Chicken Thighs Internal Temp: What’s The Protocol?

Chicken is so good! It’s one of the best things to have at a barbeque or family dinner, and we all love a chicken thigh.

But, what’s the deal with the chicken thigh temperature? Let’s go through it and find out the protocol!

Chicken Thighs Internal Temp What’s The Protocol

For Starters

Chicken is fantastic and the thighs can be one of the best parts of it. The thing is though, it’s often difficult to understand what we should do when it comes to the temperature.

What Should The Chicken Thigh Temperature Be?

This is where some confusion can be. Although in theory, the chicken thigh should be cooked safely at 165 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s best to bump that temperature up to about 180 degrees Fahrenheit.

This is because the chicken’s texture will be much juicier and succulent at this heat, mainly due to the amount of collagens the thighs contain.

When it comes to white birds, if the temperature reaches 165 degrees fahrenheit – you’ll generally be safe. The salmonella producing bacteria will be cooked right off, allowing you to eat your tasty chicken and not vomiting all over the place.

If you want to check the chicken thigh temperature (or any meat for that matter), it’s wise to use a portable thermometer.

When it comes to the thighs, you’ll want to probe the chicken thigh into its thickest or chunkiest part. This part of the chicken will cook slowest, so when this area of chicken is cooked – the whole chicken will be cooked safely.

However, if you’re just cooking the thighs – get that temperature to 180 degrees fahrenheit as we said, just to get the best out of the thighs and to avoid a chewy chicken.

Thighs And Breasts

Chicken breasts cook far more quickly than chicken thighs do. Chicken breasts are entirely white meat and whatever method you plan to cook them, they will rapidly complete (and if you overcook them, they will taste horribly dry!).

Chicken thighs are very meaty and have a lot of protein and fat. This means that the thighs will take a little longer to cook but will also taste far meatier, smokier and will work well if marinated with barbeque or hot sauce and rubbing spices. You’ll also not have to worry about overcooking the thighs, unlike the breasts.

Does It Take Long To Cook Chicken Thighs?

Assuming you’re taking the 180 degrees advice, it will depend on the internal temperature of the smoker or grill you’re going to use. Say you’ve set the grill to 145 degrees – this could take around 15 to 20 minutes to cook the chicken thighs, but there are plenty of variables to this.

How thick are the thighs? How boney are the thighs? Has the chicken recently been thawed? Is the temperature of your chosen grill or smoker reliable?

The only sure-fire way to know if the chicken is cooked is with that portable thermometer. When it comes to cooking, it’s always better to allocate more time than you think you’ll need, to avoid rushing your food and undercooking it, causing illnesses.

What Should The Chicken Thigh Temperature Be

Also, while we’re talking about cooking methods – it’s never good to cook while hungry. This further promotes you to try and rush the cooking process so you can eat, but this is just another risk.

Consider eating something light around 30 minutes before you begin cooking. That way, the urge to rush the cooking (and the risk of undercooked food) is severely reduced.

Is It Safe To Have Pink Chicken In The Middle?

This is where you’ll have to be careful and it’s a contentious issue. Many student chefs starting out will think that the chicken is definitely cooked when there’s absolutely no pink left in the chicken.

It’s not a bad way to try and guarantee it isn’t raw, but it’s not a sure-fire way to know.

It’s simply about the temperature. If it’s 165 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, you can eat the chicken – regardless if there’s a tint of pink inside. Frankly, the only way to know if it’s cooked is with that temperature check, and that’s why we have them!

It’s also important to note that if you’re smoking the chicken, you might notice a pinkish color to it because that’s what the smoker will do – you’ll have a hue of pinkish red to the chicken.

Got Any Tips For Grilling The Chicken?

We sure do!

Let’s start with the seasoning. You can rarely go wrong with the basic salt and pepper seasoning, but there are so many rubbing spices on the market – the choice really is up to your own tastes!

Chicken tends to pair well with spicy things, so curry or chilli powder can also work. You could also try marinating the chicken thighs in peri peri sauce or garlic and herb sauce.

When that begins to cook and bind to the chicken, the smell is unmatched – absolutely beautiful stuff! Just be careful with things like BBQ sauce – it’s filled with sugar and can burn quickly, so it’s better to leave that until last.

Before you go out and start cooking though, where are you sourcing the chickens and ingredients from? You’ll want to ensure you’re getting the best quality products for the best quality results.

Try heading to a butcher shop for the chicken. You may have to pay more than you would at the store, but hey – can you really put a price on quality?

The same applies to the spices and sauces. If you can grow your own, fantastic! The fresher, the better – and nothing beats homegrown. Other than that, try visiting a health food store or specialist and get the best.

When cooking, don’t keep opening the door and checking the temperature every couple of minutes because it compromises the cooking process.

You’ll want to set yourself allocated times to check. If the chicken takes 15-20 minutes, then check after 15. If it needs more time, then check in another 5 minutes.

Enjoy your food!

Mick Rogers