Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Grilled Chicken Thighs with Lemon Glaze

Grilled Chicken Thighs with Lemon Glaze

No, I haven't forgotten about you. I've been busy with some other matters lately so I haven't had time to prepare dishes that have been blog worthy, however this recipe is timely, especially if you're grilling chicken this Labor Day weekend. I prepared this for some friends a couple of weeks ago and had some positive feedback so I wanted to share it here.

The Challenge

Successfully grill chicken evenly.

The Source

The grilled chicken method was adapted from pages 439-440 and the lemon glaze was adapted from page 448 of America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook Third Edition: Cookware Rating Edition


2 quarts water
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, breasts or drumsticks (I used thighs)
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (approximately 6 lemons)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced


1. Prepare your brine: Add the kosher salt and white sugar to the water and whisk to dissolve. Add the chicken pieces and refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours. Remove the chicken from the brine and discard the brine. Dry the chicken pieces with a paper towel and season with freshly ground black pepper.

2. Cook the chicken: Preheat your grill and oil it if necessary. If using a charcoal grill, prepare it for indirect cooking. If using a gas grill, turn the burners down to medium-low. Grill the chicken pieces, skin side down, covered, (on the cooler side with the vents open, if using charcoal) for 20 minutes, or until the skin is crisp and golden. If the skin isn't crisp after 15 minutes, increase the heat to medium and cook for an additional 10 minutes.

3. Prepare the glaze: Whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and thyme in a small bowl while the chicken cooks over low heat.

4. Finish the chicken: Remove the cover from the grill and increase the heat to medium-high, turn the chicken over and cook (turn and place the chicken over direct heat if using charcoal), uncovered, until the second side is browned and the thickest portion of the chicken has reached the proper temperature (160° Fahrenheit for breasts, 175° Fahrenheit for thighs and drumsticks) 5 to 15 minutes. During the last 5 minutes of cooking, baste the glaze on the chicken.


The strategy here is to grill the chicken over low heat in order to render the fat that is naturally in the chicken pieces to avoid flare-ups that can easily burn the skin, leaving raw chicken under it. After this has occurred, the chicken is cooked through to finish.

On a side note, I had the opportunity to meet several other food bloggers that live here in the San Francisco Bay Area recently at Cosecha Cafe in Oakland. In attendance was Rose of Magpie's Recipes, Joanne of Fifteen Spatulas, Gina of SP Cookie Queen, Dianne Jacob, author of Will Write for Food and Grilled Pizzas & Piadinas, and Patty of Patty's Food. Thanks to Joanne, who doesn't live in the area, but was in town visiting and organized the lunch.

From left to Right: Me, Rose, Joanne, Gina, Dianne and Patty. Used with permission from Joanne Ozug.

I don't do restaurant reviews, but I ordered the pork belly tacos which were flavorful and well balanced in flavor.


  1. I seriously need to get a grill - the chicken sounds fabulous!

  2. this sounds amazing, i love the combo of citrus and chicken. and so cool that you met up with fellow bloggers! never done that but one day :)

  3. Wow your lemon glazed chicken looks delicious and perfectly grilled! Thanks for sharing your post, it was fun getting together and meeting everyone. We will have to do another lunch;-)

  4. This is perfect for the upcoming holiday weekend. I've been having quite the work week myself. It was wonderful taking a little break for our meet-up, it was fun meeting everyone and hopefully again soon. I'll go with insane!! Have a great holiday weekend.

  5. looks delicious! My grill is horribly broken right now - very irregular with the heating! So I've been avoiding it, but this chicken recipe is making me seriously miss my grilled chicken, sounds great!

  6. I love chicken thighs. I also looooove America's Test Kitchen - I always learn awesome tricks from their show and website. Great post.

  7. Oh I love grilled chicken and yours look divine! How nice that you all met...great group of bloggers! Have a great Labor Day weekend!

  8. Thanks for dropping by my blog.
    Grill chicken anytime for me :) I love bloggers gathering, looks like it was a fun one for you too

  9. DB, these grilled chicken look so mouthwatering! So nice to see you have blogger gathering there. There must be tons of things to discuss since there are so much common interests among you guys!

  10. wow, that chicken looks absolutely delicious! we definitely need to grill this soon!

  11. Great explanation and awesome photos! Thanks for this!


Feedback is always welcomed. If you're going to be critical, be constructive. In other words, be nice.