Perfect Grilled Chicken Thighs – Video Recipe

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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!

Click here to get the video transcription
Joey:               Hey, everybody. I'm Joey, and today we're making chicken thighs on the kettle grill. This simple dish can feed a crowd, and it packs a big old punch of tasty. So follow me and let's turn up the heat.

Joey:               Chicken thighs are perfect for backyard barbecues, because they're relatively inexpensive. I can find these for about 99 cents a pound, and they're a great alternative to hamburgers. Now, you can use boneless or bone-in thighs for this recipe, but either way I recommend you remove the skin. It's really fatty, it will cause a lot of flare-ups, and it's just really difficult to get crispy, unless you're flipping it a lot or using some kind of indirect heat.

Joey:               So I just removed it and I use it for chicken stock. So, again, while you can cook them bone-in or boneless, I really prefer boneless because it promotes a quicker cooking, and more evenly-cooked product.

Joey:               Just one other quick note, there's a smooth side and a rough side to the chicken thigh, so I like to cook these ... When I put them down, I'll put the smooth side down. This is going to be the nice presentation side. But, let's talk about seasoning these.

Joey:               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.

Joey:               So, today, I'm just gonna season them with a little extra virgin olive oil, and some JoJo Rub. Now, you can find our JoJo Rub by clicking on our website at RedMeatLover.com and going in the upper right-hand corner search box and searching for JoJo Rub. That's J-O-J-O Rub. It's a combination of spices that are commonly found in most household kitchens, and it's 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.

Joey:               Okay, now that this is thoroughly coated with seasoning, let's head outside and put them on the grill.

Joey:               Okay, so now we have our fire going. This is jumbo lump charcoal, all-natural, and a kettle grill.

Joey:               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? You know, look, this is really more of an art than it is a science, so you'll have to practice, but we're just gonna feel what's the hottest part of the grill. It's right down here, down the middle.

Joey:               So, we're gonna put the chicken down and we're gonna 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.

Joey:               I always start at the top. I work my way down, over the hottest part of the grill, and then I fill in around the exterior. Now, we don't want burnt chicken, so if you start to get a lot of flare-ups, go ahead and put that dome on and cool the fire down just a little bit.

Joey:               Now that I have those down the middle, I'm gonna go around the outside. We're just gonna let these cook for about two minutes before we flip them.

Joey:               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.

Joey:               Okay, these have been on for two minutes, so I'm gonna go ahead and flip them now. I don't want them to burn. Look at that, we're already getting some nice color. Again, I remember the way I put them down and I'm just gonna flip them in that same exact order. Look at that awesome color, that awesome char. That's exactly what we're looking for.

Joey:               Because I always put the chicken thighs down the same way, I know that I put this one down, then this. Now we're gonna come over here, get this flipped. Now, this is a real thin part, and this is the cool part of the fire, so I want to keep this thick part over the fire. That's gonna take the longest to cook. Just a little tip to think about as you're cooking these.

Joey:               As you can see, we're getting some flare-ups right here, so I'm gonna go ahead and throw the dome down, come back in about another two minutes.

Joey:               So these have been on here for another two minutes. As you can see, this is clearly the hottest part of the fire. This bird is getting a little bit more color, while this one is getting a little bit less. This is clearly the cooler part of the fire, so I'm gonna go ahead and rotate these off. Whoa, look at that flame. Here we go.

Joey:               We're gonna come back over here, flip that side down, let that get some color. You can see this is another very hot part of the grill, based upon the color this is getting. We're just gonna go ahead and move this to the outside, to the little bit cooler part. As I mentioned earlier, the thick part of the thigh is still over the flame. So, think about that as you rotate these out.

Joey:               Here's another one. We're gonna go ahead and get that one on the inside right there. You can see it didn't get nearly as hot as some of the other ones did.

