How to Grill Chicken Thighs

5 from 4 votes

Learn how to grill chicken thighs like a pro! This bone-in skin-on marinated bbq chicken thigh recipe will have your mouth watering and guests asking for more!

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Learn how to grill bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs to achieve a tender, juicy piece of meat that will undoubtedly be the star of your next BBQ. These Grilled Chicken Thighs are marinated in a homemade BBQ seasoning blend that infuses the meat with a smoky, savory depth of flavor that is so good you’ll have a hard time just eating one.

Grilled chicken thighs on an oval platter with crispy skin garnished with fresh parsley and lemon wedges.
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Fire up the grill and grab your tongs! This grilled chicken thighs tutorial will teach you the simple steps to master the art of grilling bone-in skin-on chicken thighs. Take advantage of grilling season this summer and pair your grilled chicken with a few bbq side dishes, like my macaroni salad, pasta salad, or baked beans.

WHY learn how to grill chicken thighs?

  • Forgiveness: Chicken thighs are more forgiving on the grill than other cuts. They’re less likely to dry out, which makes them perfect for those still honing their grilling skills.
  • Juicy and flavorful. The grill adds that special touch, infusing the thighs with the best charred, smoky flavor. Grilling bone in skin on chicken thighs helps retain the natural juices, resulting in moist and tender meat that is incredibly satisfying to bite into.
  • Budget-Friendly. Chicken thighs are often more affordable than other chicken cuts, making them an economical choice for delicious grilled meals.

Ingredients to make Grilled Chicken Thighs

  • Chicken thighs: This recipe calls for bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs. For boneless, skinless pieces, check out my grilled harissa chicken recipe.
  • Oil: Use an oil with a high smoke point, such as olive oil or avocado oil.
  • Bbq seasoning: Choose your favorite storebought seasoning, or make your own homemade bbq spice blend instead. It’s super easy and only requires a few common spices.
Ingredients for recipe: raw chicken thighs in a bowl, oil, and bbq seasoning.

Learn how to cook chicken thighs on the grill like a pro

Season and marinate the chicken, then grill to perfection. Remember to use a meat thermometer for precise results. Get ready for a summer filled with mouthwatering grilled chicken!

BBQ Chicken thigh marinade

  1. Pat the chicken thighs dry with paper towels to remove excess moisture and transfer them to a large bowl.
  2. Add the olive, BBQ seasoning, and salt on top of the chicken.
  3. Rub the seasoning generously all over the chicken thighs, coating them evenly on both sides.
  4. Allow the chicken thighs to marinate at room temperature.
4 image collage seasoning meat: 1- paper towel patting chicken dry, 2- bbq seasoning sprinkled on top, 3- hands rubbing the oil and seasoning onto them, 4- after completely coated.

Grill The BBQ chicken thigh

  1. Once the grill is heated, oil the grill grates and place the chicken thighs on the grill, skin side down.
  2. Lower the temperature and flip the chicken thighs. Cover the grill and cook until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
2 image collage making recipe: 1- marinated chicken thighs skin side down on a grill and 2- after flipping to show crispy skin with grill marks.

TIPS FOR grilling BONE-IN chicken thighs

  • Take the chill off. Before grilling chicken thighs, you’ll want to leave them at room temperature for about 15-20 minutes. That way, the center isn’t too cold and will cook more evenly over the heat.
  • Create heat zones on a charcoal grill. Manage your grill space by creating a high-temperature zone for searing and consistent heat while cooking BBQ chicken thighs. Designate a lower-temperature area to prevent overcooking and keep the food warm. For additional grilling tips, refer to my beginner’s guide to grilling.
  • Oil the grates. After preheating the grill, make sure your grate is cleaned, and then oil them well. Just grab a paper towel with a set of long tongs and coat them with oil.
  • Avoid flipping too soon. If the chicken skin is sticking to the grill and it’s difficult to flip, it’s probably not ready to be flipped yet. Let it sear a bit longer for those perfect grill marks.

What to serve with bbq chicken thighs

Two grilled chicken thighs on a plate next to veggie skewers, garnished with parsley and a lemon wedge.

HOW TO REHEAT & STORE grilled chicken thighs

Allow the chicken thighs to cool down, then store the leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. To reheat, Preheat the oven to 350°F and warm the grilled chicken thighs until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.

