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How To Grill Chicken Thighs in 5 Foolproof Steps

Grilling chicken thighs is the best activity and food to have this summer! But how do you cook delicious chicken thighs on the grill?

I know your frustration if you find yourself with too-dry chicken thighs after grilling. I used to cook dry chicken thighs too.

And, I’ll be honest, it’s not the best. So I went online to figure out how to make juicy chicken thighs straight from the grill.

This recipe for juicy grilled chicken thighs is easy to prepare. You can make this even if you’re a beginner. And the result is really delicious!

If you want to serve it with barbecue sauce, here is a recipe for the easiest three-flavor of barbecue sauce. Don’t miss this out because it will make your grilled chicken thighs even better.

What Makes Chicken Thighs Juicy?

perfectly grilled chicken thighs

Boneless chicken thighs are my favorite to grill because they are more delicious and less likely to overcook. And here are my easy-to-follow steps for deboning chicken thighs!

What makes grilling chicken thighs so tricky?  Because they have more fat than the other parts of the chicken, they’re more prone to remain chewy and flabby. So keeping them juicy is a challenge!

You must know how long to grill and at what temperature to get the chicken correctly cooked. Keep it with browned and crispy skin while keeping the juice inside the chicken.

While searching the internet, I came across this Cook’s Illustrated blog that helped me with my chicken thighs!

I’ve been following this process since forever. And I can guarantee you that the grilled chicken thighs will be juicy.

The secret is to cook the chicken for roughly an hour over indirect heat. The meat and skin’s fat and collagen melt and break down. It will tenderize the meat and prepare the skin for crisping.

from the grill chicken thighs

Why Do Chicken Thighs Get Dry When Grilled?

Imagine going through the entire process of preparing grilled chicken thighs only to find that it’s too dry when you tong it out of the grill! That is something that no one wants!

The common reason that chicken gets dry is that you’re overcooking it.   To avoid dry, rubbery chicken, marinate it before grilling.

The Best Way to Grill Chicken Thighs

chicken thighs on the grill

What’s the best way to cook a chicken thigh on the grill? Will you be using direct or indirect heat?

Two-zone grilling is the key to juicy chicken thighs. One zone will be warm over indirect heat, while the other will be hot over direct heat.

Cooking chicken thighs slowly over indirect heat is the easiest way to avoid burning them on the grill. Also, to prevent the chicken from sticking to the grill grate, coat it with oil using grilling spray before cooking.

The hotter zone is ideal for achieving beautiful sear and grill marks.

What Are The Things you Need To Grill Chicken Thighs?

temping chicken thighs on the grill

Before grilling your chicken thighs, make sure you have everything you’ll need.

Chicken thighs: I like to grill boneless skinless chicken thighs for a lighter bite. But you may use bone-in or skin-on if you want. If you use bone-in chicken thighs, keep in mind that the cooking time will differ.

Homemade marinade: I have a full marinade recipe that you can use with various dishes.

The Grill: Preheat your grill to 450°-500°F on the surface temperature.

Grease the grill: Brush the grill with oil to prevent the chicken from sticking.

Meat Thermometer: To check for doneness, use a meat thermometer. The thickest part should reach 165 degrees F.

How To Grill Chicken Thighs

Step 1: Marinate the chicken thighs in the refrigerator for 1 to 6 hours before grilling.

Step 2: Preheat the grill to medium-high or around 400 degrees F.

Step 3: Grill the chicken thighs for 5 to 6 minutes.  To minimize overcooking, I recommend using a two-zone grill.

Step 4: Place the meat thermometer on the thickest part of the chicken. The temperature should not exceed 165°F.

Step 5: Remove from the grill and serve!

Here is a video for grilling juicy chicken thighs.

FAQs On How To Grill Juicy Chicken Thighs

plating grilled chicken thighs
  1. How long should you grill chicken thighs?

Grill chicken thighs for 6-8 minutes per side on medium heat. The time it takes to cook your thighs will depend on their size. You can cook a small chicken thigh in as little as 5 minutes per side. While a large thigh can take up to 8 minutes per side.

  1. How long will grilled chicken thighs stay fresh?

Any leftovers will last for up to 3 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator. You may reheat leftover chicken thighs by pan-searing them on each side over medium heat for a few minutes.

Avoid using the microwave since the texture and flavor of the chicken thighs will be affected!

  1. How do you know when the chicken is done?

The best way to tell if the chicken is done is to use a meat thermometer. Cook for 6-8 minutes per side on medium heat. If you don’t have a thermometer, the chicken should be firm in the middle and not rubbery when cut. The juices should be clear, not pink. If the chicken is rubbery or has pink juices, cook it longer.

Tips On How To Grill Juicy Chicken Thighs

juicy grilled chicken thighs
  • To ensure consistent cooking, choose chicken thighs around the same size and shape.
  • For extra flavor and juiciness, marinate your chicken thighs before grilling.
  • You can serve grilled chicken thighs with potatoes or rice. I also love pairing it with salads, pasta dishes, and tacos.
  • It’s best to cook your chicken thighs over medium heat so that the outside doesn’t burn before the center is cooked.

Conclusion

There are burgers and hot dogs, but nothing beats a nicely cooked chicken thigh for showing true grilling skill.

My family and friends enjoy coming over for a cookout night every weekend. And grilled juicy chicken thighs have become a favorite of mine!

It is very affordable and delicious. Plus, you can pre-heat it the next day using a cast iron skillet if you have any leftovers.

You can also enjoy perfectly juicy, tender grilled chicken by following my simple recipe. You can make the best-grilled chicken at home with a few steps!

So, are you now ready to grill? Let me know in the comments!

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