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How to pick the best chicken thigh BBQ marinade for your next BBQ gathering

chicken thigh BBQ marinade

How to pick the best chicken thigh BBQ marinade for your next BBQ gathering

The key to delicious grilled chicken thighs is the marinade. Marinades add a whole dimension of new flavours; spicy, sweet, smokey—you name it! Chicken has a subtle flavour so a good marinade can do wonders for it.

That being said, there really isn’t any one-size-fits-all marinade out there—there’s a vast array of marinades for chicken thighs, each created to suit different tastes. So if you’re looking for chicken thigh BBQ marinade, you’ll need to pick the right one that pleases your taste buds.

No two marinades are the same and depending on the ingredients, you may need to change up your grilling style. So here are some tips to help you find the perfect BBQ marinades for your chicken thighs.

Think about the flavours

Different marinades offer different flavours. So the first thing you need to consider when choosing a marinade is the flavour you want to give your grilled chicken thighs. Here are the main marinade flavours that you can choose from;

Sweet and savoury

A good balance of sweet and savoury flavours can make for killer grilled chicken thighs! Sweet and savoury marinades usually have ingredients such as honey, brown sugar and soy sauce to create a beautiful savoury-sweet combination.

Also, since sweet marinades have sugar in them, grilling your chicken thighs after marinating them with sweet marinade may cause them to caramelise. This can add to the flavour, but too much caramelisation could make your chicken taste bitter.

Citrusy and tangy

If you want to give your chicken thighs a little zest, tangy and citrusy flavours are the way to go! Citrus-based marinades use a combination of orange, lime or lemon juice with spices to give chicken thighs a tangy kick.


If you love spicy food, go for spicy marinades for chicken thighs. These marinades include hot ingredients like cayenne pepper and jalapeno. If the marinade you choose is too spicy, you could add a bit of Greek yoghurt to balance out the heat.

Mind the acidity

Acidic marinades can help tenderise the meat, but you need to be a bit careful with very acidic marinades. Marinades with high acidity usually have ingredients like lemon juice, so leaving your chicken thighs in it for too long can over-tenderise the meat.

If you want a marinade you can leave the chicken in for a while, so for milder sweet marinade as these tend to be less acidic.

Marinating time is important

If you’re planning on marinating chicken thighs for a short time before cooking them, use marinades with a strong flavour. The flavour from these marinades will infuse into the chicken very quickly.

On the other hand, if you’re fine with letting your chicken thighs marinate for a long time, like a day or so, use mild-flavoured marinades instead. These marinades won’t overwhelm the taste of your chicken thighs after a long period of marinating.

Check the ingredients

Marinades come with a wide variety of ingredients and some of these ingredients may be common allergens. If you or anyone you’re having over for your BBQ have certain food-based allergies, make sure to check the ingredients used in the marinade before buying it. 

The aroma adds to the taste

One of the best things about BBQ is how good it smells! And the right kind of marinade can add a delicious aroma to your grilled chicken thighs. If you want your chicken thighs to smell irresistible, choose marinades that come with rosemary, thyme, fennel, dill and sage.

Be mindful of side dishes

If you’re going to have some side dishes along with your grilled chicken thighs, you should consider choosing a marinade that goes well with your sides. For example, if you’re having some spicy side dishes, go for a marinade that’s citrusy or sweet.

Make the best out of chicken thigh BBQ marinade

With a good marinade, any BBQ can be a hit! But choosing the right chicken thigh BBQ marinade is an art in itself, so make sure to find just the right kind of marinade to make your next BBQ unforgettable!

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