Grilled Chicken Legs And Thighs

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Why Make Your Own Dry Rub

Beginners Guide to Grilling Chicken Thighs

What we love about making our own dry rub at home is that there are no additives. You can also monitor the amount of salt, spice, and sweetness your rub has, which is great for so many reasons. One thing I recommend with this rub is making a double or triple batch of it to have on hands at all times!

If you arent feeling a dry rub, you can try our grilled chicken marinade instead.

Check it out!

How Much Fat Is There

Since we are dealing with a natural product, there is some variability but think of a thigh having about two to three times the fat of chicken breasts.

Here are the numbers from the National Chicken Council. Cooked skin-on thigh has 15.5 grams of fat, while a skin-on split chicken breast is 7.8 grams.

What Are Chicken Leg Quarters

Chicken leg quarters are the thigh and drumstick, also known as the leg, of a chicken. The thigh and leg are also a quarter of a chicken hence the name chicken leg quarters.

Both the thigh and the drumstick contain dark meat which can be fatty and juicy. Both being fatty and juicy bring a lot of flavor to the chicken.

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Grilled Barbecue Chicken Legs And Thighs

Published: by Lois · This post may contain affiliate links ·

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Youll simply love this grilled barbecue chicken legs and thighs recipe made with my easy three ingredient homemade barbecue sauce. The amazing taste and tenderness of this family favorite chicken recipe will give your taste buds a flavor burst with every bite.

Let me show you how easy this recipe is to make for dinner tonight.

This recipe for grilled barbecue chicken legs and thighs is the perfect cookout dish for any summer backyard party you’re hosting. Make sure you check out my favorite Homemade Mac and Cheese Recipe that is our family’s favorite side dish for chicken.

I prefer to use thighs and legs for this recipe, but you may use any cut of chicken that you enjoy best for grilling. Make sure you save some of the homemade barbecue sauce for dipping, because Im confident you wont be able to get enough of my flavorful barbecue sauce that only has THREE ingredients.

Boneless Or Skinless Thighs

Grilled Chicken Thighs  101 Cooking For Two

While this recipe is for bone-in skin-on thighs, the meat is all the same and will cook with a few minor adjustments.

The bone will absorb some of the heat, so boneless thighs will cook a few minutes faster, and they always seem thinner to me. Thickness is a significant variable in cooking time, so pay attention to the internal temperature.

Skinless thighs should have a brush of oil before seasoning and do not need the uneven part of the grilling methodno skin to protect. But still alternate sides of the grill due to fat drainage and flair-ups.

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Why You Will Love These Chicken Drumsticks:

  • They only require 5 minutes of prep. Add some oil, rub in the spices and you are set for the grill. Making these grilled chicken drumsticks will not take much of your time at all.
  • Super simple to make and so flavorful. The only requirement when making these is to flip every 5 minutes or so. That is it. For that little amount of work, the tender, delicious chicken is so worth it!
  • Chicken legs are a great source of iron and zinc and other essential nutrients. Dark chicken meat is often deemed unhealthy, but it is not at all. Chicken legs contain higher quantities of B vitamins, iron and zinc. The fat content is slightly higher, but fat is not the enemy it once was and the fats are healthier than other fat sources.
  • Great for meal prep.You can season and prep the chicken drumsticks up to 24 hours in advance and then toss them on the grill when ready. You can then set it aside wrapped in the fridge for a great protein for much of the week!

How To Grill Chicken Wings

The love of chicken wings has led to national chain restaurants dedicating their entire menu to them. When you think about healthy cuts of chicken, most people avoid the wing. But, its not the wing itself that leads to a high-calorie or high fat meal, its the breading and the sauce. Chicken wings provide 23.8 grams of protein, 16 grams of fat, and 250 calories.

Cook chicken wings directly over the heat for about 20-25 minutes. Position wings on the grill gates and cook with the lid closed for the first 4 to 5 minutes. Then, turn each wing every 3-4 minutes for even cooking. Check the internal temperature of the wings and take them off once theyve reached 165°F. There isnt much carryover cooking with chicken wings since theyre smaller pieces of meat and any added sauces will also stop the meat from cooking.

If you are adding a chicken wing sauce, make it before you grill the wings. Then slather onto your meat after theyre done grilling.

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Ingredients For Grilled Chicken Legs

These chicken drumsticks on the grill only require a few simple ingredients for the easiest and best chicken legs youll ever have.

  • 2 pounds chicken drumsticks
  • 2 teaspoons garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • Teriyaki BBQ Sauce. This recipe can be made from scratch using the one here on the site, or you can pick up your favorite teriyaki BBQ sauce from the store. Go with whatever works best for you.

Thats seriously it! You really cant beat 4 ingredients for these chicken legs on the grill.

How Do You Cook Chicken Quarters On A Gas Grill

How to Make the Best Grilled Chicken Thighs with Mustard and Tarragon

To cook chicken quarters on a gas grill, preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Season the chicken quarters with your favorite spices or marinade, then place them on the grill. Grill the chicken for about 10 minutes per side, or until fully cooked. Enjoy!

