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Cooking with chicken thighs

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Raw chicken kind of creeps me out, which is one reason that I usually cook with breasts. I've made some nice dishes using the boneless skinless thighs, including one that's grilled with a spice rub, then shredded and mixed with barbecue sauce. I serve it in tacos with lime cilantro slaw and chipotle cream.

The question I have is: how much trimming do you do of the thighs? It seems like there is fat (and other stuff you don't get with breasts) that should be trimmed off. But then it seems like I'm doing too much work for something that's already boneless and skinless. Thanks for your help!

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  1. I cook chicken thighs on the bone and don't trim too heavily...only when they seem to have *too* much fat. Cooking the thighs on the bone insures they will definitely have a good, rich flavor. If you don't like handling them wear poly gloves. Chicken thighs are so versatile, I think you'll find them better tasting then the breasts.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Gio

      Oh, bones are definitely out of the question! (That's not a picky kid, but a picky husband, unfortunately!)

      1. re: cackalackie

        Oh well - that's OK....I use boneless as well. Plus, you can stuff the boneless.

    2. As a vegetarian with a meat loving partner, I cook meat at home 2-5 times per month. I don't like handling meat but it doesn't bother me too much. I usually cook meat dishes when I am entertaining and last weekend I had to weigh, wash, dry, trim, cut up and marinate 6 lbs of chicken thighs. They required a medium amount of trimming. But I think the thighs are a choicer cut of the chicken--the meat is not as likely to dry out as the breasts--omnivores, please correct me if I'm wrong.

      1 Reply
      1. re: abud

        Well, they're in a place near the spot known as "the oyster", and yes they are very tender...if not over cooked of course.

      2. I usually take off the large nub of fat that's folded over on one side; it's easily done with a couple snips with scissors. It isn't too much work for a few thighs, and that way I don't forget when eating and get a mouthful of chewy chicken fat. For larger groups, I'd just leave them on, not really worth the effort.

        1 Reply
        1. re: link_930

          I just leave them on and remove when cooked.

        2. By the way, raw chicken gives me the heebs, too. I buy large boxes of laytex gloves found at the pharmacy. It's amazing what I can do with that thin layer between me and the bird. I use them for making meatloaf and meatballs, too.

          Gloves and scissors make short work of trimming chicken thighs.

          1. I'm with you about the grossness of the thighs, but often buy them because they are tastier, more tender and cheaper. However, I try to eat healthy. So I do a lot of trimming.

            Scissors are a great time-saver when you're trimming, plus they let you get into odd angles and still have enough pressure to cut the fat out.

            However, I also find that if I grill or broil the thighs, I don't have to trim as much, because it really melts away.

            1. It's not about the work, it's about the final product. If you don't find it to be better, then go back to breasts. I don't mind working with the thighs, and only trim them because of other ppl not wanting to cut the fat with their own utensils. Doesn't bother me at all. HOWEVER, thighs are easier to cook with, generally because you don't have to pay as much attention to them, and they will always be juicier. I cook with breast meat as well, just have to pay closer attention. My preference is thigh meat. If it's not worth the bother to you, use breast meat. I also happen to LIKE a little chicken fat - especially if it's on the grill and gets nice and crispy. That might be another thing to consider. There are people who like chicken skin and fat, and there are people who think the people who like chicken skin are gobblins. I LOVE chicken skin. Love it. Two slices of wheat bread, fresh ground pepper, tomato slice, and some nice crispy skin sounds like a good sammich to me.

              1. Thanks everyone. This has been a big help!!!

                1. I love chicken thighs and when I bone them I remove a some of the fat and all the tough connective tissue that was around the bone. If I'm grilling them I leave some fat on but for other application I remove as much as possible.

                  1. I wouldn't worry about it. If it's boneless and skinless already, what's left will provide a limited amount of moisture and flavor. It will enhance things if you are grilling it (flame on). It will render in most other cooking techniques. If it bothers you, try pork tenderloin.

                    1. I prefer thigh, too. Bone in or out depending on what the dish is. Breast is just too sinewy and dry. My own experience is that breast is rarely cooked well, it should be done to the point of being almost undercooked. But people are afraid of undercooking, so they overcook and then you get that dry leathery breast. Thigh on the other hand tastes good no matter what. Unless it is not very fresh, then the fat in the thigh gets that "chicken" taste which I don't like. I am not sure if it is really so much healthier to eat breast, I think it is okay to go for the thigh. I think there has been some cultural trend to prefer breast because it is healthier but in truth the thigh is just moister, tastier, and just superior.

                      1. Here we go again! Suddenly the humble chicken thigh will be the "choice-du-jour" and the price will sky-rocket. Does anyone remember how cheap chicken wings used to be, before everyone started "buffalo-ing" them. They were dirt cheap and no one really like them, now see how much they are a pound! All you chicken thigh lovers lets keep the secret to ourselves:-)