Hot Oven Chicken Thighs

by R.B. Quinn and Min Merrell
hot oven chicken

Crispy hot oven roasted chicken thighs make a terrific easy weeknight supper. If you’ve got a gas grill, then you really need to know about our method for making the crispiest, moistest chicken ever called shelf chicken.

Just a few years ago it would not have been crazy to think that chicken was bred without legs or thighs. Since the 1980s, when a fat phobia began an era of “all white meat,” restaurants and poultry producers ensured that most of the 85 pounds of chicken we each eat a year was the boneless, skinless breast kind. White meat prices climbed and the leftover dark meat cuts were shipped abroad to the smart cultures that appreciate their flavor and higher fat content. 

The white/dark chicken meat balance has shifted dramatically in the past few years. Television cooking show hosts champion the thigh over the breast for its richer flavor and foolproof cooking success, thanks to the higher fat content. The growing immigrant population and poultry producers’ improved ability to separate dark meat from bones and tendons have also contributed to the recent jump in dark meat interest and price. Restaurants in every category are putting thighs on the menu. Not to mention the wings craze.

At home, hot oven roasted chicken thighs can be the savior of the family dinner on a hectic school night. Start with a hot oven and a couple of packs of bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs. While the oven heats, arrange the thighs on a large baking sheet, scatter a generous amount of mushrooms and a sliced lemon around the thighs, drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper (other herbs if you like). In the time it takes to pull the rest of the meal together and get everyone off their phones, pads and pc’s, the skin will be golden brown and well-crisped and the kitchen will be filled with the smell of roast chicken. Serve with rice or potatoes, any winter vegetables, and a salad.  

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