Paula: The most common question I get at food events and book signings? (Aside from, “Is that your car in the No Parking zone?” And, “How can you possibly remain so youthful?”) Time and again I hear, “What’s your favorite meat to grill?” The answer is always chicken thighs, but I’m here to tell you why they’re also perfect for backyard parties as well.
Scott: I would like to take a brief pause for science, if you please. Anatomically, the chicken thigh is harvested from the top portion of the leg just above the knee joint. Just below said knee joint, you will find the delicious (and fun!) drumstick. Okay, carry on.
Paula: Thanks science guy. Feel free to swap drumsticks for thighs in this recipe, they’re both dark meat and hence, very forgiving on the grill. An overnight marinade means one thing off your list: the chicken pre-seasoned and good-to-go at cooking time. I love how the marination process (in tangy sauce like Glazer Beam) infuses the chicken with so much flavor, and even changes the texture--the meat becomes richer and denser, like a concentrated version of itself.
Scott: The overnight marinade is a key ingredient to a stress-free holiday weekend. Most think it’s the cocktail, but trust me and don’t underestimate the marinade.
Paula: Indeed. Just remember the key to grilling chicken that’s coated with sauce is to cook them over indirect heat, so the sauce doesn’t burn directly over the fire. To round out the table, I often serve these thighs with Carrot Cumin Pilaf and black beans. But they’d also be delicious with All-American favorites like potato salad, cucumber salad, or baked beans.
Grilled Thighs with Glazer Beam
- 6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon The Usual
- 1 cup Glazer Beam sauce, plus more for serving
- Carrot Cumin Rice, for serving (see recipe)
- Black beans, for serving
- Lime wedges, for serving
Lightly season the chicken thighs with The Usual, and then place them in a sealable plastic bag with Glazer Beam. Seal the bag and use your hands to evenly coat the chicken, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (or up to 12 hours). Remove the chicken from the refrigerator an hour before cooking.
Prepare a charcoal grill for two-zone cooking and build a medium-high fire. Clean and oil the grill grates. When the coals are glowing red and covered with a fine gray ash, place the chicken thighs over indirect heat (the side of the grill with no coals), close the grill, vent for smoking, and cook for the chicken skin for 10 minutes. Baste the thighs with additional sauce (And rotate around the heat as needed), close the grill and cook for another 10 minutes. Baste again, close the grill and continue cooking until the skin is crisp and an instant read digital thermometer reads 160 F when inserted into the thickest part of the thigh.
If the chicken skin needs additional crisping, move it to direct heat for the last 5-7 minutes of cooking, flipping as needed to prevent the skin from becoming overly black.
Serve the thighs with additional Glazer Beam, Carrot-Cumin Pilaf, black beans, and lime wedges, if desired.
Grill-side banter provided by food writer, cookbook author and grilling enthusiast, Paula Disbrowe, and infamous grill nerd and co-owner of PK Grills, Scott Moody.
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