November 13, 2009

BBQ Chicken Thighs

Who doesn't love grilled chicken? What follows is a simple, fool proof recipe which will produce delicious mouthwatering results. The first step is to select the proper chicken part to grill. In this case the poultry body part of choice is the thigh. While not as lean as the breast the thigh has enough fat to remain moist. I also recommend buying the chicken thighs fresh and not frozen. Although using frozen chicken is acceptable the finished result will not be as good. Freezing has a tendency to reduce overall quality. Next, rinse the thighs under cold water and place them in a 1 gallon Ziploc freezer bag. Add one bottle of Italian dressing to the thighs, seal the bag and place in the refrigerator to marinate for 3- 12 hours. Remove chicken thighs from the marinade wipe off the excess dressing using a paper towel. Season the thighs with your favorite dry seasoning blend. Preheat your gas or charcoal grill to medium approx 300 to 350 degrees. The chicken should be cooked over indirect heat. This means the burners under the chicken are turned off. On my three burner gas grill the center burner is off while the two outer burners are set to medium. If using a charcoal grill the coals are raked to the sides of the grill and the chicken is placed in the center of the grate with a drip pan underneath. Grilling chicken over indirect heat prevents flareups caused by dripping fat. This allows the chicken to cook without burning. The total cooking time is approx 40 minutes but this is just a guide. The thighs are done when the internal temperature as measured by a meat thermometer reads at least 170 degrees. Trial and error has demonstrated the best results are achieved when the chicken is between 170 and 180 degrees. Any cooler than 165 and the chicken is not safe to eat, while temperatures higher than 180 result in a dry finished product. At this point the thighs are ready for the final step...BBQ sauce. Brush each thigh on both sides with your favorite sauce. Allow the thighs to cook for just a few more minutes just until the BBQ sauce is set. Adding the BBQ sauce at the end of the cooking process is an important step. BBQ sauce is naturally high in sugar and if added too soon the sugar would burn leaving the thighs looking like pieces of charcoal. Finally, remove the thighs from the grill and brush with sauce a second time. Allow them to rest for 5 minutes before serving. Serve the chicken thighs with your favorite sides and plenty of napkins.

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