The first thing I made when I got back from the weddings was this chicken. I planned it out on the flight home from Boston, right down to the shopping list. It was the first food I’d made in weeks that wasn’t a sandwich or a plate of leftovers. It was the first plated meal I’d had that wasn’t catered or eaten at a restaurant. It was heaven. Not that it’s such an exciting recipe – it’s pretty minimalistic and while it’s a good piece of grilled chicken, it’s also just that: grilled chicken.
There’s not a whole lot to say about grilled chicken but that’s kind of the point. Food isn’t always exciting or particularly beautiful or noteworthy. I make a lot of everyday food, the kind that magazines list as “quick weeknight meals” rather than guest-worthy dishes. It’s the kind of food I like making the best. The kind that’s uncomplicated and doesn’t leave a lot of room for questions about whether I’m doing it right. The kind where the perfectly cooked version is just about as good as the missed-a-step-but-still-ok version.
Sometimes, especially when thinking of thing to share here, I get caught up in making “impressive” dishes or ones that are “unique” and use “interesting flavor combinations.” And sometimes that’s fun. But more often I’m in my kitchen making something more intuitive and less exciting, something more everyday. Something more like this chicken. And yes, I’d still proudly serve it to guests.
- 3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
- 1 cup yogurt
- 2-3 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- A few spoonfuls of spices (optional, I used a citrus blend in the photos above)
- COMBINE yogurt, minced garlic, salt, and spices (if using) in a zip top bag or shallow container. Mix everything around and then add the chicken and make sure it's fully coated with the yogurt mixture. Let the chicken marinate for about 30 minutes (and up to four hours).
- PREHEAT your oven to 425 F or your grill to medium. If you're roasting, line a baking sheet with foil and place a rack on it. If you're grilling, oil the grill using a piece of paper towel dipped in oil and wipe it across the grates while holding it with tongs.
- REMOVE chicken from the marinade and let any extra drip off – you want it to still be coated but not soaked. For the oven, place the thighs on the rack and roast for about 40 minutes, flipping the pieces half way through cooking. For the grill, place the thighs on the grates and cook for about 4 minutes a side, flipping halfway. They'll need to be grilled twice on each side but flipping them often will prevent the skin from burning. If they start to look too charred but the insides aren't done, turn the heat down on half or all of the grill and let them cook on the cooler side until they reach 160 F inside and/or the juices run clear when you cut them.
- SERVE hot, warm, or cold from the fridge. They'll keep in the fridge for about a week so any leftovers can be turned into chicken salad or just eaten off the bone.