How To Make Perfectly Grilled Chicken
The Spruce / Victoria Heydt
|*The % Daily Value tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|
Grilled chicken is one of the most popular dishes, no matter the circumstance or way of serving it, whether you serve a main dish or on a sandwich. Or at a cookout. Or at family dinners. You get the idea. People love grilled chicken. And no wonder: When done right, grilled chicken is super flavorful and goes with a huge array of side dishes. Sadly, grilled chicken is also one of the most frequently destroyed dishes out there, either thanks to overcooking or undercooking . Or sometimes, it’s just plain cooked at the wrong temperature, which allows the chicken to slowly but surely dry out.
Worry notthere is a much better way. If you start with a high-quality chicken , and follow this simple method, and learn how to grill bone-in chicken on a gas grill, you’ll be amazed. By pre-salting the bird and using indirect heat for the bulk of the cooking time, you will be rewarded with juicy, flavorful, tender chicken that tastes as chicken should.
Serve it with potato salad, baked beans for a backyard picnic during those summer days, or grab your favorite sides any time of the year.
The Best Bbq Chicken Calls For The Simplest Ingredients
The best thing about grilled BBQ chicken is the fact that youve likely got everything you need to make it on hand at any point in time. Absolutely necessary for any summer staple!
The cast of characters includes :
- chicken You can use whatever chicken parts you love most for this BBQ chicken recipe: breasts, drumsticks, wings, leg quarters, thighs it all works! Personally, I have a thing for chicken thighs I think theyre the tastiest, most flavorful & juicy part of the chicken.
- beer or buttermilk, used for a quick BBQ chicken marinade. Both are delicious in their own right. Beer lends an awesome funky flavor , while buttermilk tenderizes the chicken. Use whatever youve got on hand or whatever youre in the mood for.
- spices, like chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, mustard powder, onion powder, & smoked paprika, which, when combined with a little bit of brown sugar, create the easiest & most delicious dry rub for chicken. I buy all my spices & staples at ALDI. Theyre super high quality, fragrant & full-flavored, & totally affordable.
- BBQ sauce Use your fave! You can, of course, make your own BBQ sauce from scratch. With so many amazing bottled BBQ sauces out there, I always opt to just grab something from the store. The Burmans BBQ sauces at ALDI are my personal favorite. With a variety for each major BBQ region , its fun to pick & choose what youre in the mood for whenever you make grilled BBQ chicken. I always keep a bottle of each stocked in my pantry.
How To Choose The Best Chicken Thighs For Grilling
The good things about chicken thighs are their simplicity, so there isnt a whole lot to be considered when purchasing. Ethically raised chickens who were free-range and given good grain and no antibiotics tend to taste a bit better, but can be pricey when buying in bulk.
Beyond the chickens living conditions the choice between bone-in and boneless is up to the personal preferences of the griller. Bone-in tend to keep their structure a bit better, and usually have more skin to crisp up and season for the grill. Thighs with more skin on them generally taste the best, have a better pocket for sauce, and have a satisfying, crispy bite.
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Tips And Tricks For Grilling Chicken Thighs
The sauce goes under the skin when possible
Using an injector, or very carefully with a spoon, place a good amount of sauce underneath the chicken skin. This stops as much of the sauce from dripping and flaring up the grill and lets the flavor directly into the meat.
Salt and dry rubs for maximum crispness
Though a wet marinade can be quite tasty, a dry rub with plenty of salt will make for a more crisp grilled chicken thigh. Liberal amounts of salt, pepper, and garlic are an unbeatable base for just about any recipe.
Sear on direct heat, cook on indirect heat
Set the grill up so one side is hotter than the other. Do the initial sear on the high heat side, then let them finish over the indirect heat.
Cook to an internal temperature of 165F
Chicken thighs have a high fat content and are difficult to dry out unlike chicken breasts. Aiming for 165F ensures proper pasteurization while also breaking down stringy connective tissues.
How Long Does It Take To Cook Chicken Thighs On A Bbq Grill
As I always say, you never cook meat to a specific time you cook it to a specific temperature. When you are cooking chicken, be it thighs, a chicken breast, chicken pieces, or even whole chicken, you must make sure that the meat is cooked.
For all chicken, the internal temperature must be at least 165 degrees F. You or your guest can become very sick from eating chicken that is undercooked. Chicken is not like beef you cannot eat it medium-rare.
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Prepare The Thighs For Grilling
We are going to start with a batch of bone in, skin on chicken thighs.
Place the thighs on a cutting board and flip them over. You should deposits of fat and excess skin that is just dangling around.
To help prevent flareups while you are grilling, go ahead and trim off the excess skin and fat deposits.
After the thighs are trimmed season both sides with a dry rub that is low in sugar. If you use a sugar based rub then the seasoning will scorch if a flareup happens and the chicken will have a bitter taste.
Here is a great rub to use on thighs:
- 2 tbls smoked paprika
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp granulated garlic
Let the rub soak into the thighs for at least 30 minutes before they go on the grill.
What To Do With Leftover Bbq Grilled Chicken Thighs
Got leftovers? We are the queens of repurposing our recipes! Here are a few ideas so you dont waste any food.
