Traditional methods of cooking chicken thighs, such as fried, baked and barbecued, are complemented by alternative recipes, such as curried, sweet-and-sour and lemon chicken thighs. Many cooks spend time cooking chicken thighs in beer batter, while others treat diners to blackened or bacon-wrapped chicken thighs. Chicken is a versatile food that is easily adapted to almost any type of local flavor, and the thighs can be prepared in numerous ways.
The chicken thigh is a large, dark meat that can be left on the bone as it is or pulled apart and shredded into a rich, red sauce. People have been cooking chicken thighs in recipes that have been handed down for generations, such as southern fried chicken thighs in the American South and sweet-and-sour chicken thighs in the Orient. Italian chefs have practiced cooking chicken thighs in tomato sauce and with pasta for generations, while the Spanish have combined the thighs with rice and spices to create fillings for many dishes.
There are several methods of cooking chicken thighs in the oven, from plain chicken thighs to battered and baked thighs. Several spices, including salt, pepper and paprika, go well with baked chicken. Many cooks remove the skin when cooking the thighs and use a buttermilk and breadcrumb coating to provide the crunch on baked chicken thighs. Ingredients such as flour, eggs and cracker crumbs can be used when frying the chicken thighs to create a crisp and golden brown center piece for the table. Middle Eastern-styled curried chicken thighs can be made to go with couscous or a number of different rice dishes.
Popular with some diners, lemon chicken recipes are easily applied to the thigh and offer a taste of Asia. Many cooks reserve their chicken thighs for the grill and top them with a thick coating of tangy barbecue sauce. Whether using dry or wet barbecue sauce, the chicken thigh makes a good companion for the finger-licking good taste of barbecue on a summer picnic or for other meals. Chicken tacos and burritos are made by shredding the dark thigh meat into a spicy blend of Mexican seasoning and topping it with sour cream, tomatoes and lettuce. Creole chefs prepare chicken thighs to be used in gumbo, blackened with rice and beans and other regional specialties.