Sous Vide Chicken Thighs - How to cook dark meat perfectly every time
I've become addicted to bone-in, skin-on dark meat chicken since discovering how to get perfect results with a sous vide hot water bath and our gas grill. It's a very simple recipe - the secret is in combining the two cooking methods for just the right amount of time.
- Bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (or other dark meat cuts)
- Salted butter
- Pepper (or other seasoning of your choice)
- Heatproof container full of hot water, with room for your chicken
- Temperature-controlled heat source to heat the water
- Ziplock bags OR vacuum seal pouches OR sealable silicone bag
- A very hot direct heat cooking method, like an outdoor grill or an indoor broiler
- Set up your hot water bath and get it heating up to 165 F (74C). I use an old cooler for the container, an Anova precision cooker for the heat source/temp control, and saran wrap carefully spread over the top to help keep the heat in (especially with the crazy hot weather we're having - leaving an open container of 165 F water in the house would make it unbearable hot and humid inside!). Alternatives that I've heard of include crock pots that have very reliable temperature settings or a pot of water on the stove combined with thermometers clamped to the side and watchful humans making manual adjustments to maintain the correct temperature.
- Prepare the chicken by seasoning it with pepper, placing it into the ziplock bags with one pat of salted butter per chicken thigh, and sealing the bag with as little air in it as you can manage. (Check out my YouTube video demonstration of how I get the air out of ziplock bags for sous vide cooking.)
- Cook the chicken in your 165 F (74C) hot water bath for at least 2 hours, and not more than 4 hours.
- Pull the chicken out of the hot water, remove from the bags, pat dry, season with salt, and let it rest for about 10 minutes. The chicken is fully cooked and good to eat at this point, but the skin will be unappetizing because it hasn't browned at all. Patting it dry and then letting it air dry for a few minutes will help achieve the best browning in the next steps ...
- Get your gas grill (or broiler) as hot as you can. The grates on our grill can be re-arranged and placed directly onto the gas burners, which helps maximize the heat.
- Brown the chicken skin with about 45 seconds per side on the direct heat. If the edges of the chicken aren't browning to your liking, use tongs to hold that piece of chicken on edge and get it nice and brown all over.
- Serve the chicken with your favorite side dishes and enjoy!
Copyright 2017 Amanda Hansen, all rights reserved.