What’s for Dinner? Barbecued Chicken Thighs!

I have a confession to make. As a guy, I feel like there are certain things that come with the Y chromosome. Like, for instance, I don’t like to ask for directions when I’m obviously lost. Like many men I have to be beaten over the head with most things before I will notice them. Also, I think that there is certain knowledge that comes with having a Y chromosome. For instance, being able to fix a bicycle without instructions or how to grill anything. ANYTHING! Unfortunately, I learned recently that I am not exactly a barbecue expert, and as usual I found this out courtesy of Sunset Magazine.

Trader Joe's Gluten Free BBQ Sauce

Yes. Yes. I am saying that in the past I burned a lot of food on the grill, and for no good reason. Now let’s just put this behind us and get on to how to make these awesome chicken thighs the right way. First off, you’ll need some BBQ sauce. For this recipe I used the Trader Joe’s barbecue sauce which I reviewed here.

I’m sure there are other gluten-free barbecue sauces in the world. The problem is that a lot of BBQ sauces have smoke flavor as an ingredient and that’s an item that may or may not be gluten-free. So you should check with the manufacturer to see before assuming that they’re safe.

1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs (or skinned & boned if you prefer)
8 tablespoons gluten-free barbecue sauce

That was simple. Now take your chicken and put it in a bowl with 6 tablespoons of the Trader Joe’s BBQ sauce. Mix them up and let the mixture “rest” for at least twenty minutes. Even better, put it in the fridge for a couple of hours. (If you’re using chicken thighs with the skins on, you’ll want to use a turkey baster to “inject” the sauce under the skins. If you don’t have a baster, the next best thing is to peel some of the skin back by hand and use a basting brush to brush some sauce in there.) Some people will tell you to rub the chicken with oil first but I don’t do that.

Now get some charcoal going. What you’ll want to do is pile the charcoal over on one end of your grill. Let the briquettes get properly hot but don’t let them go too far because we’re in for the long haul. First, put the thighs directly over the coals to sear them. Depending on how hot your coals are and how high the grill surface is, you’ll probably only want to leave them on for maybe 30 seconds. We just want to sear them so they have the nice grill marks on them. I’ll usually check one or two as they go and then flip them all when one is done. Grill both sides.

(As a side note, I don’t know if this is true exactly for chicken pieces, but for burgers you only want to flip them once on a grill. The reason is that you lose more of the juices every time you flip them. I tend to think the same is probably true with chicken so I try not to flip them too much. The problem with this is that if you leave them too long they’ll burn and that’s worse!)

Now once you have your thighs seared, move them over to the other side of the grill and close the lid. Give them at least 20 minutes over there, checking them every few minutes to make sure they aren’t burning. Since they’re far away from the coals they shouldn’t burn but it’s still good to check. If you have a meat thermometer, you’ll want to keep grilling them until the interior temperature of the thighs is 165 degrees Fahrenheit. If you don’t have a meat thermometer, you can check for doneness by selecting the thickest chunk of chicken and cutting it open. If it’s still pink in the middle you’ll need to cook them more.

Depending on the heat of the grill and the size of the chicken parts, you may need to grill them another 20 to 40 minutes. At two points during the grilling process, you’ll want to brush on the other two tablespoons of your Trader Joe’s gluten-free barbecue sauce.

One thing that’s nice about this way of cooking the thighs is that you can grill your veggies over the coals because the chicken is off to the side. Shown in the picture is squash from our garden, grilled with mushrooms and red bell pepper. To keep veggies from turning to cinders on a grill you use lots of olive oil and salt. For three cups of veggies I use 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1/8 teaspoon of salt. I don’t know how it works but it does. The veggies turn out awesome, too!

This review was done to be part of What’s for Dinner? Wednesday, hosted by Linda at Gluten-free Homemaker.


  1. says

    I love what you said about the whole Y chromosome thing….my husband is right there with you. :)

    Thanks for the great directions. I will have to try the Trader Joe’s BBQ sauce. I bought Sweet Baby Ray’s at Costco so that meant I had to buy like three large bottles….when I work my way through that, I will go buy some Trader Joe’s and try it out.


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