These Grilled BBQ Chicken Thighs are tender, juicy, and topped with a crispy skin. The thick and rich barbecue sauce tastes delicious with this seasoned and smoky meat.
Table Of Contents
These Grilled BBQ Chicken Thighs are one of my favorite dishes for summer. Grilling outside is the best and these thighs are a real crowd-pleaser when paired with other summer favorites.
- TASTE: Smoky and savory, these chicken thighs have a layer of garlic and sweet and spicy barbecue sauce that can’t be beat.
- TEXTURE: The chicken is juicy and tender on the inside with a crispy skin on top.
- TIME: It only takes about 20 minutes to prep and cook this dish, and 3 hours to marinate the meat.
- EASE: These Grilled BBQ Chicken Thighs are simple and delicious. I’ll show you how to easily prepare this summer favorite for family and friends.
What You’ll Need
- Chicken thighs- We use bone-in, skin-on thighs because they have the most moisture and flavor.
- Garlic cloves– Freshly pressed will give the best flavor.
- BBQ sauce– We like the Kinder brand of mild bbq sauce, but you can use whichever you like best.
Add-ins and Substitutions
- Use boneless skinless chicken- This recipe calls for bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, but it can still be made with boneless skinless chicken thighs. It will cook a little faster if you choose to go that route.
- Substitute different seasonings- Besides onion powder, salt, and black pepper, you could also season the meat with cayenne pepper, rosemary, thyme, sage, or cumin.
- Use another barbecue sauce- We like Kinder mild sauce, but you could make your own Homemade BBQ Sauce or use any brand you prefer.
- Add brown sugar- Up the sweetness of this savory dish by adding brown sugar to the marinade.
How to Make Grilled BBQ Chicken Thighs
- Combine seasonings with oil. In a small bowl, mix the olive oil, pressed garlic, salt, pepper, and onion powder together. Set aside.
- Prep the chicken. Wash and pat the chicken thighs dry with a paper towel. Place them in a gallon-sized ziplock bag or large bowl.
- Marinate. Pour the marinade mixture over the chicken thighs and zip up the bag. Massage it into the chicken and marinate in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.
- Cook skin side down. Preheat the grill to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease the grill grates with a little olive oil and then cook the marinated chicken, skin side down, for about 3-5 minutes.
- Flip them. Then flip over the chicken and grill for another 7 or so minutes, or until the internal temperature of the chicken is at least 165ºF.
- Add bbq sauce. Then drop the heat to low and brush on your favorite BBQ sauce, letting the sauce thicken up on both sides of the chicken for about 1-2 minutes per side.
Pro Tip: If you want crispier skin on the chicken, cook skin side down for a few minutes longer.
- Pat the chicken thighs dry- Oil and water don’t mix so use paper towels to dry the chicken thighs so the garlicky oil marinade will adhere to the meat.
- Marinate for at least 2 hours- The longer the meat marinates, the more flavor and moisture that is absorbed into it. Preparing this the night before will give the thighs great flavor.
- Check doneness- Use a meat thermometer to make sure the chicken is fully cooked. It should have an internal temperature of at least 165ºF.
- Thicken the barbecue sauce- Letting the sauced chicken sit on the grill over low heat will reduce the sauce, thickening it and making it taste even better. It only needs a few minutes.
It takes about 14 minutes for bone-in chicken thighs to cook on the grill. You’ll need to grill them on both sides and check that the internal temperature of the meat has reached 165ºF.
You grill the chicken thighs with the grill lid closed. This traps heat inside allowing both the flames and the heat to cook the chicken thoroughly.
These Grilled BBQ Chicken Thighs are the perfect summer dish. Serve them with other barbecue favorites, salads, sides, and dessert.
- Meats: Pair these tasty chicken thighs with some Grilled BBQ Meatballs, BBQ Chicken Wings, Smoked Ribs, and Chipotle Burgers with Avocado Sauce.
- Salad: Enjoy this main dish with some cold salads, like Cucumber Tomato Feta Salad, Avocado Corn Salad, Cucumber Radish Salad, or Tomato Garlic Salad.
- Sides: Serve it alongside some Potato Salad with Baked Salmon, Bacon Wrapped Asparagus, Air Fryer Baked Potatoes, coleslaw, or macaroni salad.
- Desserts: Finish the meal with a great dessert, such as this Fruit Pizza, Lemon Pound Cake (VIDEO), Strawberry Bundt Cake, or Blueberry Pie.
Make This Recipe in Advance
Make ahead: You can prep the chicken and marinate it overnight, then grill it the next day.
Storing: Store any leftovers of these Grilled BBQ Chicken Thighs in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. You can reheat it in the oven, on the grill, or in the microwave.
Freeze: If the thighs were not previously frozen, you can freeze them once they have cooled. Store them in a freezer ziplock bag for up to 3 months.
More Tasty BBQ!
Full Recipe Instructions
Grilled BBQ Chicken Thighs
- Wash and pat the chicken thighs dry with a paper towel. Then add them into a gallon-sized ziplock bag or large bowl. Tip: this recipe calls for bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, but it can still be made with boneless skinless chicken thighs. It will cook a little faster if you choose to go that route.
- Pour the marinade mixture over the chicken thighs and zip up the bag. Massage the garlicky oil mixture into the chicken and marinate in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.
- Preheat the grill to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease the grill grates with a little olive oil. Then place the marinated chicken, skin side down and cook for about 3-5 minutes. Tip: if you want crispier skin on the chicken, cook skin side down for a few minutes longer.
- Then flip over the chicken and grill for another 7 or so minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken is at least 165ºF.
- Then drop the heat to low and brush on your favorite BBQ sauce (I love the Kinder brand) and let the sauce thicken up on both sides of the chicken for about 1-2 minutes per side.