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posted August 04, 2021

BBQ Chicken Thighs

Nothing compares to some juicy BBQ chicken thighs, and this recipe combines 3 ingredients with simple technique to give you the perfect chicken thigh every time.

Four BBQ chicken thighs on a long, wooden cutting board with text overlay - BBQ Chicken Thighs.

Easy BBQ Chicken Thighs

Ever have those nights when you’re feeling too tired to make a complicated dinner, but too lazy to get in the car for takeout? Enter these easy BBQ chicken thighs!

These guys are sweet and saucy with the perfect amount of caramelization and char on the grill. This cooking method yields tender, juicy meat and crispy skin with a perfect smoky flavor. They’re everything you’d ever want in a tasty BBQ chicken thigh with only 3 ingredients!

Four seasoned chicken thighs next to a bottle of Sweet Rub.

How to BBQ Chicken Thighs

Don’t believe me that these are super easy AND incredibly delicious as well? Check out how simple it is to make BBQ chicken thighs at home! For a full recipe card with ingredients, detailed step-by-step instructions, and nutrition information, scroll to the bottom of this post.

  1. Season. Trip off excess fat, and season the chicken on all sides with my Sweet BBQ Rub. You can also make this from scratch using my recipe for Best Sweet Rub.
  2. Grill. With your preferred grill (I used my charcoal grill for this recipe) preheated to 350 degrees F for two-zone cooking, cook the chicken over indirect heat until the internal temp reaches 165 degrees F.
  3. Sauce. Add some of my popular Whiskey Peach BBQ Sauce to the chicken. As with the seasoning, you can make this from scratch using my Whiskey Peach BBQ Sauce Recipe. If Whiskey Peach doesn’t suit your fancy, you can use whatever sauce is your favorite. My Kansas City Style BBQ Sauce would taste delicious on this chicken!
  4. Finish up. Continue grilling the chicken and remove it when the internal temp reaches 175 degrees F. Rest for 5 minutes then serve!

Seasoned chicken thigh on grill grates.

How Long to BBQ Chicken Thighs

This process for BBQ chicken thighs takes approximately 30-45 minutes. Using two-zone cooking, we start the seasoned chicken thighs over the indirect heat side of the grill for 25-30 minutes to slowly raise the temperature to 165 degrees F. 

Once the chicken reaches 165, add the sauce and continue to cook for 5-10 minutes until the chicken reaches 175 degrees F. This also allows the sauce to set.

As always, your particular chicken thighs will vary in how long they take to cook. Always, always, ALWAYS cook to temperature and not to time, using time as a guide only. A good internal meat thermometer will help you gauge the temperature of the meat while it is cooking so you can remove it the second it’s ready.

Sauced chicken thighs on the grill grates of a charcoal grill.

Tips for Making Chicken Thighs

Before you fire up the grill to make these chicken thighs, I’ve compiled a few tips for making these chicken thighs delicious and juicy.

  • Swap the sauce. You can use your favorite store-bought BBQ sauce or level up with a homemade sauce. Browse my sauce recipes for inspiration. I recommend the Blueberry BBQ Sauce or my Whiskey Peach BBQ Sauce.
  • Trim your thighs. Bone-in, skin-on thighs can sometimes be a little rough right out of the package. This is part of what makes them such an affordable cut to cook, but it does mean you need to do some trimming to make them work. Take off any loose or large overhangs of fat or skin with a sharp knife. These will just burn or cause flare-ups on the grill.
  • Master the heat. Two-zone cooking is the answer to creating meat that is perfectly cooked through and skin that is nice and crispy. Having one side of your grill at a high temperate and one at a low temperature gives you complete control over the cooking process. You can move the chicken over to the low side at a moment’s notice to stop flare-ups or prevent burning.
  • Overcook your chicken. Don’t freak out and let me explain. Chicken is safe to eat at 165 degrees F and for breasts, I would never recommend you go higher than that. However, chicken thighs are actually better when cooked to 175 degrees F. They are fatty enough to retain plenty of moisture and the texture is significantly better when cooked to 175 degrees as the connective tissues start to break down and the meat pulls away from the bone. A good instant-read thermometer will be your best friend in ensuring your BBQ chicken thighs are cooked perfectly.

Four BBQ chicken thighs on a long, wooden cutting board.

More Chicken Thigh Recipes

Looking for more chicken thigh recipes? Check them out right here! Whether you want to grill, smoke, or cook your thighs from frozen, Hey Grill Hey has the recipe for you!

BBQ Chicken Thighs Recipe

Ready to make the best BBQ chicken thighs of your life?  Whether you’re cooking them for friends or picky children, I can guarantee these guys are here to please.

BBQ chicken thighs on a long, wooden cutting board.

BBQ Chicken Thighs

Susie Bulloch (
Nothing compares to some juicy BBQ chicken thighs, and this recipe combines 3 ingredients with simple technique to give you the perfect chicken thigh every time.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time : 10 mins
Cook Time : 45 mins
Total Time : 55 mins
Servings : 6
Calories : 387kcal


  • 2 pounds chicken thighs (bone-in, skin-on)
  • 2 Tablespoons Sweet Rub (recipe linked in notes section)
  • ½ cup Whiskey Peach BBQ Sauce (or your favorite BBQ Sauce)


  • Preheat your grill for two-zone cooking. This means that one side of the grill is hot (burner set to high, or charcoal stacked to one side) and the other side is cool (burners off or no charcoal). You want the overall temperature of the grill to be around 350 degrees F.
  • Prepare the chicken thighs. Trim the excess or overhanging fat or skin from each chicken thigh. Season on both sides with the Sweet Rub BBQ Rub. Press the chicken thighs flat with your hands so they are slightly triangular in shape.
  • Char the chicken. Place the seasoned chicken thighs directly on the grill grates over the high-temperature side of the grill. Leave the lid open while you cook the thighs for 2-3 minutes per side. The sugars in the rub will darken and caramelize as it cooks. Watch closely and don't walk away from the grill during this step or you'll risk burning the exterior.
  • Slowly cook the thighs. Move the slightly charred chicken thighs over to the indirect heat side of the grill, skin side up. Close the lid of the grill and allow the chicken to continue cooking until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. This typically takes 25-30 minutes but may go slower or faster depending on the thickness of your thighs and the temperature of the grill. Start checking the temperature on your chicken after 15 minutes to prevent overcooking.
  • Sauce your BBQ chicken thighs. Open the lid of your grill and baste your chicken thighs with BBQ sauce on both sides, while still on the indirect side of the grill. Close the lid and cook for 5-10 more minutes, or until the internal temperature of the chicken thighs read 175 degrees F and the sauce is shiny and tacky.
  • Rest your thighs. Remove your cooked thighs to a serving platter and rest for 5 minutes before serving (do not cover during the rest period. Enjoy!


Best Sweet Rub:


Calories: 387kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 148mg | Sodium: 363mg | Potassium: 399mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 301IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 69mg | Iron: 3mg
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