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Bob Hart’s Recipe for Chicken Thighs

Article image for Bob Hart’s Recipe for Chicken Thighs



As a nation, we appear to be very fond of that curious cut of meat called skinless chicken breasts: I have no idea why!


Because this is, in my view, a lame and highly undesirable piece of tucker. It is over-priced, under-flavoured and more than likely to emerge from the barbecuing process dry and boring. So please, banish it from your life.


Instead, pay a more realistic price for free-range chicken thighs – skin on and bone in. These are, if you treat them decently, far superior to tedious, skinless breasts. Try this:


Buy four chunky thighs and brine them – in a solution of ½ cup of sea salt and ¼ cup of raw sugar in four cups of water at room temperature. Prick the thighs and refrigerate them in this solution – I use a resealable plastic bag – for an hour, but no longer. Remove from the brine, rinse and pat dry.


Now lubricate lightly with EV olive oil and apply a sprinkle of my all-purpose dry barbecue rub – the recipe can be found in any of my books and probably on-line, also – and put to one side to return to room temperature. Then…


Fire up your barbecue – anything will work, although I prefer to cook chicken over charcoal with a touch of hickory in the fire. If you use a gas barbecue, however, it will certainly get the job done. Either way, cook at around the 200C mark on a clean, oiled grill – covered, of course.  Cook skin-side down for about five minutes,  turn through 90 degrees and then cook for another five minutes. Repeat the dose with the second side, all the time keeping an eye on that internal temperature with a good probe thermometer: the thighs will be cooked to perfection once they are close to the 75C mark, whereupon you should take them off, loosely tent them with foil, and rest for 5-10 minutes before eating.


For a variation, try brushing the skin side, after the first 10 minutes, with maple syrup – a great glaze for a needy chook.


But skinless chicken breasts or thighs? Forget about ‘em!

Peter 'Grubby' Stubbs