My Recipe Box

Maple and Chipotle Broiler-Barbecued Chicken Thighs


Serves 4

  • To learn more, read:
    The Upside-Down Grill
  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 121

When it's too cold to grill outside, you can mimic the flavor of barbecued chicken with your oven broiler. Between the smoky spice rub and the sweet-hot barbecue sauce, you'll never miss the grill.

For the sauce
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 Tbs. mild unsulfured molasses
  • 2 Tbs. cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbs. minced chipotle chiles (from a can of chipotles in adobo)
  • 1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
For the chicken
  • 1 Tbs. sweet smoked paprika
  • 1 Tbs. packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. chipotle powder
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 large bone-in chicken thighs (about 3 lb.), skinned
  • Vegetable oil, for brushing
Chicken skin tends to cause flare-ups in the broiler, so be sure to remove it.
Make the sauce

In a 1- to 2-quart saucepan, whisk together the ketchup, maple syrup, molasses, vinegar, chipotles, Worcestershire sauce, dry mustard, onion powder, and garlic powder. Bring to a boil over medium heat, reduce the heat to low, and simmer gently for 15 minutes to meld the flavors. Set aside.

Make the chicken

In a small bowl, combine the paprika, sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, chipotle powder, 1-1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Arrange the chicken on a platter or baking sheet, sprinkle both sides with the spice rub, and pat gently. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours.

Position a rack about 4 inches from the broiler and heat the broiler on high. Line the top rack of a broiler pan with foil and slit or puncture the foil at the openings to allow fat to drain.

Brush both sides of the chicken with oil and arrange skin side down on the pan. Broil for 5 minutes. Flip the chicken with tongs (rearranging them if the broiler heat isn’t even) and broil until they’re barely pink inside when cut into, 4 to 5 minutes. Brush the chicken with some of the sauce and broil until the sauce begins to caramelize, 1 to 2 minutes. Flip and brush the chicken with more sauce; broil until they’re just cooked through (165°F), and the sauce is nicely caramelized, 1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer the chicken to a clean platter and let rest 10 minutes before serving.

Make Ahead Tips

The sauce can be made up to 1 day ahead and refrigerated.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 540, Fat (kcal): 20, Fat Calories (g): 180, Saturated Fat (g): 5, Protein (g): 48, Monounsaturated Fat (g): 8, Carbohydrates (mg): 41, Polyunsaturated Fat (mg): 5, Sodium (g): 1030, Cholesterol (g): 265, Fiber (g): 1,

Photo: Scott Phillips

I understand why every one of these reviews is 5-stars! I’ve had this on my list of “recipes to try sometime” for longer than any other recipe. My broiler is a little dubious, so never actually made it. Might also have been a little daunted by the long list of ingredients, but I literally only had to buy the chicken, making me pretty proud of my pantry, if I do say so myself! Anyway, I mistakenly bought boneless chicken thighs, and wasn’t going back out in today’s snowstorm, but would do it that way again since I think bone-in would take a LOT longer than the recipe; as it was the recipe timing worked out well. I served with parmesan-roasted cauliflower and baked potatoes, which were a perfect vehicle for the leftover sauce. But something green would be visually more pleasing. Finally, my husband thought it was delicious enough for thirds, and called it a NAFTA recipe, which we both found pretty funny!

Yummo! Made this tonight for dinner with a side of smashed potatoes and a kale salad. I put them on the BBQ because today was a beautiful spring day. The chicken turned out great! I used skinless, bone in thighs and used all the ingredients listed in the recipe. Thanks Fine Cooking for another winner!

I thought the sweet and hot added to richness of the chicken thighs. Nice combinations with the broiler. I left the skin on and the chicken came out beautiful with a lot of turning under the broiler

I disagree with Laraine about removing the skin. The skin holds in the moisture and adds an additional layer of flavor and texture. Perhaps Laraine needs to spend some time learning how to broil meat as well as the proper techniques of BBQ.

Thought that I had maple syrup on-hand. Nope, it was cane syrup. I subbed the cane for the maple and it turned out fine. We really liked the sauce. In addition to chicken, I'm looking forward to using it on pork ribs or chops when we're grilling outdoors.

Excellent, made the sauce and great flavors all around. Will do this again.

It looks delicious and easy to have a try:). Meat Processing Machine

Made this last night with a few alterations. I thought I had chipotles but didn't so just added some chipotle powder to the sauce. I like a nice thick sauce so simmered quite a bit longer than the 15 minutes called for in the recipe. It was delicious. I'd definitely make the sauce again to use on other things. I only had hot smoked paprika so used that instead of mild in the spice blend. It was a beautiful evening so cooked the chicken on the bbq instead of under the broiler. I only wish I had made more so we could have leftovers today. I don't think the changes I made affected the recipe drastically - I will certainly be making this again as well as sharing this recipe with friends.

I've made it twice. Both the sauce and chicken are great! My chicken took longer than 5 minutes per side, too. I left the skin on, so I didn't want to broil it any longer, so after the 5 mniutes per side, I turned the broiler off and set the temperature to 375 and finished baking the chicken until my intant read thermometer reached the safe temperature.

This was fantastic! We live in a condo without access to a bbq and this made me feel like I was at a cookout. It was easy to prep and cook. I was worried about using the broiler with such a sugary sauce, but there was no smoke and no burning. I found the cooking directions to be perfect. I would use this sauce/rub on many other meats, it's a delicious and versatile sauce.

I made it for supper last night and my kids loved it! No leftovers! I used boneless chicken thighs instead of bone in with skin. I also did not use chipotle powder for the rub since I was not able to find it in the grocery store! The sauce was amazing!

This makes for an extremely easy, fast weeknight dinner and got two thumbs up from adults and kid alike. The barbecue sauce is delicious enough that we were licking the pan-- although I did use chili powder instead of chipotle in deference to my spice-adverse daughter. My chicken took a lot longer than 5 minutes on a side to cook through-- since the sizes of chicken parts vary so much, I recommend adjusting the timing as needed.

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