Barbecue chicken. It’s a summer grilling, gotta have it food. Juicy, tender chicken thighs, crispy golden brown skins perfectly seasoned and then basted with a sticky sweet sauce that’s cooked until its gooey. Sigh. Just the thought of it is making me want to pull out the grill and slap some of those puppies over the coals. Mind you, it’s only 11 AM and I’m sitting outside in the shade listening to the cicadas buzzing watching my crazy little dog plotting on how to escape while I’m not watching her.
Barbecue sauce has many different iterations in the country. In North Carolina there are two forms of BBQ. In the eastern part of the state, it’s a vinegar based sauce and ranges from mildly hot and spicy to super-dooper hot and spicy. In the western part of the state the sauce has a tomato base and ranges from sweet to sweet and tangy. This is more like what I grew up with in Pennsylvania. Maybe that’s why I prefer it. I’m not knocking the eastern NC sauce, because it’s really tasty, but I love a sticky, sweet BBQ sauce more.
The best way to grill up chicken is to start by buying chicken thighs. They are small, tender chicken parts and they grill up perfectly and don’t dry out. After washing them off, I brush olive oil on both sides and season with seasoned pepper and Cavender’s Greek Seasoning. Cavender’s is great on just about everything, by the way. If you don’t have the time or the inclination to make your own sauce, Sweet Baby Ray’s Honey BBQ sauce is on-time!
Once the grill is ready you place the thighs on the coals skin side up so they sear on the bottom and brown the skin before you flip them over. This keeps the little buggers from sticking to the grill when you turn them to the skin side. After cooking them until they are almost done, you add the sauce. The key with the sauce is that your chicken needs to be just a few minutes from done before you add it. The sugar in the BBQ will char easily if you leave it on too long. It really only takes minutes for the sauce to get the perfect amount of sticky. When you do it right, it is amazing!
The best part about eating the thighs compared to the other parts of the chicken is the size. They are easy to handle, with your hands of course, and they remain juicy because of the bone and skin. I could eat them until I get sick, I love them that much! So now that I’ve been fixating on BBQ chicken for about an hour now, I’m off to the freezer to take some out for dinner later. Need a dinner idea? Try grilling up some BBQ chicken for yourself! And don’t forget to grill up some veggies to go along with those tasty cluckers while you’re grillin’ away!