HOW LONG WILL bone-in grilled chicken LAST IN THE FRIDGE?

You can store your leftover bone-in chicken thighs in the fridge for 3-4 days.

CAN I FREEZE chicken after grilling?

Yes, you can freeze grilled chicken. After it cools down, tightly wrap each chicken thigh with plastic wrap or foil. Place them in freezer bags or containers. Store in the freezer for up to 2-3 months. When ready to eat, thaw in the refrigerator and reheat using preferred methods like oven, stovetop, or grill.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How long to grill chicken thighs?

The total time can vary depending on the size of the chicken pieces, but it will take about 20 to 25 minutes to grill chicken thighs. The best way to check for doneness is to use a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken thigh, which should read 165°F.

Do you grill chicken thighs with the top open or closed?

For the best results and even cooking, you should grill with the top down. This will help keep a consistent temperature while cooking.

Should I grill chicken thighs over direct or indirect heat?

To get the initial sear, grill the thighs skin side down over direct heat. If you’re using a gas grill, you’ll simply lower the heat when flipping and finishing off the cook. If using a charcoal grill, flip them over indirect heat by creating heat zones. Once the lid is closed, the grill will act like an oven and cook the chicken through.

How to grill chicken thighs: 6 grilled chicken thighs on the grill with tongs flipping lifting one up.

Keep adding to your grilling recipes with this easy guide on how to grill chicken thighs. Don’t worry; grilling chicken is a breeze, and there’s no reason to feel overwhelmed. You’ll get the best crispy skin and juicy chicken full of smoky goodness in every bite! I’m so excited for all the grilling recipes we’ll make making this summer and all the cookouts full of delicious food.

MORE grilling tutorials:

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Grilled Chicken Thighs

Learn how to grill chicken thighs like a pro! This bone-in skin-on marinated bbq chicken thigh recipe will have your mouth watering and guests asking for more!
5 from 4 votes
Servings 6 pieces
Calories 373
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Marinade Time 15 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
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Ingredients
  

  • 6 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons BBQ Seasoning
  • ¼ teaspoon salt if needed
  • BBQ sauce for serving optional

Instructions

  • Pat the chicken thighs dry with paper towels to remove excess moisture and transfer to a large bowl. Add the olive, BBQ seasoning and salt on top of the chicken and rub the seasoning generously all over the chicken thighs, coating them evenly on both sides. Allow the chicken thighs to marinate at room temperature for 15-20 minutes.
  • Preheat your grill to medium-high heat (about 375-400°F).
  • Once the grill is heated, oil the grates and place the chicken thighs on the grill, skin side down. Grill for 7 minutes, then lower the temperature to medium heat, cover the grill and cook for 12-15 more minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
  • During the last few minutes of grilling, you can brush the chicken thighs with BBQ sauce if using for a thicker glaze.
  • Once the chicken thighs are cooked through, transfer them to a platter and let them rest for a few minutes before serving.

Notes

Storage: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge up to 4 days. You can shred the chicken off the bone to use in salads or reheat to make another meal.
Tips:
Take the chill off. Before grilling chicken thighs, you’ll want to leave them at room temperature for about 15-20 minutes, that way the center isn’t too cold and will cook more evenly over the heat.
Create heat zones on a charcoal grill. Manage your grill space by creating a high-temperature zone for searing and consistent heat while cooking BBQ chicken thighs. Designate a lower-temperature area to prevent overcooking and keep the food warm. 
Oil the grates. After preheating the grill, make sure you grate are cleaned and then oil them well. Just grab a paper two with a set of long tongs and coat them with oil.
Avoid flipping too soon. If the chicken skin is sticking to the grill and it’s difficult to flip, it’s probably not ready to be flipped yet. Let it sear a bit longer for those perfect grill marks.

Nutrition

Calories: 373kcal, Carbohydrates: 4g, Protein: 24g, Fat: 29g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g, Monounsaturated Fat: 13g, Trans Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 142mg, Sodium: 210mg, Potassium: 330mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 0.2g, Vitamin A: 242IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 61mg, Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

Cuisine American
Course: Entree, Tutorial
5 from 4 votes (4 ratings without comment)

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