How to Cook Chicken Thighs on A Charcoal Grill?

20 minutes read

To cook chicken thighs on a charcoal grill, follow these steps:

  1. Prepare the grill: Clean the grill grates and light the charcoal. Leave some space on one side for indirect cooking.
  2. Season the chicken: Rinse the chicken thighs with cold water and pat them dry using paper towels. Season them generously with salt, pepper, and any other desired seasonings like garlic powder, paprika, or herbs.
  3. Start grilling: Place the chicken thighs directly over the hot coals with the skin side down. Sear them for about 5 to 7 minutes until the skin becomes crispy and golden brown. This will help lock in the juices.
  4. Indirect cooking: Once the thighs are seared, move them to the cooler side of the grill, away from direct heat. Place the lid on the grill and open the vents. This allows the thighs to cook using indirect heat, infusing them with smoky flavor.
  5. Monitor and flip: Cook the chicken for about 25 to 30 minutes, flipping them occasionally to ensure even cooking. Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature—cooked chicken should reach 165°F (74°C).
  6. Optional basting: If desired, you can baste the thighs with your favorite barbecue sauce or marinade in the last 10 minutes of cooking.
  7. Rest and serve: Once the chicken thighs are fully cooked, carefully remove them from the grill and let them rest for a few minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute and keeps the meat tender. Serve the grilled chicken thighs hot and enjoy!

Best Charcoal Grills of May 2024

1
Royal Gourmet CC1830SC Charcoal Grill Offset Smoker with Cover, 811 Square Inches, Black, Outdoor Camping

Rating is 5 out of 5

Royal Gourmet CC1830SC Charcoal Grill Offset Smoker with Cover, 811 Square Inches, Black, Outdoor Camping

  • 811 Square Inches: Includes 443 sq. in. porcelain-enameled steel wire cooking grates, 184 sq. in. chrome-plated warming rack and 184 sq. in. offset smoker.
  • Tasty Smoke Flavors: The offset smoker is firmly attached to grill to ensure good circulation of heat and smoke. Easy to open side door to add charcoal and remove ashes; air vent stokes fire instantly.
  • Adjustable Pan: 2-level height-adjustable charcoal pan creates better heat control and holds up to 4.4 lbs. of coal.
  • Temperature Monitor: Lid-mounted thermometer gauge helps check and monitor the cooking temperature and you can cook with great confidence.
  • Grill Cover Included: Made of heavy-duty fabric, the cover protects your grill from elements and withstands the harshest weather.
  • Ample Space: Front and side tables offer workspace for seasonings and grilling tools. The bottom shelf provides extra storage space and holds up to only 20 lb. accessories when they are evenly distributed.
2
Weber Original Kettle 22-Inch Charcoal Grill

Rating is 4.9 out of 5

Weber Original Kettle 22-Inch Charcoal Grill

  • Stay true to the modern version of the kettle that started it all—the Original Kettle, invented by Weber’s founder, and loved around the world. Its ultra-durable, porcelain-enameled lid and bowl retain heat, while the damperseasily adjust for precise temperature control. With a One-Touch cleaning system for easy cleanup after a long day of grilling, the Original Kettle will always be the grill built for everyone
  • Holds up to 13 burgers made with a Weber burger press
  • One-Touch cleaning system provides hassle-free ash cleanup.Removable, aluminum ash catcher
  • Porcelain-enameled lid and bowl Retain heat, and won’t rust or peel
  • Use the lid hook to avoid placing the lid on the ground while grilling
  • Dampers allow you to easily control the temperature inside your grill
  • 3D interactive assembly instructions for this product are available through the free BILT app.
3
Char-Griller E1515 Patio Pro Charcoal Grill, Black

Rating is 4.8 out of 5

Char-Griller E1515 Patio Pro Charcoal Grill, Black

  • CHARCOAL GRILL - Barrel style BBQ Grill with heavy duty steel construction and powder coating finish, the perfect grilling solution for small decks, backyards, and patios
  • LARGE COOKING AREA - 250 square inch total cooking area delivers exceptional taste and charcoal flavor
  • BARBECUE GRILL FEATURES - Thick Cast Iron Cooking Grates, Bottom Storage Rack, Heavy-Duty Steel Construction, Side Air Vent, Stay Cool Wood Handle, Wheels for Easy Mobility, and Side Shelf Workstation with Barbecue Tool Storage Hooks
  • EASY TO ASSEMBLE & CLEAN - Assembles easily and quickly cleans up after use with the Easy Dump Ash Pan
4
Royal Gourmet CC1830 30 Barrel Charcoal Grill with Side Table, 627 Square Inches, Outdoor Backyard, Patio and Parties, Black

