Tips for Grilling Perfect Chicken Thighs Every Time!

Every summer, the air fills with the irresistible aroma of mouth-watering grilled food. As barbecue season heats up, one dish shines brighter than the rest—grilled chicken thighs. I love grilling chicken thighs any time of year as they can be marinated for all kinds of dishes, from pollo asada to chicken tikki masala. While the chicken breast's leanness is often favored, the thigh holds a more decadent flavor due to its increased fat content and additional skin coverage. 

We're diving into tips for grilling perfect chicken thighs that look and taste amazing while maintaining their juiciness and flavor every time! 

Grilling Chicken Thighs

Grilling Chicken Thighs: Bone-In or Boneless

The first choice when grilling chicken is to use bone-in or boneless skinless thighs. Both have their unique advantages, contingent on your specific recipe and preference. Bone-in thighs lend themselves to the classic flavor of barbecue chicken, offering delicious crispy skin and an easy hand-held option. 

On the other hand, boneless skinless chicken thighs grill quickly, making them ideal for tacos and dishes calling for sliced chicken.

Grilling Chicken Thighs: Style and Seasoning

Chicken's widespread popularity is mainly due to its versatility. Used globally, chicken can be marinated, rubbed, basted, brined, or lightly seasoned, following many traditions. Chicken thighs, with their optimal fat content, provide a moist texture that readily absorbs the diverse flavors of the seasonings used.

Here's a tip: pat the chicken dry with paper towels after removing the chicken from the marinade. Marinades usually contain sugars like brown sugar, which can quickly burn. 

A crowd favorite is using a spice rub before grilling and applying your choice of barbecue sauce towards the end for a touch of color and sweetness.

Grilling Chicken Thighs: Preparation

How to Grill Chicken Thighs

Marinated chicken needs at least 30 minutes to soak in the flavors before hitting the grill. Another critical step to perfect grilling is that the chicken should reach room temperature before it's cooked. 

While marinating, chicken must be continually refrigerated, but it must also be laid flat, patted dry, and allowed to achieve room temperature before grilling. This ensures more uniform and faster cooking.

Grilling Chicken Thighs: Temperature

When your chicken has warmed adequately, it's time to heat up the grill! Set it on medium heat. If you're using boneless skinless chicken thighs, aim for a grill temperature of 400 degrees. Boost the heat to 450 degrees for bone-in thighs. Always start with clean grill grates to prevent old, cooked-on food particles from tainting your chicken.

Grilling Chicken Thighs: Time

With a preheated grill and prepared chicken, place the thighs over direct medium heat. Boneless chicken thighs cook in about 8 minutes, while bone-in thighs take 10-14 minutes. Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness—insert it into the thickest part of the thigh, and once it hits 165 degrees, you're done! 

Let your chicken rest for five minutes before serving.

Grilling Chicken Thighs: Skin

One of the joys of grilling is achieving that perfect combination of tender, juicy meat and crispy skin. To accomplish that addictive texture, grill the thighs skin-side down for about 3-5 minutes, then flip them to ensure even cooking without burning. 

Why a Meat Thermometer?

We champion the use of a meat thermometer for grilling any chicken parts. This tool confirms that the chicken is fully cooked when the juices run clear. If it needs more time, just pop it back on the grill for another 3-4 minutes.

If you don't own one, we highly recommend investing in one. It's the best way to verify that your chicken is thoroughly cooked yet not overdone, ensuring your grilling efforts yield the best results for family and friends.

Some of Our Favorite Grilled Chicken Thigh Recipes

Here are some of our favorite grilled chicken thigh recipes to add variety to your seasonal grilling menu:

Summerset Grilling Tips

Juicy, flavorful grilled chicken thighs are the perfect centerpiece for any meal, whether a small dinner or a grand celebration. With these grilling tips, perfectly grilled chicken thighs will soon become a regular feature of your menu plans.