- Make Chicken Salad: shred your chicken thighs and discard the bones. Then make our BBQ Chicken Salad recipe.
- BBQ Chicken Pizza: everyone loves pizza! Buyg a store-bought crust and make a semi-homeamde BBQ Chicken Pizza.
- BBQ Pulled Chicken: shred your chicken and toss the shredded chicken with a little more bbq sauce and serve on a bun like our BBQ Pulled Chicken.
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Easy Grilled Chicken Thighs
Easy Grilled Chicken Thighs juicy marinated boneless skinless chicken thighs, grilled to perfection and served with a salad, slaw or vegetables. Perfect to add to grain or grain-free bowls and salads.
Grilling chicken thighs is one of my favorite ways to cook them. Unlike grilled chicken breast, these Grilled Chicken Thighs are less likely to end up dry and overcooked on the grill, even if you cook them slightly longer.
Chicken thighs, also known as dark chicken meat are perfect for grilling, they take on marinade well, have a rich flavor and are a lot more juicier, but also more though than chicken breast.
Higher on fat, chicken thigh meat is perfect for low-carb diets like Keto. They do require longer cooking time, no matter what cooking method you choose.
This Easy Grilled Chicken Thighs Recipe includes a simple acidic marinade, made with pantry staples. Slightly sweet and flavorful, this marinade is just what you need for your chicken thighs.
It uses brown sugar, but low-carb brown sugar sweetener could be substitutes.
Serve these grilled boneless skinless chicken thighs as a part of a party platter, on their own with a side dish or a salad, or chop leftovers up and serve over a salad or grain bowl.
How To Grill Chicken On A Gas Grill
Cooking boneless chicken breasts is seen as one of the easiest bbq skills to master. But slow down there, my grilling friend. There are a few tips that will help turn you from BBQ fan to BBQ pro. Heres how to grill chicken on a gas grill.
Grilled chicken recipes have long been a staple in our household. Its my favorite meat to cook with by some way, with it taking centre place in some of my best BBQ recipes. My fondest memories of summer involve cooking up beautiful chicken breasts on our terrace.
Dont get me wrong, I still love grilled burgers and steaks, but neither come close to chicken for me. Whether its simple chicken burgers or elaborate kebabs, theres a great grilled chicken recipe for any meat eater.
But grilling chicken is something that isnt as easy as it looks. They can dry out really quickly, which is enough to leave any BBQ party flat.
Chicken can easily be cooked on a gas grill at 425°F/220°C. Just grill for 5 minutes on each side, or until the meats internal temperature hits 165°F/75°C.
The secret to a perfectly grilled chicken doesnt just lie in its time on the grill, but also the preparation time before. With pre-seasoning and brining as crucial a step as any.
Heres my step-by-step guide to show you how to grill chicken on a gas grill.
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Grilled Chicken Thighs Time
While boneless cuts of chicken may take five to six minutes per side to cook up on the gas grill, as in our Easy Grilled Chicken and Mole Poblano recipe, bone-in chicken on the gas grill takes longer to come up to a safe temperature. The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service recommends that chicken reach an internal temperature of 165 F whether roasted or grilled to protect you from foodborne illness.
To reach this safe cooking temperature, you should leave large, bone-in chicken breasts on the indirect heat of the grill for 40 to 45 minutes. Legs or bone-in thighs will be done sooner, so start checking their temperature after 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the size. It’s better to cook longer at low heat than to place the chicken on high heat, which may encourage the development of cancer-causing heterocyclic amines, explains Harvard Health Publishing.
If you plan on adding a barbecue sauce, wait until the last minute. When you’ve checked the chicken with an instant-read thermometer and it reads 165 F, brush the chicken with the sauce and allow it to heat through and caramelize. Putting the sauce on earlier only encourages burning and flare-ups.
Rest the chicken for about five minutes before serving. This ensures that every bite you take is moist and delicious.
Prepare With A Meat Pounder
With a rolling pen or meat pounder, gently pound the chicken on a counter or table surface. Do this until theyre about half an inch thick across the breast. Do this for each breast.
Why do we do this? Well like with a lot of cooking methods, one of grillings biggest challenges is cooking meat evenly through. If we make our meat uniform in thickness then we help prevent the issue, while also making it easier to eat and cut.
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Grilled Chicken Thighs Tips
A few tips to help your chick thighs come out great.
Chicken is safe to eat at an internal temp of 165°F. When it comes to Chicken thighs though I prefer to take them to an internal temp of 170°-175°F. They can handle it and actually seem to be tastier the closer you get them to 175°F.
It is not required but I like to place the chicken thighs on a cooling rack in the refrigerator for 3 hours before grilling. This helps dehydrate the skin and it comes out crispier.
Two-zone cooking is key to getting perfect chicken thighs. It enables you to get to the proper temps without burning your chicken.
How Long Does It Take To Grill Boneless Skinless Thighs
Boneless skinless chicken thighs generally take about 12 15 minutes to grill over medium-high heat, but that time can vary depending on the size of the chicken pieces. What temperature should my grill be to cook chicken? To prevent food borne illness always cook your chicken to an internal temperature of 165F.
