on the outside.

So, it dawned on me one day that perhaps this is the answer for chicken breasts, too!

To give credit where credit is due, I came across a recipe article in StoryQue issue 20 entitled “How to Grill Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast” by John Thomas. I tweaked the recipe and adapted it for a cook on the Big Green Egg.


2-4 Chicken Breasts – I used boneless, skinless chicken breast

Your favorite BBQ sauce for chicken. I just used Sweet Baby Rays because it was at the house.

Dry Rub Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup paprika
  • 3 tablespoons black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons celery salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (note: John’s recipe called for 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper. My wife said that was too spicy for her. So, adjust to taste.)


Rinse the chicken breasts and pat dry with a paper towel.IMG_1737

Place all the Dry Rub ingredients in a gallon zipper bag. Mix together and break up any lumps in the brown sugar. When the rub is nicely mixed, place the chicken breasts in the bag and shake the bag to coat evenly. Place the chicken breasts in a container or covered platter and put them in the refrigerator for an hour or two.


While the chicken breasts are in the refrigerator soaking up the rub, get the Big Green Egg set up for an indirect / reverse sear cook.

IMG_1741Clean out any old ashes and add lump charcoal as needed. Get the fire started. Add the plate setter, legs up. To minimize clean-up, I cover the top of the plate setter with grilling foil. Add the grate and get the temperature up to 425 degrees.

I use an iGrill thermometer for monitor the grill temperature and the meat temperature. When the grill is stabilized around 425 degrees, put the chicken breasts on the grill and cook to an internal target temperature of 150 degrees.

When the chicken breasts reach 150 degrees internal temperature, take them off the grill and put them on a plate. Cover them with foil to reduce temperature loss.

Take the grill grate off and carefully remove the plate setter. IT WILL BE HOT!

Put the grill grate back on.

Brush the chicken breasts with a liberal coating of BBQ sauce on all sides.IMG_1743

Put the chicken breasts back on the grill and flip them frequently to keep them from burning. I check the temperature with a ThermaPen instant read thermometer. When the internal temperature gets to 165 degrees, take the chicken off the grill and put them on a plate.


This may not be the prettiest presentation coming off the grill – but you get the idea. Cover them with foil for 10 minutes to let them rest and to continue cooking for a bit.

We had home made cole slaw (recipe here) and mashed potatoes – and some cold beer. It was terrific.