sweet & spicy citrus sriracha grilled chicken thighs

One of my favorite things to make and eat for dinner in these warmerish months is also one of the least expensive and unglamorous…..

Grilled chicken thighs.

I can’t even say it without wrinkling my nose!  They sound only marginally appetizing - and that’s being generous – but I think chicken thighs are really actually something to rave about.  They’re juicy and rich tasting and will make you think twice about defaulting to yet another dry tasteless breast – and THAT I’m thankful for alone!  Granted the thought of them isn’t exactly pulse quickening – I think its safe to say I won’t be wooing gobs of guests to dinner parties with chicken thighs on the menu – but they are easy and cheap and the final product will totally blow your expectations.  Love that!


Previously, when given my druthers, I have always been a white meat-only-girl through and through.  I’ve generally found the darker stuff to be too slippery and suspect when compared to the pure and fluffy white meat found on the breast cuts; my preference was also swayed by years of being told that white meat is healthier and thus more diet friendly.  This is partially true – chicken thighs have more fat than the breasts – but they have only marginally more calories, and still contain less fat than other cuts of beef, pork, or lamb.  This ‘extra’ fat is also what helps to prevent them from becoming overcooked or dried out and also keeps them super flavorful.

To boot, I’m really not wild about chicken on the bone – I’ll pick boneless wings over their knobbly counterparts (who wants cartilage stuck in their teeth?!) and choose the white quarter of a rotisserie chicken over the leg portion to avoid arduously and messily having to excavate the meat out from all of the bony bits.  Boneless skinless chicken thighs are like a sanitized version of their tasty fully assembled predecessors – just trim all the visible fat before marinating, and you have a completely edible piece of juicy thigh meat.

I’m surprised by how much I love these.  This sweet and spicy marinade is perfect on a grill – it crisps up and chars in places giving the most summery BBQ taste without taking hours to make a sauce or slow roast them.  With some fresh sweet corn (I am literally marking off the days on my calendar till it arrives!), some skillet cornbread and a big green salad this is going to be popping up weekly at our house.

Sweet & Spicy Grilled Chicken Thighs
Serves 2

If you’re not one for lots of spice, omit the sriracha and sweet chili sauce and replace it with Worcestershire sauce and ketchup.  You wont sacrifice any of the sweet and smoky flavor and still get a wonderful BBQ taste.

Take care when grilling these over direct heat – the sugar in the marinade will char and burn quickly, and while you do want charring to some degree you don’t want hockey puck thighs.

1lb Boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 4 pieces)
2 Tbsp Sriracha Sauce*
2 Tbsp sweet chili sauce*
1/4 Cup Orange marmalade (alternately use apricot preserves)
¼ Cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp Olive Oil

Special equipment: basting brush
At least 30 minutes and up to 12 before grilling**, marinate the chicken thighs.  Trim all extra fat from the chicken and season them well with salt.  In a dish large enough to hold the thighs, whisk the marmalade, sweet chili sauce, sriracha, the brown sugar, and the olive oil.  Add the chicken into the dish, and toss it to combine well.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to grill.
When ready to grill, heat a grill over high medium high heat.  Bring a brush out with you, so you can baste the chicken while it cooks.  When the grill is hot, add the chicken smooth side down, and close the lid. Let it cook for about 4 minutes, covered, until there are nice grill marks and the chicken starts to look opaque.  Turn the chicken a quarter turn (keeping the same side down, to get cross-hatch grill marks) and grill for an additional minute.
Baste the chicken with the marinade, flip, and cook for another 4 minutes on the remaining side.  Check for doneness by slicing into the center of a thick part – it should be opaque but juicy looking.  If you still see raw pink in the center, continue to baste & cook in 2 minute increments until cooked through.
When cooked through, remove from heat, and tent with foil.  Let rest 5 minutes, and serve.

*Sriracha and sweet chili sauce can be found at Asian specialty grocer’s, or even perhaps in your local grocer in the Asian section (check Whole Foods), or on Amazon.com.  The Sriracha with the Rooster on it (“Rooster Sauce” as it’s often known) is my favorite brand.

**I have marinated this for only 30 minutes before cooking and it is still perfect.  If you have the extra time to marinate, it will definitely heighten the flavor, but don’t skip this recipe just because you think you don’t have marinating time!  Just baste it a bit more while it cooks – it will help glaze the meat and flavor it quite a bit.

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3 responses to “sweet & spicy citrus sriracha grilled chicken thighs

  1. Middle of the Kitchen

    looks delicious! will definitely try soon!

  2. Pingback: boring, says who?: vinegar glossed chicken with pearl onions and parmesan polenta | eat and relish

  3. Pingback: Garlic & Black Pepper Pork Burgers with Sriracha Slaw - TeakDoor.com - The Thailand Forum

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