I gotta agree with 'Grill Girl' Robyn Lindars here: Chicken thighs are the superior poultry protein when it comes to grilling. Keep your chicken breasts because grilling chicken is all about the dark meat. According to Lindars, who runs grilling seminars for women, many women ask her about cooking BBQ chicken breasts, where she suggests grilled chicken thighs are the way to go. Crispy, juicy, and cheaper to prepare, boneless chicken thighs are a great alternative to breasts whether it is for a weeknight meal or a large gathering.
How To Prepare Grilled Chicken Thighs
To start, decide if you want to use bone-in chicken thighs or boneless skinless chicken thighs. In the video, Lindars uses boneless skinless chicken thighs to demonstrate its similarity to chicken breasts. It's completely up to you which way you wanna go!
To Marinade or Rub
Read a chicken recipe that tells you marinating your thighs in barbecue sauce will make them juicy? Don't! Lindars shares that due to the high sugar content (sometimes brown sugar is the culprit) in BBQ sauce, the chicken can burn, or worse, your gas grill can flare-up. Instead, use a rub of spices such as garlic powder, paprika, onion powder, and chili pepper to add flavor to your chicken. Once the chicken is cooked, you can add your sauce and let it rest.
How Long to Grill Chicken Thighs
It all depends on what's inside! Boneless chicken thighs on medium-high heat take about 8 minutes, while the cooking time for bone-in thighs are 10-14 minutes. Make sure to test the doneness using an instant-read thermometer or meat thermometer by placing it in the thickest part. The internal temperature should be 165F.
Once it reaches temp, move it to the side of the grill and top with your sauce of choice.
What Temperature Should My Grill Be At?
Preheat your grill to 400 degrees for boneless chicken thighs and 450 degrees for bone-in. You'll need the extra boost of direct heat to sear the crispy skin.
Skin Side Down or Skin Side Up?
If you've got skin on your chicken, always start it skin side down to crisp it up. To help, make sure your chicken is at room temperature when you start to grill and not chilled or frozen.