These Grilled Chicken Thighs simply seasoned and finished with BBQ sauce will have you wondering how something so simple can be so good.
Grilling doesn’t have to be complicated. In the case of these chicken thighs, I don’t think there’s anything more simple to throw on the grill. They’re juicy, tender, and finished perfectly with BBQ sauce. Serve with corn on the cob and a potato salad for a perfect summer dinner.
Scroll down to read more about how it all comes together or click here to jump straight down to the recipe.
What Kind Of Chicken Should I Grill?
I typically use boneless, skinless chicken thighs when I’m grilling, but you can substitute bone-in thighs. You’ll just need to modify the grilling time a bit.
Preparing The Chicken Thighs For The Grill
Remove the chicken from the packaging and pat dry with paper towels. Removing the moisture from the meat helps to reduce the risk of it sticking to the grill grate. Unroll the thighs and sprinkle both sides with salt.
In my chicken thigh recipe below, I kept the seasoning simple and brushed on barbecue sauce at the end for BBQ Chicken. If you’d like to add additional seasonings like black pepper, garlic powder, or paprika, go for it! I like to mix my seasonings in a small bowl and then season the thighs. That way, I can go back and forth from my bowl to flipping the chicken without worrying that I’m touching raw chicken in between. Just discard any remaining seasoning when you’re donne. If you prefer to sprinkle the spices individually, you can do that too. Just make sure that if you touch any of the chicken, you wash your hands before grabbing another seasoning jar.
You’ll also need to get the grill ready. We’re using high heat for this. The chicken thighs will cook through reasonably quickly and won’t dry out, but the outside will get some nice caramelization, some char, and some good flavor with it.
How Long Do I Grill Chicken Thighs?
Once the grill is ready, place the seasoned thighs on the grate. You want the top (more rounded and smoother) side of the chicken to be down. That way your nicest grill marks will be on the nicest side of the chicken.
Cover the grill and cook for 6 – 7 minutes. At this point the thighs should release from the grate easily, if they don’t, use a carving fork or metal spatula placed between the grates of the grill to help release them. Flip the thighs over and cook for another 6 – 7 minutes. I like to brush on BBQ sauce during the last couple minutes on each side.
The USDA recommends cooking poultry to 165˚F. I check the thighs by inserting an instant-read meat thermometer in the thickest part of the meat to make sure they are cooked through. If they need some extra time to get to temperature, you can move the chicken over to indirect heat to make sure your sauce or seasonings don’t burn and get bitter.
If you opt for bone-in chicken thighs the cooking times are 10 – 12 minutes per side but the required internal temperature of 165˚F remains the same. When inserting the thermometer, make sure it isn’t touching the bone as this will give you a false reading.
I know I’ve said this before, but make sure to allow the meat to rest before you serve it. This gives time for the juices to redistribute through the meat. Five minutes should do the trick.
More Fantastic Chicken Thighs Recipes
I love cooking with chicken thighs because they have such great flavor. Give these recipes a try too and let me know your favorite.
- Perfect Pan-Roasted Chicken Thighs
- Ranch Chicken Thighs
- Verde Chicken Sheet Pan Meal
- Baked Reuben Chicken
- Air Fryer Chicken Cordon Bleu
Podcast Episode: Grilling Chicken ThighsPrint
These Grilled Chicken Thighs are simple but delicious. This grilled chicken is wonderful served with lemon or lime wedges and garnished with chives or green onion.
- 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 cup barbeque sauce (optional)
- Preheat grill using high heat.
- Unroll chicken thighs and sprinkle each side evenly with salt.
- Arrange chicken thighs on the grill. Cook uncovered until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165°F, about 6 to 7 minutes per side. If using barbecue sauce, add it for the last couple minutes for each side.
- Transfer chicken thighs to a serving plate or platter and serve.
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You can substitute bone-in thighs. Modify the cooking time to 10 – 12 minute per side or until an instant read thermometer registers 165˚F when inserted in the thickest part of the thigh.
This post originally appeared in July 2020 and was revised and republished in May 2023.