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The Juicy Reason You Should Never Remove The Skin On Chicken Thighs

Chicken thighs in a pan
Chicken thighs in a pan - Lauripatterson/Getty Images

In the history of humanity consuming poultry, chicken thighs are perhaps the most underrated cut. Surprising, considering how tender it is. Chicken thighs are categorized as dark meat, the same type of succulent food coveted when carving up a turkey for Thanksgiving. Walk into any grocery store, and you can easily pick up a pack of boneless and skinless thighs for essentially any chicken dish. But you would be making a mistake by selecting this cut exclusively.

Choosing chicken thighs with the skin on will be much more beneficial in the long run. When cooked correctly, the skin offers more than a crunchy texture. Skin is a component that makes it even more moist than it otherwise would be. This alone should stop the temptation of removing the skin. Cooking your chicken thighs this way will open you up to a world of possibilities. No more painstakingly flavoring the meat of your skinless cuts. The skin-on version will deliver a mouthful of incomparable flavor and succulence with every bite.

Read more: 15 Tricks For Making The Most Crispy Chicken Thighs Ever

Don't Neglect The Skin

Chicken in cast iron skillet
Chicken in cast iron skillet - Candice Bell/Shutterstock

As juicy as skinless chicken thighs may appear, cooking the variety with skin on it provides additional depth of flavor and even more tenderness. This is because the skin acts as a shield against abrasive heat. Without the skin, chicken thighs are exposed to the heat from a pan or the oven, which can dry out the meat. The skin protects the meat and acts as an additional flavor conductor. When soaked with butter, aromatics, and the right seasoning for chicken thighs, the final dish will pack a punch of flavor for your tastebuds.

And while you're keeping the skin on your chicken thighs, you can also enjoy the additional benefit that these cuts bring to the table. Many skin-on chicken thighs have a secret weapon: the bones. Some cooks may consider deboning the thigh instead of eating around it, but that's not advisable. While the skin provides an atmosphere where the meat can incubate in soft heat, the bone helps with additional moisture. The marrow inside the bone also adds a rich flavor to the meat as it cooks, providing even more deliciousness.

Tips For Crispy Chicken Thighs

Crispy chicken thighs in cast iron pan
Crispy chicken thighs in cast iron pan - Lauripatterson/Getty Images

Chicken thighs are a versatile dish for any occasion, but they're at their best when crispy. When pan-frying these cuts of meat skin side down, they will naturally crisp up. But there are ways you can ensure your meal gets maximum crunch courtesy of the skin. Drying the skin beforehand will rid the cut of any excess moisture so it's one of the best ways to ensure crispy chicken skin. Using a dry brine is also a surefire way to crisp up the outside. Simple seasonings like salt and pepper will do the trick.

If you have time, you can also pop the chicken uncovered in the fridge overnight. This process will garner the same result when it comes time to cook. The salt will have more time to sink into the chicken, which removes even more moisture. Make sure to cook the skin side first and allow it to render the fat in which your exposed meat side will then cook.

As important as it is to cook skin-side down, it's just as important to utilize the right tools. Cooking in a cast iron skillet is a great way to engender crispiness in your chicken thighs. Also, by putting chicken thighs in a cold pan, you can bring up the temperature to medium-high and watch as a solid crust forms on your juicy cut of meat.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.