Grilled chicken used to be so blah to me. This is because I find it difficult, when grilling boneless chicken breasts, to pull them off the grill at that magic moment that they are fully cooked but not overdone. Dry and tough and stringy – I’m just not a fan of boneless chicken breasts anymore.
A couple years ago, we discovered the secret. We didn’t realize this was a secret, we just happened upon it and loved our new chicken and never looked back. Last May during Asa’s graduation celebration week when we have a full house of people, one of the meals we served was Grilled Chicken. Everyone loved it and the question was asked, “Matt, what’s your secret to making such good chicken breasts on the grill?”
His reply? Don’t use chicken breasts. Use boneless chicken thighs instead.
Aha!! And here everyone thought we were serving them the perfect grilled, tender, juicy, flavorful chicken breast.
How to Make Perfect Grilled Chicken
- Use boneless chicken thighs instead of breasts. This makes all the difference.
- Marinate the thighs in something delicious before grilling (suggestions below)
- As you can see from the picture below, I blackened the chicken more than I meant to – and the meat still turned out juicy and flavorful! This is because chicken thighs have more fat than chicken breasts so they are much harder to ruin.
- We usually cook boneless thighs for 10-15 minutes on each side, turning it from time to time.
Ever since I figured out this grilled chicken tip, I’ve started using boneless thighs just about anytime a recipe calls for boneless breasts – whether I’m grilling or not. The fat in chicken is a healthy fat – all the more reason to enjoy chicken that actually tastes good. Goodbye, boneless chicken breasts. I don’t miss you.
Obviously, bone-in chicken is also amazing on the grill. It takes longer to cook, but if you have the time – it’s worth it. In a pinch (often), I’ve found that cooking boneless chicken thighs on the grill makes for a super quick meal that has become a family favorite! I think we can all agree that super quick meals make us all happy.
An Easy, Complete Grilled Chicken Meal
Monday evening Matt, Elias, and Malachi had soccer practice, Justus had guitar lessons, and I had yoga class. Before leaving, I quickly grilled some chicken. We all met up at home later and got out the Homemade Ranch Dressing, some shredded cheese, and a container of mixed greens. We chopped up the chicken and drooled all over our amazing salads. See how easy that was?
Fresh tomatoes would have been amazing in this salad had I had some in the house.
Beyond cutting this chicken up in a salad, I’ve found that it’s super easy to steam a few different veggies while the chicken is grilling. Then we have a pretty fancy looking and tasting meal without any fuss at all. Bonus: it’s nourishing too! (Why would I be posting this otherwise??)
Make Enough So You’ll Have Leftover Grilled Chicken
We ate almost every piece of the three packages I grilled that night (it’s hard to have leftovers in this house). But if possible, I recommend grilling extra chicken if you can. The leftovers taste amazing cold or rewarmed. Eat it as is, in a tortilla wrap, or in a salad.
Marinade Ideas for Your Grilled Chicken
I’ve discovered that you don’t have to marinate your meat very long before you grill. Several hours is better than 5 minutes – but honestly sometimes I forget (how shocking) and just brush on some sauce or dressing before throwing the chicken on the grill. Grilled chicken thighs are very forgiving.
- Barbeque Sauce
- Italian Salad Dressing
- A mixture of mustard and honey – to taste
- What are your favorite marinades?
Sometimes we grill a couple different kinds so guests can have options. We make this chicken almost weekly from March to November.
Have you tried grilled chicken thighs? What are your favorite marinades?
P.S. While proofreading this, I occasionally read the word “children” instead of “chicken” in my sentences. This made me giggle-cringe and here I am telling you about it. This post is about chicken. CHICKEN. I need a nap.