Rating is 4.7 out of 5

Royal Gourmet CC1830 30 Barrel Charcoal Grill with Side Table, 627 Square Inches, Outdoor Backyard, Patio and Parties, Black

  • 627 Smoking Space: 443 sq. in. porcelain-enameled steel wire cooking grates with 184 sq. in. chrome-plated steel wire warming rack offer enough space to cook.
  • Heat Control: Close the side air vent completely that cuts off the oxygen flow to help extinguish coals and adjust the smoke stack for extra heat control.
  • Adjustable Fire Grates: 2-level height-adjustable fire pan ensures more controlled cooking and holds up to 6 lbs. of coal.
  • Temperature Monitor: Lid-mounted thermometer gauge helps check heat fluctuations for confident grilling.
5
Royal Gourmet CD1824M 24-Inch Charcoal Grill, BBQ Smoker with Handle and Folding Table, Perfect for Outdoor Patio, Garden and Backyard Grilling, Black, Medium

Rating is 4.6 out of 5

Royal Gourmet CD1824M 24-Inch Charcoal Grill, BBQ Smoker with Handle and Folding Table, Perfect for Outdoor Patio, Garden and Backyard Grilling, Black, Medium

  • Spacious Cooking Area: 384 sq. in. porcelain-enameled steel wire cooking grates and 106 sq. in. stainless steel warming rack provide a total of 490 sq. in. cooking space respectively, serving up to 10 people.
  • Height-adjustable Charcoal Pan: The crank handle controls the distance between the charcoal pan and food for fine-tuning temperature and regulating heat. The charcoal pan holds charcoal up to 4.5 lb. for each use.
  • Convenient Access Door: Front charcoal access door with heat-resistant spring handle provides more convenience for adding charcoal and controls heat loss to a minimum during cooking.
  • Built-in Thermometer Gauge: The lid-mounted thermometer indicates the temperature changes precisely in real-time.
  • Air Flow: Two adjustable air vents control air circulation to enhance sufficient burning of charcoal for efficient smoking.
6
Royal Gourmet Barrel Charcoal Grill with Front Storage Basket, Backyard BBQ Party and Outdoor Cooking Grill on Clearance Prime with Wheels, Black, CC1830T

Rating is 4.5 out of 5

Royal Gourmet Barrel Charcoal Grill with Front Storage Basket, Backyard BBQ Party and Outdoor Cooking Grill on Clearance Prime with Wheels, Black, CC1830T

  • Additional Cooking Options: The charcoal grill can meet your versatile cooking demands by slow smoking or grilling ribs, veggies, lobster tails, or other preferred ingredients.
  • Ample Cooking Area: To accommodate 23 hamburgers at once, there are 443 sq. in. porcelain-enameled steel wire cooking grates and a 184 sq. in. chrome-plated steel wire warming rack as a secondary heating area.
  • Impressive Storage: Store seasonings in the front basket, hang some cooking utensils on the integrated hooks, place plates and other food on the side tables, and meanwhile put your charcoal on the bottom storage shelf.
  • Adjustable Charcoal Pan: Easily control the distance between food and fire with the lifting handle to regulate cooking temperature, which also saves fuel in the meantime.
  • Heat Control: Customize your desired temperature by twisting the air damper and smoke stack, thus getting the best cooking results.
7
Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill, 22-Inch, Black

Rating is 4.4 out of 5

Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill, 22-Inch, Black

  • Holds up to 13 burgers made with a Weber burger press; Built-in lid thermometer. Rust-resistant aluminum dampers
  • One-Touch cleaning system with high-capacity ash catcher provides hassle-free ash cleanup
  • Porcelain-enameled lid and bowl retain heat, and won’t rust or peel
  • Use the lid hook to avoid placing the lid on the ground while grilling
  • Cooking grate is hinged for easily adding charcoal while grilling
8
Royal Gourmet CC1830S 30" BBQ Charcoal Grill and Offset Smoker | 811 Square Inch cooking surface, Outdoor for Camping | Black

