~ Butter-Browned & Broiled BBQ'd Chicken Thighs ~
Real-deal outdoor-grilled chicken, the bone-in kind, juicy on the inside with crispy skin on the outside, all slathered in sweet and savory barbecue sauce, served with a crisp green salad full of garden-ripe tomatoes and a cob of in-season sweet corn -- this is perhaps my favorite Summertime meal. I fantasize about it -- I don't care who grills it, if I'm invited, I'm showing up.
The bar I've set for my ideal grilled chicken with barbecue sauce is high, but make no mistake, I'm completely capable of making a perfectly-good version under less than ideal circumstances -- indoors. In this food world, a lot of people have a long list of valid reasons why they can't cook real-deal grilled food, but they shouldn't have to abandon their desire for finger-lickin' good food just because they can't, or don't, own a grill. If you're rolling your eyes, "be off with you".
That said, if you're interested in how I know this and came up with this recipe read on: Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, in 1974, I was an apartment dweller. The kind of apartment with no balcony or patio. If you wanted to eat 'barbecued' anything, you figured out a way to make it indoors. It gets worse. It was the "Shake-and-Bake" era, and, one try of this was one taste too many. < Here is a vintage 1970's photo of the box.
Necessity is the mother-of-invention & this is one of my vintage, inventive recipes!
If you didn't grow up sharing a bedroom, never experienced dorm living, or, never stayed in a small space that wasn't a hotel room while on vacation, apartment living can be a challenge -- it should be considered a sport. So it was for me, but, as a gal who can turn any space into my own clean canvas, I found myself enjoying the challenge. What I learned: a really good cook can enjoy cooking anywhere, and, more importantly, uses the opportunity to share with fellow dwellers living upstairs, downstairs or across the hall -- I made some of my best friends while living in my first three apartments!
This recipe evolved over time. In 1974 I was making it with two bone-in chicken breast halves and four leg-thigh portions, and, store-bought BBQ sauce. I quickly learned the need to remove the skin from the chicken, as that contributed to smoke under the oven broiler. In the 1980's boneless, skinless chicken breasts and thighs began appearing in markets all across America. I was raising three boys by then. It's because of them this 'winner-winner chicken dinner' got made exclusively with the tastier, juicier chicken thighs (and served with mac and cheese). By the 1990's I was making it in large quantities for my son's Penn State fraternity. Nowadays, I make it with my own homemade barbecue sauce. Rain, snow, or full sunshine, Spring, Summer, Fall or Winter, what a delightful way to enjoy family-friendly barbecue for any occasion!
12 -14 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (Note: Chicken thighs come conveniently shaped into little rolls/roulades. Leave them that way. Don't unroll them and don't trim away the pieces of fat, which will add flavor and get crispy. Do nothing -- how easy is that!)
Wondra quick-mixing flour for sauce and gravy
freshly-ground sea salt and peppercorn blend
4 tablespoons salted butter, more or less depending upon the size of the skillet or electric skillet (Note: In 1974, in my first apartment, my electric skillet was my best friend. I use it to this day to make this barbecued chicken as it controls the heat under 14 thighs perfectly.)
1 1/2 cups barbecue sauce, preferably homemade, or your favorite brand (Note: You can find my recipe for homemade ~ Kansas City BBQ Sauce: Sweet, Spicy & Smoky ~ by clicking on the Related Article link below.)
~ Step 2. Over low heat, melt butter in skillet. Grind some additional salt and pepper across the bottom of the skillet, into the butter. Add the chicken thighs, seam sides down.
~ Step 3. Increase heat to 225-250 degrees. Maintain a slow, steady saute, until bottoms of thighs are deep golden, about 25 minutes.
~ Step 4. Using a spatula (not a fork), flip the thighs over. Once again, maintain a slow, steady saute, until tops of thighs are deep golden, about 25 more minutes.
~ Step 6. While chicken is resting, preheat oven broiler with oven rack positioned about 6"-7" underneath the heating element. Spray a 4-quart casserole with no-stick cooking spray. After chicken has rested, using a spatula, transfer the thighs, top sides up, side-by-side to prepared casserole, allowing all chicken juices and butter to remain in skillet.
^^^Note: Meet my vintage, clear glass, 4-quart Pyrex casserole. It's been with me since 1974!
Read and follow this last step carefully.
~Step 8. Using a pastry brush, drizzle and glaze the tops of the thighs with 1 cup of the barbecue sauce mixture. Place under broiler until bubbling and lightly browned, about 4-5 minutes. Remove from oven and brush the tops with 1/2 cup of the sauce mixture. Return to broiler for 2-3 more minutes. Remove from oven and brush tops with the remaining sauce mixture. Return to broiler for 1-2 minutes, or until tops are bubbling and nicely caramelized.
Remove from oven & rest 5 minutes prior to serving.
Special Equipment List: electric skillet w/lid or 14" skillet w/lid; large spatula; 4-quart casserole; large spoon; 2-cup measuring container; pastry brush
Cook's Note: Even back in the 1980's, neither I or my kids were fans of tasteless, dry, boneless, skinless chicken breasts. You can find ~ My E-Z "Real" Roasted Chicken Breasts & Gravy ~ recipe in Categories 3, 19 or 20.
"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti
(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2015)