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You’ve come to the right place if you want to make some of the tastiest and most tender grilled chicken thighs around. By using your favorite seasoning and following the proper cooking techniques, you can achieve a flavorful, juicy and tender poultry dish with relative ease and enjoyment.
Whether you plan to prepare mouth-watering BBQ grilled chicken thighs or choose to purchase your soon-to-be grilled chicken thighs boneless, these thorough yet uncomplicated instructions will help you succeed in creating the delicious meal of your desires.
What Temperature Should the Grill be to Cook Chicken Thighs?
Preheat your grill between 400 to 500 degrees. If you use a gas grill, set it one notch above medium.
How Long Does it Take to Grill Chicken Thighs?
Time varies depending on whether you use chicken thighs with bones or decide to buy the boneless variety. With boned thighs, you grill them for about 10 to 13 minutes. Usually, thighs with no bones take about 12 to 15 minutes.
How to Prepare for Grilling Chicken Thighs?
1. Marinating Your Chicken
A significant step for your cooking method involves creating a marinade to soak your chicken in before grilling it. Marinating helps tenderize your meat and gives it a delectable flavor. Try this delicious grilled chicken thighs marinade:
- ¾ cup olive oil
- two tablespoons butter
- four minced cloves garlic (or use garlic powder for a faster version)
- two tablespoons thyme (fresh or dried)
- two tablespoons rosemary (fresh or dried)
- ⅓ cup white wine (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- ¼ cup lime juice
Mix it all and put it in a large plastic bag or bowl with your thighs, making sure every part of the chicken remains covered. Let it sit for two to six hours in the refrigerator. If you plan to make bbq grilled chicken thighs, you can take out the rosemary and thyme and pour on the barbecue sauce of your choice in the last few minutes of grilling.
The best part; you can create any marinade you want. Add some cayenne pepper or chile powder to spice it up. Use some brown sugar for a sweet tang or beer instead of wine. However, try to keep some lemon or lime juice in the recipe. The acidity works wonders for making your meat tender.
If you choose not to marinate your chicken, you can still end up with tantalizing thighs by covering your grill for most of the cooking time. Just sprinkle salt, pepper, and garlic powder all over the meat first, and you’re ready to go.
2. Preparing Your Grill
As mentioned above, preheat your grill between 400 to 500 degrees. Some people suggest holding your hand above the grill for as long as tolerable to measure the heat—one to two seconds, and your temperature is reaching as high as 600 degrees—two to three seconds, and you’re moving closer to the goal of 450 degrees.
However, you might want to choose a safer way to check the heat with a grill surface thermometer easily found on Amazon or at other retailers.
Try to keep one half of the grill open so that you can move thighs away from any flare-ups.
How to Grill Chicken Thighs?
With some simple measures, your chicken turns out great every time.
- Remove thighs from the marinade and pat dry with a towel. Do not rinse them off.
- Keep the meat at room temperature when you preheat the grill. It helps the chicken reach the desired internal temperature, which helps prevent having to overcook the outside because of a cold center.
- Grill chicken from five to seven minutes on each side, depending on thickness. It also varies with boned and boneless thighs, which I discuss in more detail under that category heading.
- Flip meat more than one time if the fat starts burning.
- If barbecuing, move thighs away from the direct heat in the last four or five minutes and place the grill cover over them after applying the sauce.
Grilling chicken involves no grill cover, whereas barbecuing requires the covering. However, you can combine the two methods, starting with an open grill and then covering the chicken, whether barbecuing or not, to keep the meat succulent.
Depending on different variables such as thickness, bones, or no bones, and temperature of the grill to start with, chicken thighs usually take 15 minutes but sometimes 20 minutes grilling time.
How to Grill thighs with skin?
Remove any excess fat and skin from the sides.
Always grill skin-side down first for no longer than three to five minutes, unless you want very crispy skin. Grill the sides unevenly and keep the skin away from direct heat or flames most of the time.
How to Grill thighs without skin?
Brush thighs with olive oil to protect their surface.
Grill thighs evenly on both sides, but move them around on the grill if necessary to avoid fat flare-ups that leave your chicken black.
