Grilled Chicken Thighs: Kansas City BBQ Style!
BARBECUE CHICKEN THIGHS IN KANSAS CITY!
Kansas City is a treasure trove for the Barbecue or grilling fanatic; and this bbq grilled chicken recipe is guaranteed to deliver!
I know other cities "claim" to be the low and slow capital of the U.S. but the best Barbecue in America is safely tucked into the heartland of the plains: Kansas City, Missouri. -- (Casey MO for us locals)
But enough of my chamber of commerce ranting.
This is a really simple way to prepare and enjoy one of the most flavorful cuts of chicken: THE THIGH.
WHY THE THIGH?
When you think of bbq grilled chicken recipes, I'm sure the thigh isn't your first cut of choice. Am I right?
More often than not, the chicken is represented on most barbecue menus with breasts, wings, or drumettes. The thigh is often an afterthought.
This is why I like them. After all, without the thigh, how would the breast attach to the leg?
PREPARING THE THIGHS
After the meat has properly thawed, coat it with a generous amount of olive oil. I use the extra light variety (for baking or sauteeing) since the flavor is still there but not overly dominant.
Olive oil is a primary player in our thigh grilling adventure and has two roles.
After coating the chicken with oil, it's time for the spices. I have a distinct combination but this doesn't mean you can't come up with your own. My list includes:
* Cavender's Greek Seasoning (An American favorite). Far right in the photo. Notice my mother's special packaging.
* Garlic Powder.
* Pepper (or lemon pepper).
* Your favorite BBQ dryrub of choice (Memphis' own Corky's is pictured).
I usually add them separately. But you can combine all at once if you'd like.
Either way is fine.
OILING THE GRILL
I know. Some people swear by charcoal. Some gas. I've always used charcoal so if it ain't broke... I leave it alone.
To me the brand doesn't matter. As long as it lights, glows, and produces heat it's all good!
Very important! Allow the coals to be glowing white before putting any meat on the grill. If you allow the meat to warm up with the coals, some of the intial sear is lost.
Here's another important point! Only put the coals in the center of your firebox, pit, or kettle. They are merely a heat source. The actual cooking will be slightly indirect. Remember, the key to any good barbeque is the temperature. If cooking temps go too high, the meat will cook too quickly and lose many of its valuable moisture and subsequent flavor. As many of my "smokin" friends tell me: "Don't spoil a good bbq grilled chicken recipe by cooking it too fast/hot." That is good advice!
Here's where our olive oil begins act two of its journey.
Coat the grill with a generous slathering of olive oil prior to cooking. To do so, you'll have to take it off the cooker and keep it aside. Fairly simple.
After the fire is good and hot, place the grill in place and give it another solid basting. Then let it warm for about 3-5-minutes. By allowing the oil to heat up, the chicken will partially sear; sealing in valuable juices and flavor. Yummy!
THE PLACEMENT OF THE THIGHS
This is extemely important. DO NOT PLACE THE MEAT OVER THE CENTER OF THE GRILL! Place the thighs around the grill's perimeter away from the direct heat. You want the indirect heat to do most of the work. Cooking the chicken slow, along with the oil, will seal in the juices!
Depending on the size of the thighs, cooking time is usually around 25-35 minutes.
I monitor the chicken about every 10 minutes to see how fast they're cooking. Usually after about 15 minutes I'll turn them; but only if the underside is firm to the touch.
IMPORTANT TIP: DO NOT POKE INTO THE MEAT TO CHECK FOR JUICES. THIS WILL ONLY ALLOW SOME OF THE FLAVOR TO LEAVE.
I can tell how well cooked the meat is by simply applying a little pressure without penetrating it. This is learned through practice. You'll learn it too.
I can only explain so much about cooking time in this hub. Experience is the best way to learn. Just cook, cook, and cook some more. You'll get it quick!
BBQ GRILLED CHICKEN: THE FINISHING TOUCHES!
After both sides have thoroughly cooked, it's time for the sauce.
Choosing a barbecue sauce can be a very personal thing. I really don't have an end-all favorite. And I've tried a lot. For a generous sampling you can check out the links in this hub.
What I have found is that most people have a preference in 3 categories:
Spiciness, Sweetness, and Acidity.
Do your own sampling. That's most of the fun anyway.
I drift toward the milder and acidic sauces. This is why I add small amounts of rice vinegar to my sauce of the day.
Add a little. Taste. Add a little. Taste...
FINAL IMPORTANT TIP: ADD YOUR SAUCE DURING THE FINAL 1-3 MINUTES OF COOKING!
Do the underside first and allow to warm for about 1 minute. Then do the top side and allow to warm for another minute or two.
And that's about it!
Take the thighs off the grill and serve!
Unless you're not fogging the mirror in the morning, I guarantee you're going back for seconds, if not thirds!