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How to cook chicken tenderloins or chicken breast on a BBQ and get it perfect everytime

Stop ruining the chicken on the BBQ hotplate or grill. Make amazing tasting chicken. This is how you do it.

It’s far too easy to make good tasting chicken on a grill or hotplate. But it’s also far too easy to ruin your chicken. Read on to see the main things to get right, and you should be well on your way to perfectly cooked chicken every time.


NOTE: This post is specifically about cooking chicken tenderloins and chicken breast on a hot plate or grill. You can also use these same principles in the kitchen with a good pan.

Cast your mind back to your last chicken cook up – what went wrong?

The most common complaint by far is simply that the chicken was too dry. So it makes sense for us today to laser focus on eliminating this from your chicken cooking from now on.


Here is what you will need to virtually eliminate bad, crappy chicken from your life:

  • stay away from marinades
  • uniform thickness chicken pieces
  • oil the chicken, not the cooking surface
  • medium temperature hot plate
  • patience


Stay away from marinades

Marinades are a deception and a lie. They are a trick that leads to burnt food and sad faces.

I don’t think I am the first guy to fill the kitchen with smoke after throwing marinated goods into a hot pan while trying to impress a cute girl. But those days are behind me – and yours too. 

If you want to use marinade there is a time and a place. And the time is not before you put your meat on the hotplate. And the place is at someone else’s house. 


If you must use marinade do it correctly. Check this post: Perfect Pork Spare Ribs Every Damn Time for an insight on using marinade, it’s not chicken but you’ll get the idea.

All i’ve done here is put them on a plate, made sure they aren’t overlapping, spritzed them with a little oil spray, and loaded up on some seasoning. Sometimes you can even leave them on the tray from the original packaging. Lazy cook? You bet. I’m also the dish washer.

If you’re lucky you can even leave them on the tray from the original packaging. Lazy cook? You bet. I’m also the dish washer.


Uniform thickness chicken pieces

It doesn’t matter whether you’re cooking large pieces or small – just try to (roughly) cut them at the same size. This way you don’t have to micro-manage every piece on the hotplate, you can just think off cooking them as a whole.

While we are talking about it chicken tenderloin and chicken breast will cook at different speeds. But if you’re cooking all tenderloin or all breast you will barely notice. So pick one or the other, easy.


oil the chicken, not the cooking surface

Some cooks like to oil the hotplate – others not. Hell even some chefs are happy to throw the oil around. But all this does is allow you a greater margin for error in regards to burning the oil. As soon as you see the oil smoking – it’s burning.

Not only this, I find putting oil on the chicken first helps prevent it from drying out too quickly.


medium temperature hot plate

If you are a risk taker you can set it to hot – but I find this decreases your margin for error and increases you chance of serving dry bird. Be a friend to the little tenderloin and get the heat just hot enough to get a little sizzle happening. Not enough heat and you’ll just be steaming them. So go all Goldilocks on your grill temp and aim for the middle.



I’ve put this one in here because whenever I watch other people cook chicken – people who tell me that they ‘can’t cook chicken’ – this is such a simple one to fix. Just be more patient. 

Impatience makes you turn the heat up too high. 

Impatience makes you start turning them before they have had a chance to sear a little and get a little bit of that golden crust showing.


So, here is the low down on your patience requirement:

  • Get your hotplate ready, and get your chicken pieces prepared
  • As soon as you think the grill is ready – lay the tenderloins down.
  • Now, grab your beer, and watch.

They just sit there, don’t they, so innocently.

You’re tempted to pick up the tongs and give them a turn aren’t you?

NO. Bad. Stop. The chicken is still stuck to the searing surface and if you move it now you will tear it. Keep watching. Sip the beer. Good.

See how those little chicken breasts start to jiggle a little? See how they start to shrink ever so slightly? See how they have started to ‘lift’ a little around the edges?

That’s your signal to turn them, they are ready for you.


When you think they are ready know this:

Think they are perfect? Well you’ve just overcooked them. Seriously. 


The trick with getting damn near irresistible chicken when grilling it is to take them off the heat before they are ready. Put them on a plate to rest for a few minutes. While they are resting all sitting there together the residual heat will finish off the cooking process while allowing the juices to remain, and go back into the chicken.


Go forth my friends, my pintsman. 



Simple awesome recipe: Love me Loin Time – Perfect Delicious BBQ Chicken Tenderloins.

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