The Ultimate Chicken Thigh
Chicken Thighs are one of the most versatile pieces of a chicken. The dark meat is always moist, and the skin is super delicious. Plus eating meat off a bone is so primal, that there is no way not to love it. Except for when you bite it and all of the skin comes off in 1 bite. The other downside to chicken thighs is how fatty the skin is, it often causes flare ups on the BBQ unless you are cooking in an aluminum foil tray. There is a secret to perfecting the chicken thigh and it involves scraping some of the fat off the back of the skin before applying your seasoning. This little trick will take your chicken thighs from zero to hero.
Servings: 4 people
- Boning Knife
- Foil Trays
Prepping the Chicken Thighs and Scraping the Fat
- Preheat Your smoker or BBQ to 350 degrees.While the grill is heating up, peel back the skin of your thighs and run a sharp knife across the back of the skin. You want to scrape off as much of the white fat attached to the back of the skin as possible. During this procedure, the skin will stretch, so once all the fat has been removed you are going to want to trim the skin to fit the chicken thigh again. Be careful during this procedure not to tear the skin. Once the skin is all scraped and sized, you want to season the thigh with You Need a BBQ Chicken and Rib Rub and then fold the skin back over the thigh making it into a nice little chicken pillow. Repeat for all 12 thighs.
Seasoning the outside of the chicken
- Drizzle the chicken thighs with olive oil and then sprinkle the outside and bottoms of the thighs with a heavy dose of You Need a BBQ Chicken and Rib Rub. Place the thighs in a foil tray and then drizzle with another heavy dose of olive oil.
Smoking the thighs
- Place the foil tray onto the smoker at 350F for about 40 minutes. Once the chicken reaches about 160F internal temperature, you want to flip the chicken over so that it is skin side down for about 10 minutes. This will help to render some of the fat in the skin a little bit more and absorb some of the delicious flavor of the olive oil.
Mix up Your sauce
- Place your BBQ sauce into a bowl or saucepan and add in your smoked honey. Combined them well and heat up the mixture to apply to the chicken. Warm sauce should always be applied to chicken, not cold sauce, because cold sauce can slow the rendering of the chicken skin.
One Last Flip
- Flip the chicken thighs over one last time and remove them from the foil tray. Place the thighs directly on the grill, skin side up. At this point you want to glaze with your sauce. Put the sauce into a small bowl and dredge each piece of chicken right into the sauce before placing back onto the grill. Let the sauce set for about 10 minutes before removing from the grill to serve. The final internal temperature of your chicken should be at least 165 degrees F next to the bone.
Step by Step
- Preheat your grill to 350F
- Peel back your chicken skin and scrape the fat off the back
- Trim the chicken skin to fit the thigh perfectly
- Season the chicken with You Need a BBQ Chicken and Rib Rub
- Fold the skin back over the thigh and season again with olive oil and Chicken and Rib Rub
- Place in a foil tray and onto the smoker for 40 minutes
- Flip the chicken over to be skin side down for about 10 minutes
- Combine your BBQ sauce with the smoked honey and warm the mixture throughout
- Flip the chicken one last time and onto the grill, dredge in You Need a BBQ Chicken and Rib Sauce
- Smoke for 10 mote minutes to let the sauce set
- Serve Hot!
Why scrape the fat off the back of the skin?The skin on a chicken thigh has quite a bit of fat on the back. If not rendered properly, the skin can become rubbery. By scraping the fat off the back of the skin, you can render the skin properly to allow a clean bite through it without over cooking the thigh meat. This will lead to a more satisfactory bite of chicken than leaving the fat on the skin.
Is it better to coat chicken in olive oil or butter?Most of our recipes use butter, but in this recipe, we called for olive oil. The reason for the change is that chicken thighs have quite a bit of fat already, so you do not need to add a tone of butter in the pan, we find that a lighter fat like olive oil pairs nicely with chicken thighs. If you have a seasoned olive oil like garlic oil or rosemary flavored olive oil, these are also great additions to this recipe.
What if I am Gluten Free?This recipe is entirely gluten free, so you can safely feed it to all your celiac friends!
Is this the same as competition chicken?No, competition chicken is much different than the ultimate chicken thigh recipe. The main difference is the injection, but there are several other differences, like drying the skin and using a more complex mixture of rubs and seasonings. Competition chicken usually has an extremely powerful seasoning mix, more than you would want at your backyard BBQ party.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!