How to Grill Juicy, Bone-in Chicken

A couple of weekends ago, my husband, son and I drove to San Diego to spend time with our good friends, Danielle and Jason.  I love this amazingly fun couple for many reasons.  Not only are they witty, easy-going, and adventurous, Danielle is a fantastic cook and gracious hostess.  She also caters to my special-needs diet.  She is my sister-from-another-mister.

We spent Saturday morning at the San Diego Farmer’s Market, one of my favorite places on earth.


The market was smaller than normal due to an art fair, but we found some perfect round zucchini for dinner.

We chose the little round zukes in the back. How cute are they?

We also picked up a few avocados for guacamole. Because they asked nicely, we refrained from squeezing, however, it was very tempting.


Our friends have a gynormous dog named Chief.  He gets A LOT of attention when we take him places, especially the Farmer’s Market.


A few summers ago, Danielle and I drove with Chief across country when they moved from D.C. to San Diego.  Strangers’ reactions ranged from curiosity to horror to disbelief.  We were asked what kind of dog/animal he was about a million times.

(Because I like you, I will tell you he’s a Dogo Argentino.  He is not part pit bull.  He is not dangerous and doesn’t eat small dogs or children.)

By the time we got to Arkansas, we were tired of the asking.  So we made a game of it and invented new breed names!

“He’s a Chinese Hellhound.”

“He’s a Freckled Longhorn.”

“Why yes, we do saddle and ride him.  And that IS the first time we’ve heard that.  Aren’t you witty!”

Luckily for Danielle and Jason, the people of San Diego love him.  I believe he has his own fan club.


Anywho, back to my story.  We finished up at the market and headed home.  My husband, or BBQ Pitmaster as he likes to call himself, was in charge of grilling the chicken.  It has taken a few years to perfect his bone-in chicken grilling technique, and has offered to share his secrets with you!

“Say No” to dry chicken and share the following with the griller in your family!

The following directions are written by Dennis:

I recommend first getting your grill to a high heat (400+ degrees). Then the place the chicken directly on high heat for 2-3 minutes on each side for a quick sear. Once seared, move the chicken to indirect heat to slowly complete the cooking process. Typically, bone in chicken thighs take me 20-25 minutes. I try not to move/touch the meat too much but I will occasionally move the chicken parts from the hot/cold spots to ensure doneness of the meat and that the skin gets crispy.

You will want to leave the skin side up, as much as possible, so that the juices and flavors stay trapped inside the meat. Now, lean in close, cause I don’t want everyone hearing my secrets … but …the real secret to grilling great bone-in chicken is keeping a “cold” spot on your grill.


This can easily be achieved by leaving one side of your gas grill on low heat (assuming you are using multiple burners). If you are using a single burner you will find it either in the front or back of the grill will offer a “cold spot. ” As the grill flames up from the oils, you can easily move the thighs to the cold spot and let the flames die back down (this is also a good time to take a sip of that icy beverage).


The chicken is done when the internal temperature is 165. Remove the chicken from the grill when it reaches the desired internal temperature, as measured with an instant-read thermometer. Once complete, you should have delicious chicken with a nice, crispy skin. Don’t forget your drink by the grill … you need that wash down your taste of success!

Your handsome, fire retardant, and semi-decent good cook of a husband,


While Dennis grilled, we chillaxed.  Wine was involved.


What about the zukes and avocados, you ask?  We cut the zucchini into chunks, sliced some mushrooms, and put them into a foil packet with salt, pepper, and drizzled with olive oil (note the foil packets in the picture above with the handsome grilling man).  Dennis grilled the packets for about 20 minutes, turning occasionally.

We made a simple salad with spring mix lettuce, orange bell pepper, and heirloom cherry tomatoes.  Delicious!


Here’s a sneak peek of the guacamole:


So, guacamole is not a photogenic food, but trust me when I say it was a flavor explosion!  I’ll be sharing the recipe for that in my next post, as well as the rub used on the chicken.

Please let me know if you try the secret grilling techniques.  I’d love to hear about your results.


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Comments: 2

  1. Jason W May 10, 2014 at 6:06 AM Reply

    Love the blog, but more importantly I love you guys and can’t wait for our next get together.

    • admin May 11, 2014 at 2:53 PM Reply

      Thank you, Jason! You and Danielle are great friends and fantastic hosts. Next shin-dig is at our place!

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