RECIPE: CHARGRILLED CHICKEN THIGHS
What’s not to love about chicken cooked over an open flame??
Whether you make this for your family or double/triple it for a large group, this recipe is a super yummy, super easy crowd pleaser.
Marinating the chicken 1-2 days in advance (and pairing it with sturdy salads made 1-2 days in advance) means you have very little work to do the day of the BBQ…other than enjoy the sunshine!
PREP TIME: 10 min
COOK TIME: 12-15 min
2 ¼ pounds (1 kg) boneless, skinless chicken thighs*
3-4 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 TBSP dried basil
1 TBSP dried rosemary
½ cup olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste
1) Season chicken with salt and pepper on both sides and place in a Ziploc bag.
2) In a small bowl, mix garlic, basil, rosemary and olive oil together, then pour mixture over the chicken.
3) Seal bag tightly, massage with hands to distribute the marinade and refrigerate overnight, or up to 2 days*.
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DAY OF COOKING: remove Ziploc bag from fridge 2-3 hours before you will cook it, so that the chicken can come to room temperature
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4) Heat the grill on medium/medium-high heat.
5) Remove chicken from Ziploc one piece at a time, letting any excess oil drip off, and place on hot grill.
6) Cook for about 6-8 minutes per side, or until chicken is cooked through.
Pairs well with any of my sturdy salads (pictured below), which you can easily make 1-2 days in advance.
I always use chicken thighs, not breasts, when cooking for large crowds as they can stay on the grill longer without overcooking or drying out. Chicken breasts are much more ‘precise’ in their cooking time - a few minutes over and you’ll have dry, tough meat. So, use thighs and you’ll be much more relaxed at the grill!
You can follow this same recipe with chicken on the bone (and with skin), it will just take a bit longer to cook…but equally delicious!)
I've noticed that 1kg of boneless, skinless chicken thighs in Europe generally amounts to 10 small-medium pieces. They shrink a bit on the grill, so I plan on 2 pieces per person, thus, the 'serves 5' guidance. Chicken thighs in the US tend to be bigger, so you're better off judging by weight (i.e. 2.25 lbs per every 5 people) than the number of pieces. If they're small, people will take 2. If they're large, most people will just take 1 piece. You know your guests better than I do, so you be the judge. :-)
I like to marinate the chicken 2 days in advance as the salt will really tenderize the meat and swell the meat’s fibers, so much of the flavor from the marinade is absorbed into the meat. You can also prepare the chicken/marinade the day of the BBQ and let it sit for a few hours…it will still taste yummy, no worries about flavor, you just won’t get the same level/depth of flavor and moistness as you would if it has more time in the bag!
Possible obvious safety note: check the date on the chicken to make sure the day you serve it not past is ‘due date’!
ARE YOUR TEMPTED TO SQUEEZE LEMON JUICE INTO THE MARINADE? Then be sure to only do it a few hours before cooking. If you’re going to marinate the chicken for 2 days, the acidity in the lemon can activate the ‘cooking process’ and result in a bit of ‘toughening’ of the meat. In my experience, a bit of lemon squeezed on a few hours ahead of cooking is plenty of time to get the flavor in without ‘cooking’ the meat.
The oil from marinade will likely create shoots of flames from your grill – I personally like this as it gives a nice char-grilled taste to the meat. Just keep an eye on it and move the meat around the grill so that you don’t have it sitting in flames the whole time. The more oil you shake off, the less flames you’ll have.
AMERICAN-STYLE COLE SLAWCabbage, carrot, red onion and raisins in an olive-oil and yogurt dressing. Click for recipe.
Recipe & Photo Credit: Cathy Menees