On The Grill: Honey Sriracha Chicken Thighs

Honey Sriracha Chicken Thighs served with cucumber

Boneless and skinless chicken thighs have been an amazing way to learn charcoal grilling basics. Boneless poultry is a great starting point for charcoal grilling newbies as they cook right on top of the charcoals with direct heat. Over direct heat, they cook amazingly quick, so you don’t have to worry about sustaining grill temperatures for a long period of time.

Chicken thighs, like chicken breasts, are one of the most versatile cuts of chicken, and can be seasoned and marinaded in countless ways. In contrast to the breast, the thigh has a slightly higher fat content, so there is definitely more flavor and juices. Perform a dry brine the night before, and the juiciness amplifies even more!

Honey Sriracha is an amazing marinade to put on towards the end of the cook. The combination of glazy sweetness from the honey and the sharp, spicy tangy-ness from the Sriracha sauce is a perfect marriage of flavors that ends up with an overwhelmingly satisfying grilling experience. This marinade is adapted from Joyful Healthy Eat’s recipe, and it tastes awesome! Give it a try, you won’t get tired (“thigh”red?) of this recipe anytime soon!

Ingredients (for about 7-8 chicken thighs)
-7-8 chicken thighs, boneless, skinless
-3 Tbsp butter, unsalted
-1 Tbsp ginger, peeled and minced
-3 garlic cloves, minced
-1/4th tsp ground cloves
-1/4th tsp smoked paprika
-4 Tbsp honey
-5 Tbsp Sriracha sauce
-1 Tbsp lime juice
-Kosher salt, to dry brine and taste
-Black pepper, to taste
-Green onion, for garnish

Useful Tools
-Weber Kettle Grill
-Kingsford Briquette Charcoal
-Digital Food Thermometer

Procedure
Dry Brine (Optional, but highly recommended)
1) An hour before (but I recommend overnight if you have time) cooking, dry brine your chicken thighs with a generous amount of kosher salt and black pepper.

Honey Sriracha Marinade
1) Add ginger, garlic cloves, ground cloves, smoked paprika, honey, Sriracha sauce, and lime juice.
2) Melt butter in a sauce pan on medium heat (stove). When butter is melted, add the mixture above and stir.
3) Once it begins to boil, lower the heat to medium-low and allow to simmer for about 4-5 minutes.
4) Keep this sauce warm for when the chicken thigh is ready to marinate.

Honey Sriracha marinade, after simmering

Chicken Thigh – Grilling
1) Preheat grill to 450-500°F. Set up charcoal to cook chicken with direct heat. Z
2) When up to temp add thighs and cook for approx 6-7 minutes on direct heat. Cover the lid.

This grill has been configured to a two-zone fire (charcoals placed only on one side), but these thighs have been placed only on direct heat (right on top of the charcoals). If you need more surface area, consider placing charcoals in the center of the grill and make a single zone direct heat source.

3) After 6-7 minutes, flip over and cook for another 5 minutes, covered. Begin checking temp with digital thermometer to see if internal temperature is at approx 155-160°F.
4) When at 155-160°F, quickly marinate the thighs into the warm honey sriracha marinade.
5) Grill each side for about 2 more minutes on direct heat. Ensure that chicken thighs are at least 165°F internal temperature for complete cooking.
6) Take chicken off grill and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes prior to eating.
7) Sprinkle chopped green onions on top for some nice color and garnish and start digging in!

Observations/Tips
-Dry brining is much encouraged to bring your thighs to next-level juiciness. In a dry brine, the salt draws moisture out from the thigh, in which the moisture dissolves the salt. In turn, the salty-water reabsorbs back into the thigh, and retains much better. Without a dry-brine, chicken thighs can be more unforgiving and dry if you accidentally overcook it. With a dry-brine, it can still retain a lot of flavor and meat even if you overshoot your temperatures. If you decide to use chicken breast as a healthier alternative, then this brining is even more essential for maintaining juiciness.
-Boneless, thin chicken thighs work best with a direct heat source on the grill. They cook really fast and effectively. If you aren’t a fan of grill marks, you can flip your chicken about every 3-4 minutes until it reaches the target internal temperature.
-Chicken is thoroughly cooked at 165°F. It recommended to start marinating once its 5-10 degrees below this target temperature as the time it takes to grill with the marinade will bring this up to temperature.
-Honey burns quickly, therefore it is important to only cook it for about 2 minutes before it totally burns your chicken up.

References
Joyful Healthy Eat’s Honey Sriracha Chicken Thigh Recipe



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