Fire Up The Grill For Chicken Thighs With Sweet Apricot-Hoisin Glaze

A crowd-pleaser: Grilled chicken with a sticky apricot-hoisin glaze.

A crowd-pleaser: Grilled chicken with a sticky apricot-hoisin glaze.


When planning a backyard summer barbecue, it’s not always easy to find a fuss-free, yet exciting-tasting dish that will satisfy all guests, from kids to adults.

“Chicken Thighs with Sweet Apricot-Hoisin Glaze” fits that bill perfectly.

Before grilling, the bone-in, skin-on thighs get rubbed with a simple mix of garlic powder, cumin, ginger, cinnamon, and chile powder (just a smidge so as not to scorch tender palates).

A quick glaze comes together in a flash on the stovetop. It’s just a mixture of apricot preserves, hoisin sauce, lemon juice and minced fresh ginger that gets brushed on the chicken pieces as they cook.


The recipe is from the new “Weber’s New American Barbecue: A Modern Spin On The Classics” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), of which I received a review copy. It’s written by the Bay Area’s Jamie Purviance, a master griller who not only attended The Culinary Institute of America, but Stanford University, as well.

The book includes a primer on different types of grills, charcoal and smoke chips. There’s even a timeline of barbecue, starting with the 1600s, when New World settlers supposedly coined the term “barbecu” to distinguish their cooking method from what they considered the more “savage” techniques of the Indians. Uh, huh.

There’s also a list of the Top Five barbecue trends. Hint: Sauces are getting sweeter; and people definitely favor cooking with gas.

The recipes point to just how many varied dishes can be made on a grill or smoker. They range from “Smoked Deviled Eggs” to “Homemade Pastrami” to “Coal-Roasted Clams with Blistered Chiles and Linguine” to “Iced Cinnamon Rolls.”

While the glaze on its own is pretty sweet, it’s less so when it’s actually on the chicken because it’s only brushed on. The apricot jam gives the hoisin added fruity tang; the ginger gives it a pop of brightness.

Purveyance instructs you to grill the chicken on the grates, then transfer the thighs to a disposable pan before applying the glaze, and allowing to cook further. Don’t skip this step. If you do, this sugar-filled glaze will likely burn and stick to your grill, making for a mess to clean up later.

Kids no doubt will like the sweetness of the sticky glaze, while adults will enjoy the change of pace from the traditional brown sugar-vinegar-molasses sauced barbecued chicken. The thighs are super juicy, tender and accented by a nice fruity smokiness. What more could you want in a summer barbecue dish?

The initial grilling of the chicken -- before they get transferred to a disposable pan atop the grates.

The initial grilling of the chicken — before they get transferred to a disposable pan atop the grates.

Chicken Thighs with Sweet Apricot-Hoisin Glaze

(Serves 4)

For the Rub:

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon prepared chili powder

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the Chicken:

8 chicken thighs (with bone and skin), each 5 to 6 ounces, trimmed of excess skin and fat, patted dry

For the Glaze:

1/2 cup apricot preserves

1/4 cup hoisin sauce

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons peeled, minced fresh ginger

For garnish:

1-2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Special Equipment:

2 large handfuls of cherry or apple wood chips

Large disposable foil pan

Soak the wood chips in water for at least 30 minutes.

Prepare the grill for direct and indirect cooking over medium-low heat (350 to 400 degrees)

Combine the rub ingredients, and then season the chicken thighs all over with the rub.

In a small saucepan over medium heat on the stove, bring the glaze ingredients to a simmer. Cook until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat.

Drain and add the wood chips to the charcoal or to the smoker box of a gas grill, following manufacturer’s instructions, and close the lid. When smoke appears, grill the thighs, skin side down first, over direct medium-low heat, with the lid closed, until lightly browned, about 16 minutes, turning once. Place thighs in a large disposable foil pan, place the pan over indirect medium-low heat, and brush the thighs with some of the glaze. Close the lid, and cook until the juices run clear and the meat is no longer pink at the bone, 15 to 20 minutes more, brushing occasionally with the glaze. If the glaze becomes too thick as it cools, warm it briefly over medium heat. Brush with any remaining glaze just before removing the thighs from the grill. Serve the thighs warm, garnished with the cilantro.

From “Weber’s New American Barbecue: A Modern Spin On The Classics” by Jamie Purviance


More Grilled Chicken Recipes: Grilled Five-Spice Chicken with Tamarind Sauce by Charles Phan


And: Grilled Lime Chicken with Creamed Corn by John Ash


And: Thai Grilled Chicken with Lemongrass and Ginger by Steven Raichlen

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  • Love grilling season! Something about cooking on an open flame that’s so satisfying. Maybe it’s the beverage I often drink while grilling? Naw, that couldn’t be it. 🙂 Anyway, this looks super — thanks.

  • Love anything with hoisin sauce! 🙂

  • This made me hungry, and I just ate 🙂

  • i feel like apricot is the go-to preserve for glazes like this, and i’m not sure why. i’m not complaining, mind you–i think it tastes excellent and creates an awesome sheen!

  • Oooh, the end results look so mouthwatering! I love incorporating fruit into savory dishes. I wish I had a grill!!!!

  • The recipe description says “…..the blend of pineapple and hoisin….” yet there’s no pinapple in the recipe.

    Is that a description of the taste or is there an ingredient missing?

  • David: There’s no pineapple listed in this anywhere. I think it’s just a typo in the book. So, just disregard.

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