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The Secret to Perfectly Grilled Boneless Chicken Thighs

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The Secret to Perfectly Grilled Boneless Chicken Thighs

May 17, 2016 @ 3:53 am
by e.neil
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WARNING – What you are about to read may alter your life. Prepare at your own risk. All other grilled chicken becomes inferior.

First, a confession: I’m a novice griller. I’ve been cooking for over 3 decades. But I’ve added the art of the open flame only recently.

I admit every time I fire up the coals, doubt shadows my joy of playing with fire. I’m willing to earn my chops the old fashioned way – trial and error. So far, everything has been edible. Or the evidence has been destroyed by fire before anyone is the wiser.

But you’d classify my most recent attempt as a success.

I got my coals going using a charcoal chimney. I tumbled them out onto the grate and kept them in the center of the grill, allowing space around the outside for indirect heat cooking.

I salted and peppered the thighs before getting the grill set up.

I popped the thighs on after the grill had a chance to heat up. I wanted that seared grill mark on that delicious crispy skin. Skin side down for about five minutes, I left the Perfectly Grilled Chicken Thighschicken to start for about 5 minutes. Then I rotated them, still skin-side down, about 90 degrees. Oh, just before I added the chicken, I tossed slices of onion on top of the coals.

I closed the lid so they could smoke for about 5 more minutes. Then I flipped them over and pulled them back a bit from the direct fire, and put the lid down.

Five minutes later, I peeked in. All was well.
Time came to add another layer of flavor. I pulled out the hickory chips and tossed them onto the coals. Again the lid went down and the smoke plumed out the vent holes, coating the chicken inside with the flavor of hickory.

By this time, the chicken was cooked and it was time to add the finish. I created a rub of brown sugar, a little salt and pepper, and herbs and spices. This time I used the traditional poultry seasonings of thyme and sage (powdered). I included the meat enhancing secret: ginger (powdered). And I also sneaked in a bit of allspice.

I didn’t measure, but if I had to guess, it was about 1/2 a cup of light brown sugar, and a teaspoon each of thyme, sage, and ginger. But just a pinch of allspice. Salt and pepper… maybe a teaspoon each as well.

I started with the flesh side, gave it a good dousing of the sugar rub and put it on direct heat until the sugar began to melt. In the mean time, I coated the skin side with the rub. The skin had one more blast of direct heat.

I took off the cooked, glazed thighs and collected the veggies that ringed the outer edges of the grill, witnessing the whole event.

Dinner wouldn’t be served for another couple of hours so the thighs had plenty of time to rest. And I had time to shoot some photos.

The grill is calling my name again. I can’t wait to get back out and give this recipe another go.

NOTE: The skin got a little too blackened with starting out over direct fire. Next time I’ll pull them back a little and maybe extend the per-side time a tad.

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