This video will show you how to make perfect grilled chicken thighs on a charcoal grill. This simple dish can feed a crowd, and it packs a big old punch of tasty. Turn on the vid below and get ready to turn up the heat with these tasty grilled chicken thighs!
This video shares tips covering:
1. Why chicken thighs are a great substitute for hamburgers at parties
2. Why you should trim the chicken thigh and remove the skin
3. Boneless vs. bone-in chicken thighs
4. An awesome recipe for chicken seasoning rub – JoJo Rub
5. What is the smooth side of the chicken thigh?
6. The perfect location for grilling thighs in a charcoal kettle grill
7. What to do while your thighs are grilling (Spoiler alert – Drink beer and watch the game!)
8. How to cook simple and ridiculously awesome chicken thighs (of course)
Chicken thighs are perfect for backyard barbecues, because they’re relatively inexpensive. I can buy these for about 99 cents a pound, and they’re a great alternative to hamburgers.
You can use boneless or bone-in thighs for this recipe, but either way I recommend you remove the skin. It’s really fatty and it will cause a lot of flare-ups. Bottom line – it’s just really difficult to get crispy, unless you’re flipping it a lot or using some kind of indirect heat. So I just remove it and I use it for chicken stock.
You can cook them bone-in or boneless but I really prefer boneless because it promotes a quicker cooking, and more evenly-cooked product.
You can really season them however you want. As matter of fact, marinades are really great for this because there’s a lot of nooks and crannies on the not-smooth side, where the flavor can hide. Marinating is great, but sometimes it can take a lot of time and I just want to get these on the grill and in my belly as fast as possible.
So, today, I’m just gonna season them with a little extra virgin olive oil, and some JoJo Rub. You can find our JoJo Rub by clicking here or going in the upper right-hand corner search box and searching for JoJo Rub. It’s a combination of spices that are commonly found in most household kitchens and JoJo Rub is a great accoutrement for cooking chicken or pork. We’re gonna get them thoroughly coated, so that we don’t see any more white on the chicken.
Once is thoroughly coated with seasoning, let’s head outside and put them on the grill.
First, we need to have our fire going. I use jumbo lump charcoal, all-natural and a Weber kettle grill. Let the fire heat until the charcoal turns mostly white.
When you’re cooking chicken thighs over an open fire like this, there’s a ton of variables; How hot is the fire? How close is the fire to the food? Grilling is really more of an art than it is a science so you’ll have to practice. Once the fire is going, just hover your hand a few inches over the top of the grill to determine the hottest part of the grill.
Once you’ve found the hottest part of the grill, it’s time to get cooking. Place the chicken down and be sure to put the smooth side down first. Remember, that’s our presentation side, so that’s where we want to get those nice sear marks. My best tip to you is develop a system for putting these down.
I always start at the top and work my way down over the hottest part of the grill. You don’t want burnt chicken so, if you start to get a lot of flare-ups, go ahead and put that lid on and cool the fire down just a little bit.
Once you have the thighs down on the grill, let them cook for about two minutes before you flip them.
Quick note on flipping. Unlike steak or hamburgers, where we only want you to flip it once, maybe twice, go ahead and feel free to flip these about three or four times. That’s gonna promote caramelization and really help kick up the flavor profile on these tasty birds.
Once they have been cooking for two minutes it’s time to go ahead and flip them. You don’t want them to burn. I remember the way I put them down and I flip them in that same exact order. Cook for another two minutes.
As you will see in the video, some of the thighs may be over a hotter part of the fire so be sure to rotate them as needed. Continue to flip every two minutes until they’ve cooked for 12 – 15 minutes, total.
USDA recommends an internal temperature minimum of 165 degrees. However, I don’t like these when they’re cooked to 165 degrees. Because thighs have a higher fat content, cooking them to 165 will result in a very soft texture.
So, I like to really cook them at a higher temperature of 180, 185 degrees. It really firms up the texture, and makes for a much more tasty chicken, in my opinion.
Again, once the chicken thighs have been cooking now for about 12 – 15 minutes they’re probably done. How do I know that they’re done? Well, I can feel and I can also tell that they are completely white all the way throughout, and that’s how you can tell. But if you’re unsure, you can never go wrong with an instant-read thermometer. Go ahead and use that. You’d rather be safe than sorry with chicken.
I just want to mention one other note on food safety. You’ll see that these are not the same tongs I used to put down the raw chicken. I switched them out halfway through the video because they touched raw chicken and this is fully-cooked chicken. I don’t want to cross-contaminate. So again, these are new tongs, and I recommend you do the same. Better safe than sorry.
Since we’re cooking chicken today, it only feels right to quote the big chicken man himself, Colonel Sanders, who once said, “I’m too drunk to taste this chicken.”