To me, chicken thighs are by far one of the most flavorful parts of the chicken.
Though not the healthiest, chicken thighs give you a good in-between from chicken breasts compared to chicken legs. Also, it’s usually one of the cheapest parts of the chicken!
My favorite technique to cook chicken thighs is grilling them.
In fact, I usually grill a bunch at the start of the week with a big container of rice and use them for leftovers throughout the week. The second best way to cook chicken thighs is by using a cast iron pan. This can be done on any stove.
To keep your chicken moist while grilling, you can marinate the pieces or brine the pieces. Here’s two recipes, one for a good marinade and my brine I use for chicken.
4 Cups Olive Oil (or Canola Oil if you don’t want the flavor of Olive Oil)
2 Tbsp. Italian Seasoning
1 Tbsp. Garlic Powder
2 Tbsp. Salt
1 Tbsp. Pepper
1 Tbsp. Paprika, Smoked or Plain (optional)
- Mix everything together and soak the chicken in the marinade for at least one hour. I usually just marinade the chicken in the morning and let it marinade all day for intense flavor but that might be too much for some people. Most people would be fine with an hour.
1 Qt. Water
1 Cup Salt
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 Tbsp. Garlic Powder
1 Tbsp. Pepper
1 1/2 Tbsp. Herbs (I use Rosemary and Oregano)
- Heat up the water with everything else until it’s simmering. Turn off the heat and let it cool down.
- Add all the chicken to the cooled liquid and let it all soak for no more than an hour and a half. If you let it soak for any longer, the chicken will be too salty.
- Wash off the brine from the chicken and pat it dry.
If you are not particularly keen on having all of these seasonings in your pantry or do not mind using pre-mixed seasonings, you can easily use any chicken seasoning mix that you prefer. My favorite premixed seasoning is Weber Seasonings like these ones:
Alternatively, you can always just mix up a big bag of grilled chicken seasoning yourself. This is a great way to control what goes into your food.
When you grill the chicken with the marinade, you don’t need to oil the grill.
There’s enough oil on the chicken to keep it from sticking. The brined chicken will require you to season the outside of the chicken with some pepper and a little bit of salt while you’re grilling it and oil the grill. The same goes for cooking them on a cast iron pan.
Here is how to grill the chicken thighs:
Now, the important part of grilling your chicken is to have your grill turned onto high heat and after a minute or two, turn it down to medium-low. This will make sure you sear the chicken thighs while also cooking it all the way through.
Another way to grill the chicken is to sear the chicken on the grill and finish it off in the oven. This helps you control the temperature of the chicken easier. This is the way most restaurants do it. I have even worked places that pre-sear chicken before service and finish them off in the oven when it is ordered. Doing it all on the grill creates less dishes, though. I am definitely a fan of not having to wash as many dishes.
If you liked this recipe, check out my guide to smoking meats here:
If you need some rolls or some thick-cut bread for these chicken thighs, this is an awesome molasses bread called Anadama Bread:
Make sure you cook your chicken to 165 degrees F (74 C). I actually cook it to just below that temperature. When you pull the chicken off the grill, it will continue to cook so if you cook it to 165 degrees F (74 C) before taking it off the grill, you’ll have slightly overcooked chicken. If you would rather veer on the safe side, cook it to 165 degrees F (74 C).
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