This recipe is one of the most popular on my 13 Easy Grilled Chicken Recipes blog. An Army can feed its soldiers grilled chicken leg quarters for a few dollars per pound for less than 79 cents. Depending on the size of the chicken quarters, it can take anywhere from 45 minutes to 55 minutes to cook. Grilling these items with a reliable instant read thermometer is critical. In general, dark meat chicken can be consumed at a temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. The work is not finished, however. Grilling these grilled chicken quarters at 185F to 190F for about an hour will help you keep them warm.

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Secrets To Making The Best Grilled Chicken Legs

This recipe is an improved version of the old one I posted on this page. There were two obvious reasons for the change. One is that the recipe had brown sugar and it made it almost impossible to properly brown the skin without some burning here and there. Not a huge problem but Id rather avoid it if I could. The other one is aesthetics and visual appeal. Somehow plain dry rub without any oil does not look so appetizing on grilled chicken legs. Here is the picture of the product of the old recipe, see the difference? So, in a nutshell, brown sugar is out and is substituted by dark soy sauce for some sweetness and color. Olive oil is in for better browning and visual appeal.

The Key To Perfectly Grilled Chicken:

Precook it in the oven ahead of time so you know its fully cooked and ready for the grill. Cooking it ahead of time also lets you cook it slowly, which yields nice, juicy, and tender meat. And, it gives you time to put your feet up during grilling season because most of the work is done beforehand.

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Pro Tips For Grilling Chicken Drumsticks

For perfectly succulent chicken drumsticks, a grilling time between 25-30 minutes is ideal for almost any recipe. Overcooking can char and dry your meat, but you want to make sure you don’t undercook poultry either. Keep your grill around 300-400°F and make sure the internal temperature of the chicken is at least 165°F.

There are several ways to cook the perfect chicken drumsticks on the grill:

Place drumsticks in foil or plastic wrap and warm them at room temperature before grilling.

As you preheat your grill, coat the grill grates with oil to prevent your chicken from sticking. Keep that oil handy! You’ll need it later.

Split your grill into two temperature zones, with one side at high heat and the other at medium.

Start grilling with high heat to get crispy skin. Finish over medium heat until the chickens internal temperature reaches 165°F. This Char-Broil Instant Read Digital Thermometer will help.

Turn your grilled chicken over once to keep the skin an even, crispy golden-brown.

Spice up your drumsticks with rubs, marinades, glazes and sauces. Marinate your drumsticks for several hours before cooking. Add spices before they hit the grill and glazes and sauces shortly before theyre finished. Every master grillers toolbox is incomplete without a Basting Brush to help you spread an even glaze.

Remove your chicken from the grill onto a warm plate and let your drumsticks sit for three to five minutes before serving.

Season The Chicken Legs

Easy grilled chicken thighs

The hardest part of this recipe is figuring out what you want to use to season the legs. For this batch of legs I used Kirklands Sweet Mesquite seasoning but there are a thousand other rubs that will work just fine. Heck, sometimes I cook these with just salt and pepper and they turn out great.

If you need a rub recipe then here is our Award Winning Chicken Rub that you can use.

Award Winning Chicken Rub

Just toss the legs with the rub to get an even coating.

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How To Make Homemade Bbq Sauce

Making homemade BBQ sauce is super simple! All of the ingredients are pantry and fridge staples and when simmered together make an incredible sauce that will become a family favorite.

All thats needed to make BBQ Sauce is one pot and about 10 minutes of time. Add all the ingredients to the pot and whisk them together. Bring the sauce up to a boil then reduce and simmer for 15 minutes. Let the sauce cool and you are ready to serve.

These chicken legs are great with the classic BBQ sauce in this recipe but they are also amazing when grilled with Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce.

How Long To Grill Chicken Drumsticks

These chicken drumsticks take approximately 35-45 minutes to grill. They need 30-35 minutes over direct heat and an additional 5-10 minutes over indirect heat to set the BBQ sauce and reach 175 degrees F internal temperature.

My recommendation whenever youre grilling or smoking meat? Cook to temperature and not to time. Invest in a good, reliable meat thermometer and check the thermometer more than watching the clock. Its especially important to cook chicken to 165 degrees F as this is the safe internal temperature for cooked chicken. I always aim for 175 degrees F when grilling drumsticks because they have more connective tissue and the meat will fall off the bone if you cook them to this higher temperature.

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How To Grill Perfect Chicken Legs

Grilling chicken legs over direct heat for about 30 minutes on each side will cook them faster, depending on the size of the drumstick. Flip it out every ten minutes or so. In a medium pot over high heat, cook the chicken until it reaches 165F. Allow the chicken to rest for at least five minutes on a cooling rack after it has been removed from the grill.

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When Is The Chicken Done

The Secret to Perfect BBQ Chicken Thighs

Minimum safe internal temperature for chicken is 165° and it should be cooked to at least that. Although, bone-in chicken legs, thighs, and leg quarters are not like the lean chicken breast and it will not dry out as easily if cooked over recommended temperature. You also run a good chance of chicken legs being under-done if cooked only to 165°.