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Do You Put Bbq Sauce On The Chicken Before Grilling
The short answer is no, you dont want to put your BBQ sauce on your chicken before you put it on the grill. The chicken needs to cook, and the BBQ sauce is usually high in sugars like brown sugar, molasses, or honey.
These sugars in the BBQ sauce contribute to making your grilled BBQ chicken thighs so tasty. The problem is that they will burn. So if you put the BBQ sauce on at the beginning, before your chicken has a chance to cook, you will have a problem. By the time your chicken is fully cooked, your barbecued chicken will be completely charred black and burnt.
Chicken is so versatile, thats what so great about it, besides the fact that it tastes great! From wings to breasts to whole rotisserie chicken, there are so many options when you are looking at serving chicken. You can grill it, roast it, BBQ it, or smoke chicken. Chicken tends to pick up the flavors of anything you add to it, making it one of the best proteins to work with barbecuing, grilling, or smoking!
Obviously, I love chicken with a rich BBQ sauce, but there are so many other ways to serve it. Who doesnt love chicken with a little Asian flair, with a nice teriyaki sauce, perhaps? When you mix up a marinade for your chicken, you can add so much flavor, and its so easy!
Cooking chicken is quick too. You can have dinner on the table in 30 minutes or less, depending upon how you are cooking it.
Ready To Hit The Grill
Us too! Try some of PWWBs Top Grilling Recipes ASAP!:
- PWWB Go-To Grilling Marinades 15 go-to recipes youll turn to time & time again, all summer long!
- Easy Grilled Veggies How to grill pretty much any vegetable. Vegan-friendly!
- The Very BEST Grilled BBQ Chicken A summertime classic perfected, thanks to a few simple steps that yield the juiciest, most flavorful BBQ chicken ever.
- Absolutely PERFECT Grilled Buffalo Wings Crispy buffalo perfection. Made with just 3 simple ingredients, grilled chicken wings could not be easier!
- Grilled Black Bean Burgers Burgers arent just for meat-lovers! These grilled veggie burgers are hearty, textural & grill up like a dream!
- Best-Ever Grilled Turkey Burgers Kiss everything you think you know about turkey burgers goodbye. The juiciest, most flavorful grilled turkey burgers youll ever eat!
- PWWB House Burgers The easy French Onion Burgers that were obsessed with at the PWWB House!
- Grilled Wisconsin Beer Brats The easiest Wisconsin-style beer brats, yielding perfectly juicy & crisp brats every time!
- Grilled SausageHow to grill sausage perfectly, every single time! This simple method can translate into dozens of delicious & easy summer dinners no flare ups here!
- Grilled Tuscan Steak Perfectly juicy grilled steak, seasoned with Tuscan-style aromatics. The ultimate grilled steak dinner!
Follow along with Plays Well With Butter on , , & for more easy, modern recipes & fun!
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Grilling Tips For The Best Chicken Thighs
Wondering why you still cant get it right? Maybe these techniques will help:
- Buy good quality chicken. A healthy and hormone-free chicken will obviously taste MUCH BETTER than one thats pumped with chemicals. Go for all-natural and free-range options for amazing flavorno matter the cooking method.
- ALWAYS season your chicken well. Sprinkle on enough salt and pepper before grilling the chicken, so that its natural flavors become much more pronounced. When marinating, leave the sauce on for a few hours for the best results!
- Monitor the grill temperature. Some grills temperature readings arent so accurate, so pay attention to the heat. If your chicken is browning too quickly, decrease the flame!
- Keep a CLOSE eye on your chicken. If your grill is prone to flare-ups, move the chicken around so that it doesnt burn. Make sure its cooking evenly throughout the whole process!
- Use a meat thermometer. This handy kitchen tool is SO HELPFUL because it takes guesswork out of the equation. Although you can slice the chicken to check for signs of pink, using a thermometer is more effective to determine doneness.
- Try basting LAST! Although you place marinated chicken directly on the grill, some sugary sauces burn FAST, giving your final dish an unpleasant taste. Try basting when the chickens almost cooked through to avoid this!
How To Grill Chicken Thighs: Skin
Grilling is all about balancing the perfect texture and crunch with the tender meat. For addictive, crispy skin, start grilling the thighs skin-side down first for 3-5 minutes. Then, flip them over so they can cook evenly without burning or overcooking. The skin crisps up nicely when grilled first, but you’ll find that if it’s on for too long, it will become overly crispy and tough to eat.
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How To Cook Chicken Thighs On A Gas Grill For Beginners
How can you tell that summer has arrived? Well, the simplest way of knowing so is when everyone seems to be in the mood for barbecue.
This is the time to satisfy all the cravings for some grilled chicken that you may have been holding back all year round due to several reasons.
One of the favorite parts of the chicken for people to grill is the thigh. This is probably due to the higher meat-to-bone ratio, which makes them get ready to eat faster than other parts.
Speaking of grilling, how you go about the process is more crucial than the recipe at hand. In this article, we are going to guide you on how to cook chicken thighs on a gas grill.
It is a straightforward process, and we are going to guide you from the set-up to the preparation of the tasty meal.