How Do I Barbecue Chicken Thighs?

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  • Written By: B. Koch
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 03 June 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
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Barbecue chicken thighs can be made in a barbecue pit or on a grill. The chicken should be marinated in a barbecue sauce before cooking. It should be cooked using indirect heat instead of open flame, over low heat, and for a long period of time.

Depending on the chef, barbecue has a number of definitions. Typically, barbecuing meat involves cooking over the smoke of a wood fire for an extended period of time. Usually, the the meat is cooked at a low temperature, under 210 degrees Fahrenheit (99 degrees Celsius). Often this is done in a specialized barbecue pit.

The terms barbecuing and grilling are often used interchangeably, although they are two different cooking processes. Grilling meat involves cooking it over direct heat, usually flame, in order to create a crisp exterior that holds the juices of the meat inside. Sometimes barbecue sauce is added to grilled meat.

Although creating barbecue chicken thighs on a charcoal grill is difficult, it is possible to generate the low temperature smoke cooking environment needed. By placing pieces of wood in with the charcoal and closely monitoring the heat of the grill to make sure that it does not get too hot, a version of barbecue chicken thighs can be created by the home cook who does not own his own barbecue pit. This method creates a smoky flavor, like a barbecue pit would. It also requires the same extended cooking times.


Generally, barbecue chicken thighs are made by marinating the thighs in a sauce for several hours. Sauces can vary in flavor, and there are many sauce recipes available for barbecued chicken thighs. When the chicken is finished marinating, the meat is placed in the barbecue pit or on the grill and cooked over indirect heat.

There are an endless number of marinades that can be used to make barbecue chicken thighs. Nearly all of them are spicy, using such ingredients as pepper and chili powder. Garlic is also frequently used. From these base ingredients, the marinade can be made sweet, spicy, or sour. All of these spices are typically added to an oil, usually olive oil, in order to make the marinade.

It is recommended that all poultry, including chicken thighs, be cooked to 165 degrees Fahrenheit (74 degrees Celsius). This should be the temperature at the center of the piece of meat, and should be confirmed with a meat thermometer. Poultry that does not reach this temperature may carry bacteria that can cause illness.



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