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Maple and Chipotle Broiler-Barbecued Chicken Thighs

Scott Phillips

Servings: 4

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

Nutritional Information

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


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.


Chicken skin tends to cause flare-ups in the broiler, so be sure to remove it.


Rate or Review

Reviews (16 reviews)

  • Halo92 | 07/04/2019

    Yes, this recipe has lots of ingredients and steps but just do it! I make a double batch of the rub and sauce with 12 thighs. It is truly delicious and worth the effort. I've been making it since the recipe was first published a few years ago.

  • Krispie | 05/28/2019

    I LOVE this recipe. I make the BBQ sauce and keep it on hand for all my grilling recipes. This time we grilled the chicken rather than broiled it - both ways turned out wonderful.

  • BaileyWalters | 03/18/2018

    I make as written but I make the sauce in large quantities and can it as it’s better than any store-bought. It’s our go-to BBQ sauce.

  • bakergal53 | 08/26/2017

    This recipe is outstanding. I use it as written, but I also use it on whole chickens that I rotisserie on my barbecue. I put the rub on the chickens (inside, under skin and on top of skin) about 2-3 hours before I intend to cook them and stick them in the refrigerator. I baste with the sauce in the last 2 minutes of cooking and then serve leftover sauce on the side.
    If you like a sauce with a little more tang, try doubling the vinegar.

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