Joey:               Okay, they've been down for about another two minutes. I was getting a lot of flare-up, so I had the lid down, but as you can see, it's still really hot. What I don't want to do is I don't want to burn these, and I'd rather flip them too much than serve my guests burnt chicken.

Joey:               So again, this still continues to be the hottest part of the grill. I'm actually gonna rotate this out with this bottom piece right here, get some color on that smooth side right there. And these are grilling up perfectly, as you can see.

Joey:               Okay, so we just flipped these for the fourth time and they've got about another four to five minutes of cooking. I just want to take a moment to talk about proper internal temperature. USDA recommends an internal temperature minimum of 165 degrees. I don't like these when they're cooked to 165 degrees. It's a very soft texture.

Joey:               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.

Joey:               Okay, so these have been cooking now for about 13 minutes, and they're 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, I'll tell you this. You can never go wrong with an instant-read thermometer. Go ahead and use that. You'd rather be safe than sorry with chicken.

Joey:               So, we're gonna pull these off. As I pull these off, 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.

Joey:               Hey everybody, we're back inside now and thank goodness, because it is incredibly hot outside, about 100 degrees. But, we're ready to check out this chicken, so let's take a look. As you can see right here, it's basically fork-tender. White and tasty all the way throughout. Those grill marks give it a lot of good flavor.

Joey:               You can check out our website at RedMeatLover.com for more tips and tricks about cooking all kinds of meat. If you liked our video, please give us a thumbs-up like right below the video and, even better, subscribe to our YouTube channel for future updates. It's the big red button right below the video. You can't miss it, and it only takes a second.

Joey:               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." I totally feel how he gets. I'll see you next time.
Overview

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)

Grilled Chicken Thighs 

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.

Seasoning

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.

High Heat

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. 

Grilling 

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.

Temperature

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.

Food Safety

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.

Closing

As you can see in the video, when these are cooked right, they’re basically fork-tender.  White and tasty all the way throughout. Those grill marks and carmelization give it a lot of tasty flavor.

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.” 

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Grilled Chicken Thighs - Secrets to Perfect Grilled Chicken Thighs
Grilled Chicken Thighs
Servings
Ingredients
Servings
Ingredients
Grilled Chicken Thighs
Instructions
  1. Remove skin from chicken thighs
  2. Place chicken in bowl, coat with olive oil
  3. Add JoJo Rub or preferred seasoning. Mix the chicken as you add the seasoning.
  4. Use jumbo lump charcoal to start fire in kettle grill. Let the fire heat until charcoal turns white.
  5. Hover hand a few inches above grill to determine the hottest part
  6. Place chicken thighs over the hottest part of the grill with the smooth side facing down.
  7. Cook over high heat for 2 minutes, then flip.
  8. Repeat every 2 minutes until thighs reach a minimum internal temperature of 165 F. For best results, cook to internal temperature of 180.

2 Comments on “Perfect Grilled Chicken Thighs – Video Recipe”

  1. OK–here is the best CHICKEN THIGH MARINADE –GIVEN TO ME by the restaurant owner whose specialty was chicken fajita’s, taco’s etc in Temecula, California–IT IS SO SIMPLE
    Take off skin—fork thighs –ALL SIDES–the more holes in meat the better–stir marinade with 1-2 TBLS of garlic POWDER–turn every 24 hours for 3 days–if done right the meat has absorbed all the marinade–I like to grill on a propane gas grill–yes you have to be there –FLAME UPS–to turn–but that is the beauty of getting the thigh crispy–people will actually comment that they think skin is on there–GET READY FOR COMPLIMENTS–CHEF JOEY’S DAD
    3/4 Italian dressing like WISHBONE however can be a cheap italian dressing
    1/4–KIKOMAN SOY–AND NOOO OTHER SOY BUT KIKOMAN’S–if another used it WILL make a difference
    total marinade about 1 1/2 cups

    1. Total Dad move….Hey, why don’t you getchur own site! Thx for sharing with community and, I promise, we’ll give it a try….

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