Lemony Balsamic Mustard Marinated Chicken Thighs

Lemony Balsamic Chx - vert

I used to make a roast chicken dish similar to this back in the days when I was a personal chef. I have revamped the marinade a bit to suit our grilling needs. 🙂

Recently, I had a job requiring skin-on, boneless chicken thighs. As I am sure you are aware, chicken thighs are not generally sold that way in the grocery stores – usually bone-in/skin-on or boneless/skinless – so I found myself boning several dozen thighs. At the end of the job there were a few thighs left over, so here we are. I have included the grilling methods for thighs with or without the bones. If chicken thighs are not your thing, don’t miss out on this great marinade and feel free to substitute breasts or even wings.

Even though as a rule, I prefer the bones left in when grilling chicken. However, I have to say that the boneless thighs made for a quick and easy dinner. The dark thigh meat tends to not dry out the way the white meat (breast) does when cooked off the bone. They grilled up in a matter of minutes and were full of flavor – the marinade ingredients were enhanced by a little char from the grill – the garlic, mustard, and rosemary were all present with a little acidity coming from the lemon and balsamic vinegar to help cut through the rich, dark thigh meat.

I served this lovely grilled chicken with a simple Mesclun salad mix tossed with an easy vinaigrette of red wine vinegar and a fruity California extra virgin olive oil. Oh yeah, pour yourself a nice glass of chardonnay and break off a piece of crusty bread for a meal befitting the beginning of spring!

Lemony Balsamic-Mustard Marinated Chicken Thighs

serves four to six

For the marinade:
1/3 cup Dijon mustard
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary (or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried)
2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Grated zest from 1 lemon
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 extra virgin olive oil

8 chicken thighs, boneless with skin on
Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, olive oil for grilling

Method: direct heat

Combine all of the marinade ingredients in a small mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Place the chicken thighs in a resealable plastic bag and pour in the marinade. Squeeze excess air from the bag and seal the bag. Massage the chicken around in the bag to make sure everything is coated. Marinate in the refrigerator for 6 hours and as long as overnight.

Remove the chicken from the marinade, scraping away any excess. Blot chicken with paper towels and set on a sheet pan. Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.

Set up grill for cooking over medium high direct heat. Brush and oil the grates before cooking.

Once the grill is hot, place chicken skin-side down and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, flip and continue cooking for an additional 3 to 4 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and no longer pink.

For Bone-in Chicken Thighs: Prepare as directed, but set up your grill for two-zone cooking with direct and indirect heat. Lay the chicken skin-side down and sear for 3 to 4 minutes to mark the chicken and give it a little char. Flip and move to the indirect side. Close the grill cover and stabilize the temperature around 350°F. Cook for 35 to 45 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink at the bone.

Lemony Balsamic - horz

Cheers and Happy Grilling!
~Jeff

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