Everyone seems to love grilled chicken – when it’s cooked well. There’s just something about barbecuing that makes people want to hang out outdoors with friends and family in the summertime and throw something on the grill. Everyone’s happy, and the whole ambiance is just so exciting.
The only thing that would ruin such a happy experience is if the food comes out bad. When it comes to barbecuing, more emphasis should be placed on the cooking process, as that will eventually determine the food quality at the end of the day. While recipes are not overly hard to make, certain parts are just easier to cook than others.
Interestingly, the chicken thigh is one of the easiest chicken parts to grill. In this article, we will provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to grill chicken thighs on a grill, and you’ll have people wanting more at your next cookout session.
What Do You Need?
The grilled chicken thigh recipe does not have to be overly complicated, and as such, you can make do with just a few ingredients:
- Olive Oil
- Black Pepper
- Barbecue Sauce
- Boneless Chicken Thighs
- Meat Thermometer (optional)
And Now Let’s Get Started
1. Prepare the chicken
The first preparatory step to take should be preparing the chicken. Wash the chicken thighs under running water until you’re satisfied that it’s totally clean. It would help if you could pat the chicken with paper towels to get rid of some of the moisture. Next, coat the chicken thighs with some olive oil, and sprinkle some pepper and salt on. Let the chicken sit out till the skin dries totally.
2. Set up the gas grill
Gas grills are very fast and easy to set up, so you can prepare your chicken before setting up the grill. However, if the gas grill needs to be cleaned or if you’re using other types of grills, you may want to set up the grill before you start preparing the chicken. The cooking grates in the grill should be cleaned, and whatever rust or food residue on it should be scraped out.
Grilling is all about cooking at the right temperature, and just like other barbecue foods, the temperature setting will influence how your chicken thighs come out. For the best cooking effect, put your gas grill on a medium-high flame setting and maintain the flame only on one side of the grill. In this setting, the temperature should be somewhere between 350°F and 400 °F. Now, it’s time to cook
3. Sear the chicken thighs
Before you get into the cooking proper, you want to sear the skin side of the chicken first. Lay the chicken thighs with the skin side down on the hottest part of the grill and cook for a few minutes uncovered. The searing duration should be dependent on how hot the grill is. You wouldn’t want your chicken thighs to burn, so you shouldn’t leave them on the hottest part of the grill for a very long time. 5 – 10 minutes should be enough to properly sear the meat.
4. Grill the chicken thighs properly on low heat
Turn chicken thighs over after you’ve got a good sear on the skin side and move over to the cooler side of the grill that’s not directly over the flame. Now, you can bring down the heat setting to medium-low or low, somewhere in between 250°F and 275°F, but no more than 300°F.
Grill for about 20 minutes with the lid of the grill closed. The reduced temperature and the hot air in the closed lid help the chicken thighs cook slowly and retain their juices as they cook, and not dry out. The aim is for the chicken thighs to cook “low and slow,” such that the end product is tender and juicy. Depending on the size of the thighs and temperature settings, you may cook for more than 20 minutes.
5. Turn over and baste with barbecue sauce
Like we said earlier, the meticulous nature of the grilling process is one of the more enjoyable things about BBQ. After grilling the chicken thighs for some time, turn them over and baste with your favorite barbecue sauce (home-made or store-bought).
Cover the grill and cook for another 20 – 30 minutes. Next, turn the chicken thighs over, baste the other side, and grill with the lid closed for another 10 – 20 minutes.
If you have a meat thermometer, the internal temperature of the meat should be around 170°F when it’s done. Alternatively, you can poke the thighs in the middle with a knife. If the juice doesn’t run clear, you have to cook some more.
Another way to identify cooked chicken thighs is by the color. This is not the most accurate way to check if your food is cooked, but it does give a rough idea of how well the meat is cooked. Properly cooked chicken changes to brown from the light pink color of uncooked chicken.
Turn the chicken thighs over and continue to cook at low temperature until the juices start to run clear.
6. Sear the chicken thighs again (optional)
If you prefer, you can sear your cooked chicken thighs on the hot side for a slightly blackened look. Move the chicken pieces to the hot side of the grill and place them skin side down. Allow to sear for a couple of minutes, but be careful not to burn them.
7. Serve your chicken thighs as a main dish or side dish
Your chicken thighs are now ready to be served. Paint lightly with the barbecue sauce and serve as a side dish or main dish. However, we recommend serving your tasty grilled chicken thighs with some green vegetables sprinkled on it.
What if you want to make your grilled chicken thighs a bit more tasty. There are several different ways to infuse more taste and flavor into chicken thighs, all you need to do is have the right ingredients at hand. Check out our delicious alternative recipe below.
What you need?
- Olive Oil
- Soy Sauce
- Brown Sugar
- Onion Powder
- Lemon Juice
- Lime Juice
- Boneless Chicken Thighs
- Mix some olive oil, soy sauce, brown sugar, onion powder, lemon juice, lime juice, and mustard together in a bowl to make a marinade.
- Place your chicken thighs in a bowl and pour the marinade over them. Massage the chicken thighs softly with your hands, making sure that all parts are equally coated.
- Place the bowl in a refrigerator and let the chicken marinate for anything between 1 – 8 hours. We recommend marinating for at least two hours to ensure the flavor is properly infused.
- Grill the chicken thighs following the steps discussed above
Note: use bone-in and skin-on chicken thighs to get the best result.
We’ve discussed one of the simpler and more basic recipes that can be easily replicated, even if you’re not the best cook. Chicken is a versatile meat that can be prepared in several ways. However, if you need a simple grilled chicken thigh recipe for your next family reunion or friends’ hangout BBQ, you can’t go wrong with these simple steps.
Additionally, we also went further to include an alternative recipe for those who would prefer something tastier for their palettes. And the last thing we always remind you to bookmark our blog to keep up with the latest posts.