This simple grilled chicken thighs recipe gets powerful flavor from a Vietnamese-inspired marinade that hits all the right notes. Packed with fish sauce, brown sugar, and chiles the marinade is more paste than liquid, allowing it to cling to the meat and have a major impact in a short amount of time.
The universal marinade will work with anything from shrimp to tofu to short ribs, but if you’re going with poultry, stick with skinless, boneless chicken thighs. Dark meat is juicy and has more flavor than chicken breasts, and while we usually favor skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs, this recipe was built with speed in mind. Using boneless meat reduces the cook time, but it also allows for more surface area so that the marinade can work its magic on the chicken more quickly.
Use the downtime (as little as 10 minutes, but up to two hours) to start on a simple side dish like cookbook author Andrea Nguyen’s confetti broccoli and herb slaw with a tangy lime juice and sriracha dressing, or Ben Bynum’s silky, mustardy potato salad.
You don’t need an instant-read thermometer here, but if you feel more comfortable using one, you’re looking for an internal temperature of 165° in the thickest part of the thigh. Let the chicken rest to redistribute the juices while you finish making the slaw or other sides.