Rating is 4.3 out of 5

Royal Gourmet CC1830S 30" BBQ Charcoal Grill and Offset Smoker | 811 Square Inch cooking surface, Outdoor for Camping | Black

  • 811 Square Inches: Includes 443 sq. in. porcelain-enameled steel wire cooking grates, 184 sq. in. chrome-plated warming rack and 184 sq. in. offset smoker.
  • Tasty Smoke Flavors: The offset smoker is firmly attached to grill to ensure good circulation of heat and smoke. Easy to open side door to add charcoal and remove ashes; air vent stokes fire instantly.
  • Adjustable Pan: 2-level height-adjustable charcoal pan creates better heat control and holds up to 4.4 lbs. of coal.
  • Temperature Monitor: Lid-mounted thermometer gauge helps check and monitor the cooking temperature and you can cook with great confidence.
9
Dyna-Glo DGN576SNC-D X-Large Premium Dual Chamber Charcoal Grill

Rating is 4.2 out of 5

Dyna-Glo DGN576SNC-D X-Large Premium Dual Chamber Charcoal Grill

  • Removable firebox divider for single or dual cooking zone
  • Primary cooking area is 576 square inches
  • Secondary cooking area is 240 square inches
10
Royal Gourmet CC1830W 30 Barrel Charcoal Grill with Side Table, 627 Square Inches, Outdoor Backyard, Patio and Parties, Black

Rating is 4.1 out of 5

Royal Gourmet CC1830W 30 Barrel Charcoal Grill with Side Table, 627 Square Inches, Outdoor Backyard, Patio and Parties, Black

  • Spacious Cooking Area: Includes 443 sq. in. porcelain-enameled steel wire cooking grates, 184 sq. in. chrome-plated steel wire warming rack, and 184 sq. in. offset smoker.
  • Offset Smoker: Use the side fire box to get tasty and authentic smoky flavors in the main chamber. Smoking, grilling, or searing all will be your choices.
  • Adjustable Charcoal Pan: 2-level height-adjustable charcoal pan ensures better heat control and holds up to 4.4 lb. of coal.


How can I prevent chicken thighs from sticking to the grill grate?

To prevent chicken thighs from sticking to the grill grate, you can consider following these tips:

  1. Preheat the grill: Ensure that your grill is preheated to a medium-high heat. This allows the grates to get hot and helps to prevent sticking.
  2. Clean and oil the grill grates: Before placing the chicken thighs on the grill, make sure the grates are clean. Use a grill brush to remove any food particles or residue. After cleaning, lightly oil the grates to create a non-stick surface. You can use a folded paper towel soaked in vegetable or canola oil and use tongs to rub the grates with the oiled towel.
  3. Marinate the chicken: Marinating the chicken thighs for a few hours before grilling can help create a protective layer and prevent sticking. You can use a marinade that contains oil, acid (like vinegar or citrus), and spices to enhance the flavor and also act as a barrier.
  4. Pat the chicken thighs dry: Before placing the chicken on the grill, pat it dry using paper towels. Excess moisture can contribute to sticking. Drying the chicken helps to create a better sear and reduces the chance of sticking.
  5. Avoid excessive flipping: Let the chicken thighs cook undisturbed for a few minutes before attempting to flip them. When the chicken is ready to be flipped, it should release easily from the grates. If it is sticking, it may need more time to cook on that side.
  6. Use indirect grilling: If you find that the chicken thighs are sticking too much, you can try indirect grilling. This means that you only light one side of the grill and place the chicken on the unlit side. This reduces the direct contact between the meat and the grates, minimizing sticking.
  7. Consider using a grill mat or foil: If you are still experiencing sticking issues, you can use a grill mat or aluminum foil with holes poked in it. Place the chicken thighs on the mat or foil and place it on the grill. This provides a barrier between the food and the grates and prevents sticking.


Remember to always monitor the cooking time and temperature to ensure the chicken thighs are thoroughly cooked and safe to eat.


