Unexpected guests? Toss extra thighs on the grill

05/09/2013 5:53 PM

05/09/2013 7:14 PM

Chicken breasts, one the most popular things to grill, should also be one of the easiest. But many people overcook or undercook them.

Greg Reyner, chef-owner of Cafe Muse in Royal Oak, Mich., recently told me that he’s been using chicken thighs in more dishes.

“The fat content is a little higher, but it’s not as temperamental as the breast,” Reyner said. “The thigh is more forgiving and a lot more flavorful.”

I agree with Reyner that chicken thighs are an easy, tasty alternative, despite some confusion about their fat content, which seems to vary quite a lot.

The Perdue brand lists a 3-ounce roasted chicken thigh without bone and skin as having 180 calories and 6 grams of fat. A U.S. Department of Agriculture listing says that a 3.5-ounce cooked boneless, skinless chicken thigh has 177 calories and 9 grams of fat and that about 4.6 ounces of cooked skin-on thigh meat has 346 calories and 22 grams of fat.

This Chicken Thighs With Apricot Glaze recipe is a great dish to whip up at the last moment for unexpected guests.

It calls for bone-in, skin-on thighs, but you can substitute boneless, skinless ones. They cost more but take less time to cook.

Grilling them with the skin on keeps them moist, but you can remove the skin before serving to save fat and calories. You can grill them without the skin, too; just make sure you baste them with the glaze to keep them from drying out.

The USDA recommends cooking thighs to an internal temperature of 165 degrees. The timing depends on the size of the thighs.

The glaze is made with apricot preserves, one of my pantry staples. The preserves are mixed and heated with minced jalapeno peppers and crushed red pepper flakes. The sweetness from the preserves balances the heat from the jalapenos.

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