Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are what many people grab first in the grocery store but what if you could have all the benefits of those, such as fast cooking and convenience, along with another bonus? Boneless chicken thighs have a higher fat content than breasts, meaning they are harder to overcook and dry out. They remain juicy on the barbeque and offer a hearty flavor. If you are not sure about dark meat, just try the following recipe and you will discover how delicious it is.
Chicken thighs from mass-produced birds are usually bigger than those from free-range ones, so take a look at the weight on the package when you buy yours to make sure they are the right size. Before barbequing thighs you need to discard big pockets of fat because those might cause flare-ups. Leave some fat on the chicken because that keeps the bird moist during barbequing, but remove any bigger pieces that you see.
More Tips for Cooking Chicken Thighs
A chicken breast is just one muscle but a thigh is a combination of muscles, and when the thigh bone is taken out those muscles get more loosely connected. This is why they look lumpy when you put them on the barbeque, but that is actually a good thing because the unevenness creates small depressions which hold on to rubs and sauces. Smaller thighs will take about 10 minutes to cook while bigger ones might need closer to 12. When the thighs are done they seem to shrink a little. Even if you overcook them by a minute or 2 they will not dry out like breasts might.
A chicken breast will change from pink to white when cooked, but thigh meat looks pinkish brown even when cooked. It can be tricky using a meat thermometer on an irregular cut of meat on the grill, although food safety professionals say a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees F is ideal for thighs. Some people like to cook theirs to 180 degrees F so it is up to you which guideline to use, although 165 degrees F is perfectly safe. This cut of meat offers a strong, robust flavor, which means bold tasting spice rubs are great on there. Alternatively you can use a herb mixture or even marinate the thighs. When handling the chicken on the barbeque, use long-handled tongs. This both protects your hands from the heat and limits the amount of juices that come out of the chicken when handled.
A Tasty Trio of Tastes
The following recipe uses a trio of flavors, in the form of honey, soy sauce and garlic, to add an incredible amount of flavor to your chicken and complement is natural flavor. The honey adds sweetness, the soy sauce adds a contrasting saltiness and the garlic just works nicely with chicken or any other meat. The chicken is flavored simply with salt and black pepper before cooking, and coated in oil too, and the sticky mixture is brushed on near the end. Brush it on too early and you run the risk of it charring too much as the sugars in the honey catch fire, so just a few minutes before the end is a better idea.
- 4 boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 1 lb)
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 minced garlic cloves or ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ cup honey
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Preheat the barbeque to a medium heat.
- Combine the soy sauce, garlic and honey using a wire whisk.
- Brush the oil over the chicken thighs and sprinkle salt and pepper over them.
- Grill the chicken about 5 inches from the heat, with the barbeque cover closed, for 10 minutes or until the juices run clear when the thickest part of the chicken is pierced.
- Turn the chicken once during cooking and brush the thighs with the honey mixture during the final 2 minutes of cooking.
This sticky, tasty chicken thigh offers a lot of flavor. Honey, soy sauce and garlic help seal in all the moisture and flavor while offering an incredible amount of taste. Served with mixed root vegetables like in the photo, or perhaps a salad, these juicy chicken thighs are perfect for cooking on the barbeque. If you fancy a change from chicken breasts, next time you are in the grocery store grab some thighs instead. You will love the rich, tasty results and these cook so nicely on the barbeque, taking on an appealing smoky flavor. This is not only a flavorful recipe but also one which is quick and easy to put together.
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