How long should I let the charcoal burn before placing the chicken thighs on the grill?

It is generally recommended to let the charcoal burn for approximately 15-20 minutes before placing the chicken thighs on the grill. This allows the charcoal to fully ignite, reach the desired temperature, and develop a consistent heat throughout. It is important to wait until the coals have turned gray or white, indicating they are heated evenly and ready for cooking.


How can I add a crispy texture to chicken thighs cooked on a charcoal grill?

To add a crispy texture to chicken thighs cooked on a charcoal grill, you can follow these steps:

  1. Dry the chicken thighs: Prior to grilling, pat the chicken thighs dry with paper towels. Moisture on the surface of the chicken can inhibit crispiness.
  2. Preheat the grill: Preheat your charcoal grill to high heat. Make sure the coals are fully ignited and red-hot, creating a hot grilling surface.
  3. Oil the chicken thighs: Brush or drizzle a thin layer of oil on the chicken thighs. This will help prevent sticking to the grill grates and promote crispiness.
  4. Use direct heat: Place the chicken thighs directly over the hot charcoal, using the direct heat method. This will sear the outside and enhance the crispy texture.
  5. Properly flip and cook: After a few minutes, gently flip the chicken thighs using tongs. Avoid excessive flipping to prevent losing heat and moisture. Continue grilling over direct heat until the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C) or until the chicken is no longer pink in the center.
  6. Use high heat and avoid flare-ups: Maintain the high heat throughout the cooking process and be cautious of flare-ups. Flare-ups can char the chicken and result in an overly crispy or burnt exterior. Adjust the height of the grill grate if necessary to control the heat.
  7. Finish over indirect heat: If the chicken thighs are not yet crispy enough or need further cooking, move them to indirect heat. This means placing them to the side of the grill away from the direct heat. This allows the chicken to cook through more evenly without excessive charring.
  8. Monitor the temperature and appearance: While grilling, keep a close eye on the temperature of the chicken thighs and their appearance. Adjusting the time and the position on the grill may be necessary to achieve the desired level of crispiness.
  9. Rest before serving: Once the chicken thighs are cooked to perfection, remove them from the grill and let them rest for a few minutes before serving. This allows the juices to redistribute and maintains the crispy texture.


By following these steps, you can achieve a delicious, crispy texture on your chicken thighs grilled over charcoal. Enjoy your flavorful and crispy chicken!


What is the best way to season chicken thighs for grilling?

There are several delicious ways to season chicken thighs for grilling. Here's a simple and flavorful marinade recipe:


Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried herbs (such as thyme, rosemary, or oregano)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


Instructions:

  1. In a bowl, combine olive oil, minced garlic, soy sauce, honey, Dijon mustard, paprika, dried herbs, salt, and pepper. Whisk until well combined.
  2. Place the chicken thighs in a resealable plastic bag or a shallow dish.
  3. Pour the marinade over the chicken thighs, making sure they are well-coated. If using a bag, squeeze out any excess air and seal tightly. If using a dish, cover with plastic wrap or foil.
  4. Place the marinated chicken thighs in the refrigerator and let them marinate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 24 hours for maximum flavor.
  5. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat.
  6. Take the chicken thighs out of the marinade and discard any leftover marinade.
  7. Grill the chicken thighs for about 6-8 minutes per side, or until the internal temperature reaches at least 165°F (75°C) using a meat thermometer.
  8. Remove the chicken thighs from the grill and let them rest for a few minutes before serving.


This marinade provides a harmonious blend of flavors from the garlic, soy sauce, honey, and mustard, which complement the chicken thighs nicely. However, feel free to experiment with different spices and herbs according to your taste preferences. Enjoy your perfectly seasoned and grilled chicken thighs!


Can I use a charcoal smoker to cook chicken thighs?

Yes, you can definitely use a charcoal smoker to cook chicken thighs. Charcoal smokers are great for slow cooking meats, and they can add a smoky flavor to your chicken thighs. Just make sure to prepare your chicken thighs with your preferred seasoning or marinade, and then place them on the smoker's cooking grates. Control the temperature and smoking process according to the manufacturer's instructions or your desired cooking method. Cook the chicken thighs until they reach an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) to ensure they are fully cooked and safe to eat.

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