Best Grilled Chicken Thighs with Mustard and Tarragon for Two

Published July 2018

Why This Recipe Works

We found that the best way to grill chicken thighs was also the easiest. Cooking the chicken over indirect heat until it registered 185 to 190 degrees, which took about an hour, allowed collagen in the meat to break down into gelatin, which lubricated the meat so that it tasted moist and silky. And grilling the thighs skin sides down enabled fat under the skin's surface to thoroughly render, turning it paper-thin, and collagen in the skin to break down and soften—both of which allowed the skin to get nicely crisp once we seared it over direct heat for the last few minutes of cooking. We coated the thighs with a bold-flavored paste, applying most of it to the flesh side so as not to introduce too much extra moisture to the skin that would interfere with crisping. Briefly searing the flesh side before serving took the raw edge off the paste on that side.


Print Shopping List

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 ½ teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon minced fresh tarragon
Kosher salt and pepper
½ teaspoon water
4 (5- to 7-ounce) bone-in chicken thighs, trimmed
Nutritional Information


Per Serving (Serves 2)

  • Calories 546
  • Cholesterol 233 mg
  • Fat 40 g
  • Sodium 846 mg
  • Saturated 10 g
  • Carbs 4 g
  • Trans 0 g
  • Dietary Fiber 1 g
  • Monounsaturated 16 g
  • Sugar 0 g
  • Polyunsaturated 8 g
  • Protein 40 g

The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Serves 2

In step 2, the chicken can be refrigerated for up to 2 hours before grilling. Rosemary or thyme can be substituted for the tarragon, if desired.

1. Combine mustard, garlic, lemon zest, tarragon, ¾ teaspoon salt, water, and ¼ teaspoon pepper in bowl.

2. Place chicken, skin side up, on large plate. Sprinkle skin side with ¼ teaspoon salt and spread evenly with one-third of mustard paste. Flip chicken and spread remaining two-thirds of mustard paste evenly over flesh side. Refrigerate while preparing grill.

3A. FOR A CHARCOAL GRILL: Open bottom vent halfway. Light large chimney starter mounded with charcoal briquettes (7 quarts). When top coals are partially covered with ash, pour evenly over half of grill. Set cooking grate in place, cover, and open lid vent halfway. Heat grill until hot, about 5 minutes.

3B. FOR A GAS GRILL: Turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes. Leave primary burner on high and turn off other burner(s). (Adjust primary burner [or, if using 3-burner grill, primary burner and second burner] as needed to maintain grill temperature around 350 degrees.)

4. Clean and oil cooking grate. Place chicken, skin side down, on cooler side of grill. Cover and cook for 20 minutes. Rearrange chicken, keeping skin side down, so that pieces that were closest to edge are now closer to heat source and vice versa. Cover and continue to cook until chicken registers 185 to 190 degrees, 15 to 20 minutes longer.

5. Move all chicken, skin side down, to hotter side of grill and cook until skin is nicely charred, about 5 minutes. Flip chicken and cook until flesh side is lightly browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to platter, tent with aluminum foil, and let rest for 10 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges.