Chili Rubbed Chicken with Apricot Glaze combines spicy rubbed chicken thighs with a fruity, sweet glaze to create a deliciously balanced barbecued chicken you’ll want to eat again and again!
One of my favorite flavor combos is anything that is sweet and spicy at the same time. Spicy foods are good, but when you add in a sweet component to cut through the spiciness, you take the food to a whole new level of deliciousness. My Chili Rubbed Chicken with Apricot Glaze is a perfect example of a beautifully balanced sweet and spicy combo. The rub and glaze on this chicken is one of our favorites! I first used it on pork tenderloin (click here for that recipe) and it instantly became my favorite meal, so it was a no-brainer to use that same combo on more economical chicken thighs.
While I was at the grocery store picking up the ingredients for this dish, the butcher came out to let me know that chicken breasts were on the BOGO free sale. I thanked him and let him know I was only there for the thighs! Even with the chicken breasts being on that great special, the thighs were still a better buy! I love how economical they are! Not only are chicken thighs less expensive than chicken breasts, but they are more flavorful, tender, and juicy too! It’s true!
I always go for the thighs these days for all of those reasons. Be sure to pick up thighs with the skin-on and bone-in as that adds flavor. You can always remove the skin before eating if you must, but I highly recommend indulging a bit. It is crispy and delicious! NOTE: If the skin sticks to the pan, it is likely your pan is not hot enough. Turn up the heat and get a nice sear on the skin. Once it is seared it will release from the pan without sticking.
This recipe is fairly simple to make. I recommend making the apricot glaze first so it’s ready to go as soon as the chicken is done being seared. When you’re buying your ginger, only buy a small piece. You can pull off what you need from the larger root at the store. I usually pick up a thumb-sized piece and keep it in the freezer. Frozen ginger is super easy to grate with a Microplane.
- 1 1/2 cups apricot preserves
- 1/2 cup barbecue sauce I use Sweet Baby Ray's Sweet and Spicy
- 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
- 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
- 1/2 lime juiced
- pinch of kosher salt1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 4 lbs bone-in and skin-on chicken thighs
- Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with heavy-duty foil and place an oven safe rack over the foil. Spray the oven rack lightly with cooking spray.
- Prepare the Apricot Glaze by melting 1 1/2 cups apricot preserves in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for 30 seconds at a time until melted. Once melted, stir in 1/2 cup Sweet Baby Ray's Sweet & Spicy Barbecue Sauce, 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce, 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro, the juice of 1/2 a lime, and a pinch of salt. Stir to combine. Give the sauce a taste and adjust the seasonings as needed. Reserve 1/2 the glaze to use during cooking, and place the other half in a serving bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve with the chicken.
- Combine 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1 tablespoon garlic powder, 1/2 tablespoon sugar, 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a bowl and stir to blend.
- Gently lift the skin of the chicken thighs and evenly rub the spice blend all over the meat. Place the skins back over the meat and rub the remaining spice blend on the skins as well.
- Use a large skillet to cook the chicken. I had 8 pieces of chicken and seared them in 2 batches 4 pieces at a time. Heat a skillet over mid-high heat and place 4 chicken thighs, skin side down, in the dry, hot skillet. Cook, undisturbed for 5 to 6 minutes until the chicken is nicely seared on the outside. Using tongs, gently turn chicken thighs over and generously brush the skin side with apricot glaze. NOTE: If the skin sticks to the pan, it is likely your pan is not hot enough. Turn up the heat and get a nice sear on the skin. Once it is seared it will release from the pan without sticking.
- Using tongs, remove chicken thighs from the pan to the the oven rack on the baking sheet, placing them skin side up. Repeat searing the remaining chicken in the skillet, brushing the skin side with glaze, and transferring to the rack.
- Cook in the preheated oven for 30 minutes or until cooked through to 160°F and no longer pink inside. Allow the chicken to rest for 10 minutes. Serve with the reserved apricot glaze and enjoy!
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