Cooking On A Budget: Marinated and Grilled Chicken Thighs

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Marinated and Grilled Chicken Thighs

There's nothing quite like crispy skin on chicken, where the skin is crispy from the top all the way to the bottom of the chicken skin. That is what Graham Elliot was looking for in last nights Master Chef competition. So I know that if he had my marinated and grilled chicken thighs that they would meet that criteria. Come find out how I did it.

The vinaigrette I made for the Green Bean and Bacon Salad was so outstanding I decided to adapt it in this recipe for a marinade for grilling some chicken thighs. A couple of tweaks and an additional ingredient and it was just what the chicken ordered - to soak and bath in a pool of wonderful flavors.

Some steamed corn and potatoes completed this inexpensive and delicious dinner. The original intent was to grill these outdoors however that had to change as it was a Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day scenario outside. I pulled out my indoor non stick grill pan and it worked just fine - not the grilling marks you like to see when grilling, but the end result was tender, moist and delectable chicken with deep golden crisp skin.

I've learned something which is a brining solution breaks down the connective tissues of the meat while a marinade only imparts flavor to what ever you are cooking. But to really get the meat to absorb the marinade some stabbing with a meat fork all over has to be done. That's what I recommend with  London Marinade that I created for grilling cuts of meat like shoulder London broil.

  • 1 lb. chicken thighs
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. onion - small dice
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 lemon - juiced
  • 1 tsp. poppy seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar (white, granulated)
  • 1/8 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  1. Wash your chicken under cold water and dry with paper towels. Season both sides with salt and pepper to taste. If you use a meat fork on the meat side and stab all over the marinade has a better chance of imparting a bit more flavor to the meat.
  2. Make the vinaigrette by whisking together the oil, vinegar, onion, mustard, lemon juice and poppy seeds, sugar, crushed red pepper flakes, salt and black pepper. Be sure to whisk well. 
  3. Add the chicken to a glass dish or zip lock bag and pour the marinade over. Marinate overnight or at least 2 hours, turning the chicken over once or twice. Keep refrigerated while marinating.
  4. Take your chicken out about an hour before you are going to grill it.
  5. Grill over medium heat for about an hour, turning every so often until the internal temperature is at 165° when you pierce it into the thickest part of the chicken thigh.
  • It is imperative for getting crispy skin to monitor your outside grill if you are using one. If you have a gas grill it is easier to adjust the heat than it is for charcoal. So for charcoal you have to stand there and watch the chicken and move it to parts of the grill that are less hot.
  • With an indoor grill it's much easier. I set my grill pan over two burners (it's a big one) and sprayed it with cooking spray. I turned the heat up to medium high and let the pan heat up for a couple of minutes. I started with skin side down, turned the heat down to medium low and let them cook for about 5 minutes and turned them over.
  • I turned them about every five minutes. After 40 minutes I tested to see what the internal temperature was and kept cooking them (still turning occasionally) until my instant read thermometer reached 160 degrees. I turned the heat off under the pan and kept them there. The residual heat and resting brought the temperature up to 165°.
  • Be sure to toss the marinade - never re-use marinade that you have had any meat in it. I also recommend that if you want some of any marinade you are using as a sauce, that you save some off to the side for that purpose.
There you have it - crispy skin and moist, flavorful meat!

This delicious dinner complete with corn on the cob and foil pocket potatoes cost me $8.53, feeding four people for $2.13 each. Our store had chicken thighs on sale - a family pack for $1.00 per pound, but for us it made more sense to buy a four pack for $2.86. You decide when you are planning your menus whether the family pack is the better choice for you and your family.

~ More grilling recipes you might enjoy ~

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