Grilled Peruvian Chicken Thighs


Welcome to No Empty Chairs.

I have been a long time food blog reader, and have finally decided to join the throng! My goal with this blog is to share a little bit of our home (via the family dinner table) with anyone who loves the combination of family, friends and food. So pull up a chair and join me around our family’s table: I want no empty chairs when dinner’s served.

As I prepared to begin this blog journey, I wrestled with where to start. Should my first post be a signature dish? Gourmet fare? A family favorite? In the end, I decided to just begin right where we were: on an ordinary Tuesday evening; with whatever I was planning to cook that night for dinner. Tonight, as the fall weather still has a bit of warmth in it, I decided to uncover the grill, maybe for the last time this season, but I hope not. I still have several grill recipes that I am hoping to try out before winter sets in for good.

So, on the menu tonight is Grilled Peruvian Chicken Thighs. I slightly adapted the recipe from Andrea Meyers, choosing to cook thighs instead of breasts (and altering the seasonings just a little). I love cooking boneless chicken thighs, especially on the grill. They are moist and flavorful, and they are very forgiving to those of us who are constantly being paged by demanding children. “M-o-m!! I need you!”  seems to punctuate the air at least every 5 minutes, and twice as often while I am either cooking or talking on the phone. So my grill does not always get the attention it deserves.

I love this recipe for many reasons: mostly because there is so little clean up. Also because it is so versatile in terms of how many it will feed. The amount of marinade is suitable for just a few pieces of chicken, or a large amount. It is also great to freeze. I will usually make up a double batch: one to eat that night, and the other to stick in the freezer for a night I need to be able to just pull something out to cook with minimal preparation.


In a Ziploc bag, combine the chicken thighs with all of the marinade ingredients. Marinate in the refrigerator overnight, if possible, but at least a couple of hours.

If you can remember, take the chicken out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before you begin cooking. This will help the chicken cook more evenly on the grill.

Remove chicken from the marinade and place on a hot grill. Go help your daughter with her math homework (hoping you can still remember how to graph a trigonometric function), enlist someone else to set the table, and start your side dishes. Tonight we had grilled asparagus (which I will post next time) and a rice pilaf.


Make your way back outside to turn the chicken over (and start your asparagus, if that is on the menu). Total cooking time for the chicken should be about 15-20 minutes, depending on the temperature of your grill (or if, like me, you have to keep rearranging the chicken to compensate for the hot & cold spots on the grill).

Everyone in our family really enjoys this meal. I love it because it is so simple, and the rest of the family loves it because it is so flavorful and tender.


Grilled Peruvian Chicken Thighs


1/3 cup soy sauce
Juice & zest from one fresh lime (about 3 Tbs lime juice and ½ tsp zest)
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp dried oregano (or 1-2 Tbs fresh)
½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
2 Tbs olive oil
9-12 boneless chicken thighs
Lime wedges

In a Ziploc bag, combine marinade ingredients. Add chicken. Marinate in the refrigerator 8-24 hours.

Remove chicken from refrigerator 30 minutes before you plan to begin cooking. Preheat grill. Remove the chicken thighs from the marinade and place  on the hot grill. Cook about 10 minutes per side, or until cooked through. Squeeze lime wedges over chicken and serve.


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