Chicken Thighs on the Grill: a Three Ingredient Marinade Yields Perfection

This summer I’ve fallen passionately in love with chicken thighs. How have I lived this long without their perfection in my life? Chicken thighs are moist, flavorful, and very forgiving of hot, hot grills. It’s almost like they’re undercover by posing as a member of the chicken family. I’d had them before, but had never really noticed their great flavor and versatility. Chicken thighs are now the meat I reach for first in the butcher case, the item I plan my weekly menu around. I told you, I’m in love.

Grilled Chicken ThighsThe affair began this winter, when I broiled my chicken thighs with skin on with a sultry Asian glaze. They bubbled and crackled in the oven and filled the house with amazing smells. While definitely not a diet dish (you should see the fat that bubbles out of the skin!), they’re worth every calorie, and pair beautifully with sauteed spinach and quinoa.

Because I occasionally like to sport a bikini during these summer months, I’ve been enjoying a healthier version of my glazed chicken thighs recipe. The kids are wild for it, and to this day think that I’m joking when I tell them it’s chicken. After a quick marinade, I throw the skinned and deboned thighs on the grill. I grill them on each side for two minutes, glazing each side with marinade a few times to give the thighs a nice sheen of sauce. In less than 10 minutes, I have the best chicken on the grill I’ve ever had: moist, packed with flavor, and coated with a killer sauce.

And the marinade? Just three ingredients. Take that simplicity loving pinterest people!

As these are just as good the morning after, tucked into a warm pita with some hummus, I always make extra. Who doesn’t love a ready made lunch in the summer?

Chicken Thighs on the Grill: a Three Ingredient Marinade Yields Perfection
  • 1 to 2 pounds of chicken thighs, deboned and skinless
  • ½ cups of soy sauce
  • ½ cups of Mirin
  • ½ cup of maple syrup
  • Utensils: Grill tongs and a grill safe basting brush
  1. Rinse and pat dry the chicken.
  2. You're going to split your marinade in half. You don't need to be scientific about this. Just eyeball it. Put half in a large bowl and the other half in a measuring cup. Beat with a whisk until combined. You don't want to glaze the chicken on the grill with marinade that's been in contact with raw chicken.
  3. If you have time, marinate your chicken overnight, but often in the summer I only leave it in for 15 minutes, and let the glaze while grilling add flavor. I try, but during the summer, even 24 hours can feel like a very long time to plan a meal in advance.
  4. Now turn on your grill on a high flame (this is assuming you have a gas grill). If you have a charcoal grill, more power to you. You're more of a grill master than I am. Preheat it for 5 minutes to get it nice and hot.
  5. Turn the flame down to medium high. Cover the grill with the chicken. You may have to do two (or three) batches, depending on the size of your grill. Cook for 2 minutes and flip.
  6. Slather the grilled side with marinade and cook for two minutes. Flip again. Cover the other side with marinade and flip one last time. Cook for another minute.
  7. If the chicken is not glazed to your liking, slather with marinade on each side one more time and cook for an additional 30 seconds. Get the thighs as slick as you like them.
  8. Serve warm or as cold leftovers in sandwiches the next day.


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