How long does it take to BBQ chicken thighs?

How long should you BBQ chicken thighs for?

As the weather starts to get warmer and the days get longer, it’s almost time for BBQ season. There are so many possibilities when it comes to summer recipes and BBQ food but one that can often go unappreciated in comparison to their wing and breast counterparts is chicken thighs. This juicy and flavourful meat is perfect for barbecuing and is the finger-licking good food everyone can enjoy on a warm evening surrounded by family and friends. In this guide we’ll be covering how long it takes to BBQ chicken thighs as well as giving you our top tips for cooking them to ensure your thighs come out perfect.

Every recipe might take a slightly different approach depending on the ingredients you’re using, the thickness of the thighs, whether they are bone-in or bone-out etc. However, generally barbecuing bone-in chicken thighs takes around 30-45 minutes over an indirect heat then direct for the last few minutes of cooking. The low and slow approach will help you lock in the flavour and moisture of the meat and avoid a burnt taste on the skin. Keep in mind that time is only a rough guide for cooking chicken thighs, you should make sure that you’re cooking to the right temperature using an internal thermometer.

The seasoned thighs should be cooked on the indirect heat for roughly 25-30 minutes until the temperature reaches between 73C and 79C. When the chicken gets to this temperature, that is the point when you should add the BBQ sauce and place on a direct heat. Leave the thighs to cook with the sauce setting for a further 5-10 minutes. Adding the sauce too early will lead to it burning before the chicken has even had time to finish cooking. You don’t want the sauce to cook with the meat, it is just there to cover the skin, making it crispy, and providing the iconic sweet sticky flavour.

Top tips for cooking chicken thighs

Before you dive straight into preparing your BBQ chicken thighs, we just want to give you a few useful tips to help make sure your thighs are delicious and juicy.

  • Trim down the thighs – bone-in chicken thighs with their skin on might need some trimming once they’re out of the packet. Cut off any loose, overhanging skin or fat using a sharp knife. Leaving these one will make cooking the thighs slightly more challenging as it will burn or flare up when on the grill.
  • Keep in control of the heat – having one side of your grill at a high temperature and the other at a lower temperature will allow you to create perfectly cooked meat with a crispy skin. Mastering the heat means you can move the chicken between the different levels of heat as and when needed, reducing the risk of burning the thighs.
  • Cook to the higher temperature – as mentioned above chicken thighs should be cooked to between 73 and 79C. With other parts of a chicken like the breasts you shouldn’t go over 73C as the meat will quickly start to dry out. However, there is more freedom with thighs and in fact cooking them to the higher 79C can provide you with better finished products. This is because the connective tissue begins to break down and the meat will fall off the bone easier when eating. They have plenty of fat to retain the moisture, so you don’t need to worry about them becoming dry.
  • Choose the perfect sauce – there are many options for BBQ sauces so choosing the right one is important to make sure the flavours and texture of the thighs is perfectly balanced and complemented for everyone to enjoy. You can find a wide range of BBQ sauces from The Village Butcher including a classic BBQ, sweet and sticky, and a smokey BBQ sauce.

Looking for delicious fresh meats and condiments to kick off your BBQ season, right? Find them online at The Village Butcher and get them delivered straight to your door. Don’t forget to browse our recipe collection below as well for the perfect meal inspiration.

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