These grilled boneless chicken thighs are so easy to prep, packed with flavor and ridiculously delicious. A homemade barbecue sauce gives them a savory sweet flavor that pairs perfectly with any of your favorite Summer bbq eats including my mom’s famous ambrosia salad.
I love cooking chicken thighs because it doesn’t take much to make them taste great! Their higher fat content of the dark meat makes for some pretty flavorful chicken. No need for a brine (like breasts do) to load them with taste.
They’re also fairly forgivable when cooking and are hard to dry out. But good things can always be made better, and so I bring you this grilled boneless thighs recipe topped off with a BBQ glaze. And make sure to serve a tall glass of iced fruit tea for the perfect Summer meal.
Why this recipe works
- Easy prep work and minimal time to make, allowing you to get a delicious dinner on the table in well under an hour. And if you use your outdoor grill, super easy clean up too!
- Simple ingredients you likely already have in you pantry allows you to make a completely homemade meal, including your own barbecue sauce.
- Pairs well with any of your favorite side dishes for summer barbecues.
- Finger licking good delicious. These bbq boneless chicken thighs have the best flavors you will want to make these over and over!
- Boneless skinless thighs – about 3 lbs so you can make enough to feed a crowd or have leftovers.
- For the chicken thigh marinade ingredients, you just need olive oil, granulated garlic or garlic powder, onion powder and salt. FYI, the seasoning blend is more of a dry rub than a wet marinade.
- For the homemade barbecue sauce, you will need Worcestershire sauce, steak sauce, ketchup, water, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar and diced onion.
Begin by trimming thighs of any excess fat and pat them dry. Place chicken thighs in a shallow pan or ziploc bag and drizzle with 2 tablespoon olive oil. Mix the garlic, onion powder and salt and sprinkle all over the chicken. To ensure the chicken gets well coated, use your hands to massage seasoning into chicken. Set aside and let rest while you make the barbecue sauce.
To make the barbecue sauce, over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoon butter in a small sauce pan. Add the diced onions. Stir and cook until onions are soft and tender, about 5 minutes. Add ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, steak sauce, water, apple cider vinegar and brown sugar. Stir well. Raise to medium-high heat and bring to a gentle boil, then reduce to low. Cover and cook for about 20 minutes. This BBQ sauce is excellent btw, on my perfectly grilled pork tenderloin.
While the chicken is marinating and the barbecue sauce is gentle simmering, warm up the grill! The thighs are going to cook on direct medium-high heat and grill temperature should reach about 375-400 degrees f.
Place the thighs on the hot grill and cook, covered, for about 7 minutes per side. If your grill heats unevenly in some spots, you will need to move around the pieces so they get evenly cooked. In the center of my grill, the thighs will only take about 7 minutes per side, but a bit longer if sitting on the outer edges.
Keep in mind is that due to the high fat content, the thighs may flame up when you cover the grill. Stay close by and keep an eye on them so you can move things around if the grease drips spark up flames.
Once the bbq boneless chicken thighs have nice grill marks and the juices run clear when pierced. liberally baste the thighs with the barbecue sauce. Using about ½-1 cup of the sauce, baste one side, turn and cook for about 2 minutes and baste the other side. If using a meat thermometer, the internal temperature of the thighs should read 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
Remove the juicy chicken thighs from the grill and set on a platter and tent with aluminum foil. Let the chicken rest for a few minutes before serving.
If barbecue sauce isn’t your jam, feel free to use an alternative such as teriyaki sauce, an oil based Italian seasoning blend, or an Asian inspired Yakitori sauce. All would complement the simple garlic salt dry rub and cook up beautifully on the grill. You could even baste in some raspberry preserves!
You can definitely use a stove top grill pan. Just make sure to have your range hood going to whisk away the smoke.
We love serving a tray of fresh fruits and veggies, a bag of chips, potato salad, or maybe a simple Greek salad or Caesar salad. The beauty of grilling is the ease of prep and clean up, so any of these would make great options for a weekend barbecue or a quick weeknight dinner.
Other expert tips
- Whether grilling on a propane grill or a charcoal grill, temperatures, and therefore cook times, will vary. I recommend using a thermometer to confirm grill temp. It’s also important to keep an eye on your food if you’re just getting to know your grill.
- When making these BBQ boneless chicken thighs, don’t brush on the BBQ sauce before grilling. The sugars in the sauce will likely cause the chicken to char too much, so make sure to just baste on in the final minutes of grilling.
Grilled Boneless Chicken Thighs
- Gas or Charcoal BBQ grill
- 3 lbs Chicken thighs boneless, skinless
- 2 tbsp Olive oil
- 1 tbsp Granulated garlic
- ½ tablespoon Onion powder
- ½ tablespoon Salt kosher or sea salt
- 2 tablespoon Butter
- ½ Yellow onion diced
- 1 cup Ketchup
- 4 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 3 tablespoon Steak sauce
- 1 tablespoon Apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup Brown sugar firmly packed
- ¼ cup Water
- Trim any excess fat off the chicken thighs and pat dry. Place in a large baking sheet or Ziploc bag and drizzle with olive oil.
- Mix the garlic, onion powder and salt and rub into the chicken so they are well coated with the dry rub. Set aside
- In a small saucepan, heat the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook till translucent and soft, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, steak sauce, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar and water, and heat till gently boiling.
- Lower heat to a low simmer and slightly cover sauce pan. Allow to simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring every few minutes, then remove from heat. Reserve about ½-1 cup of sauce to glaze the chicken with, and the rest for dipping.
- While sauce is cooking, heat grill on medium-high heat till temperature is about 375 degrees.
- Place chicken thighs directly on the grill and cook for about 7 minutes per side, till the thighs have nice grill marks and the juices run clear when pierced.
- Baste one side of the chicken with barbecue sauce and cook for 1-2 minutes. Flip and glaze the other side and grill for 1-2 more minutes. Remove from heat and allow thighs to rest for a few minutes before serving.
- Dish out remaining barbecue sauce and serve alongside the grilled chicken thighs for additional dipping.