Personally, I cook my chicken legs to 175°-180° internal temperature.

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What To Serve With Chicken

Chicken legs are a great protein that is delicious and easy to eat. You can serve them as a meal or with a meal.

There are a million possibilities when it comes to sides to serve with chicken.

From Roasted Red Potatoes to Garlic & Thyme Roasted Carrots. Steamed broccoli, or even chop the chicken up and serve as a chicken salad slathered with ranch dressing!

One of our favorite lunches to make are these Sriracha Chicken Wraps. Theyre just easy and delish!

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Preheat grill to medium-high 400 degrees F.

Trim any chunky fat off the thighs if you wish

Pat chicken dry with paper towel

Oil grill grates

Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper

Place legs on grill for 5 minutes.

Turn and continue grilling and turning every 5 minutes for about 30 to 35 minutes or until chicken has reached an internal temperature of 185 degrees F.

To get a char, apply your favorite BBQ sauce at the 20-25 minute mark, flip and apply more as you wish.

So 185 degrees is the magic number for grilling chicken legs use a thermometer to get this internal temp correct. The chicken leg meat will fall off the bone and be juiciest at this temperature.

Turn the chicken legs every 5 minutes or so to prevent burning the skin and assure youre cooking the chicken legs evenly.

Tip: Grill with lid closed. If youre lookin you aint cookin!

Youll want to apply the BBQ sauce early enough that you can apply more to the other side after flipping, and get a nice char all around.

Getting The Crispy And Caramelized Skin

Nicely caramelized and crispy skin is the icing on the cake. Its the best part. You get it by grilling at a fairly high temperature of about 300F-350F at the grate level. Lower and you wont get proper skin crispness. Higher and you will burn the chicken skin.

Specifics are important in getting the right result. I dont like guesswork and like the simplicity of using a good BBQ thermometer. It makes grilling a joy, without any stress. I even use my BBQ thermometer when I roast chicken in the oven.

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What You Need For The Chicken Marinade

Anytime you have a chance to marinate your chicken ahead of time for 2 to 4 hours, or even for just 30 minutes, do it! It makes a difference in infusing the chicken with flavor and in gently tenderizing it. And when your Mediterranean chicken marinade is made of harissa paste, loads of garlic, and a few spices, you just cant go wrong! Here is what you need for the marinade:

  • Garlic – You need a whopping 15 cloves, peeled and roughly chopped. Dont worry about being too precise: The garlic gets tossed into the food processor along with the other marinade ingredients.
  • Harissa paste – Made with chiles, garlic, bell peppers, and more, harissa is simply packed with flavor! You can either use homemade or quality store-bought harissa paste both will work very well!
  • Herbs and spices – Warm nutmeg, tart sumac, and earthy dried thyme play up the Eastern Mediterranean vibes even more.
  • Lime or lemon juice – Citrus is an important component of this marinade, because the acidity helps to tenderize the chicken legs.
  • Extra virgin olive oil– Olive oil helps to transfer fat-soluble flavors into the chicken, as some flavors will not penetrate the meat without the aid of a cooking fat.

When Is It Done

Honey Butter basted chicken legs and thighs : grilling

The USDA recommends cooking poultry until the internal temperature reaches 165°F. Keep in mind that in whole birds the internal temperature will rise 5 to 10 degrees during resting. Check the thigh meat by inserting the probe of a thermometer into the thickest part . If you dont have a thermometer, cut into the center of the meat. The juices should run clear and the meat should no longer be pink at the bone. We recommend using the iGrill app-connected thermometer.

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How Do You Grill Chicken Thighs Without Burning Them

One of the best ways to prevent burning is to make sure your meat doesnt stick to the surface of the grill. So make sure you brush the grill with oil or cooking spray before you heat it up. Its also a good idea to brush some oil on all sides of your chicken or soak it in an oil-based marinade before grilling.

Take Grilled Chicken Thighs To Another Level With A Hybrid Grill

If you love the flavor of grilled chicken but want to take it to another level, try using a hybrid grill. A hybrid grill combines charcoal and gas, which gives you the best of both worlds. The charcoal gives the chicken that fantastic smoky flavor, while the gas helps to keep the temperature consistent.

If you’re looking for the best way to grill chicken thighs, try using a hybrid grill from American Made Grills. You can get that perfect grilled chicken every time with a hybrid grill from American Made Grills. Each hybrid grill is made with 100% American-made materials and a lifetime warranty, so you know it’s built to last.

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Grilled Chicken Thigh And Drumstick Recipes

The United States produces the most chicken of any country in the world. It’s easy to cook, tender, delicious, and its mild flavor is perfect as the starting point for many recipes. Dark meat or the thighs, drumsticks, and wings have more flavor and fat, so they’re easier to cook on the high heat of the grill.

You do need to be careful with chicken. Read All About Chicken to get safety and cooking tips. Remember to cook dark meat chicken to 165 F, with a 5 minute standing time so the temp rises to 170 F. The dark meat will still be tender and juicy.

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