To make sure your chicken is ready to come off, always check it with a meat thermometer so that you know the chicken is safe to eat. To prevent any food-borne illnesses, the chicken needs to reach an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit or 75 degrees Celsius.
However, reaching 180 to 185 degrees Fahrenheit or 82 to 85 Celsius might be even better since thigh meat has a denser quality. A higher inside temperature helps thighs stay tender.
You can cut the chicken open to see how cooked it is. The meat should no longer contain pink, and juices should run clear. However, I would not recommend this method for two reasons:
- Those conditions happen at lower than safe temperatures, too.
- You end up losing the juices that keep your chicken moist and tender resulting in dry thighs.
Instead, it’s best to use a high-quality, reliable thermometer like the ThermoPro Meat Thermometer, one of my favorites when grilling or baking. It ensures your meat is cooked perfectly every time with no fear of being underdone and unsafe.
Don’t forget to let finished meat rest for about five to ten minutes so that it retains its fluids. Try wrapping the chicken in aluminum foil while it rests, which helps the thighs get up to higher temperatures by steaming itself. The connective tissues more abundant in thighs break down more readily, and you get juicy tenderness that melts in your mouth!
How to Grill Boned Chicken Thighs?
When you cook thighs with the bones still intact, expect the chicken to finish a few minutes faster than the boneless variety. The bone absorbs much of the heat, making the inside of the thigh easier to cook. The bone also creates a partial barrier between each side of meat, possibly making it thinner.
Therefore, cooking becomes quicker, so flip the meat after five or six minutes. However, the thickness of the thigh varies with different pieces, so the time necessary to finish could vary.
Typically, a sufficient grill temperature for bone-in thighs is about 450 degrees. They should take about 10 to 13 minutes to complete. Still, it’s best to check the internal temperature to make sure it’s ready to eat.
How to Grill Boneless Chicken Thighs?
Boneless thighs work well with a grill heat of about 400 degrees. They usually take 12 to 15 minutes to cook. Ironically, sometimes the boneless thigh will be thinner than the boned thigh and vise versa, so it’s best to use a standard time of five minutes before flipping over, only three or four minutes if the thigh has skin.
Furthermore, depending on fat dripping and flare-ups, moving thighs to the other side of the grill and in several positions might be needed. Flipping more than once might also factor in.
Sometimes there may be little difference between grilling bone-in and boneless thighs. Only slight adjustments prove necessary. Expect most thighs of any kind to take no more than 10 to 15 minutes when considering all the components involved.
Grilled Chicken Thigh Calories and Other Nutrition Facts
You can’t deny that chicken thighs are tasty, succulent pieces of meat. Unfortunately, the higher fat content in dark meat is the reason why. Dark meat has more moisture, which makes it ideal for grilling without getting dried out.
Chicken thighs have about twice the fat and probably twice the flavor. So, what can you do to help with this fact?
First, trim away all the excess fat around the thigh, which also helps prevent bursts of flames from fat dribblings when grilling.
Second, let’s put things into perspective. What is the low-down on grilled chicken thigh calories?
One grilled chicken thigh has 278 calories and only 5.4 grams of saturated fat. That means you’re getting healthy fat, too: 4.3 grams polyunsaturated and 8.3 monounsaturated fat.
You also get 31 grams of protein, 330 milligrams of potassium, and a substantial amount of calcium, iron, vitamin A and C. The even better news? You get only 0.1 carbs!
Compare that to a cup of ice cream: 274 calories, 14 grams of saturated fat, only 4.6 grams of protein, and a whopping 32 carbs. You don’t get significant amounts of vitamins or minerals either.
Consequently, chicken thighs do have a place in your healthy diet.
Grilled and barbecued chicken thighs make a delicious dinner for family and friends. Especially now, visiting outside around the grill creates the perfect set up. It’s hard to resist their savory flavor, particularly with all the delicious seasoning used and the marinades you create.
Enjoy putting your new knowledge of grilling chicken thighs into action. And remember to cook your thighs to perfection by checking it with the ThermoPro Meat Thermometer!