Learn how to grill perfect chicken thighs with this easy to follow picture tutorial. Let’s fire up the grill for some crispy, moist chicken thighs.
So what is the problem with grilling chicken thighs? Fat and flames… flames and fat. Chicken thighs are just loaded with fat. So here is how to solve the problem.
This is a 4 to 5. If you’re a real thigh person, then a five would be in order.
Pro Cooking Notes for Grilled Chicken Thighs
- Trim all available fat. OK, that is good Captain Obvious.
- Use the entire grill surface to have space to move away from flair ups. In fact, I moved the chicken back and forth to help decrease fat in any one area. Yep, it works.
- Do “uneven grill” meaning cook the meat side facing the flame longer than skin side down. Get to char but not burnt. Yep, that works too.
As always, cook to the final internal temperature. Do not cook by time alone.
I used my 7:2:2 seasoning but season to your taste. Just some Kosher salt and pepper would do.
My grill is very hot so to get to 450 grill surface temperature, I’m medium to slightly above gas setting. Most grills that is medium high. DO NOT TRUST the built in thermometer on the lid.
For help on grill surface temperature, please see my A Beginners Guide to Grill Temperature on a Gas Grill.
Do not try this with partly frozen chicken; you will never get to the correct internal temperature.
I use 180-185 as my final internal temperature. This is where thighs are done. They are safe at 165 but are still tough. Please use an instant read thermometer to get the right internal temperature.
Some recipes will call for “when the juices run clear.” So you are to stand there poking your thighs and I really have no idea what temperature that is but I suspect it may not even be 165.
Preheat grill to 450 degrees surface temperature. That is a little above medium for me but is medium-high on most grills. Use the entire grill surface. Clean and oil well.
While the grill is preheating, trim the thighs of any trim-able fat and extra skin and allow to rest at room temperature until grill is ready. No longer than 30 minutes but this will help get to the correct internal temperature later.
Just before placing on the grill give all sides a sprinkle of salt and pepper to your taste. I use my 7:2:2 which is salt, pepper and garlic powder. But season to your taste.
Using only half the grill surface, place on grill with skin side UP. Grill for 5-6 minute then flip onto the other side of the grill. Grill for about 4 minutes with the skin down and then flip. Continue to alternate sides of the grill to help keep the flair up down and continue the “uneven” grilling.
Grill to 180-185 internal temperature. Right at 25 minutes for me but this will vary some with your exact grill surface temperature, the temperature of the thighs and thickness. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving. They are too hot to eat.
Originally Published August 1, 2015