I am on a mission to get CRISPY chicken skin on the BBQ. I don't mean to LOOK crispy. I mean to actually "crunch" when bitten into, if that's at all possible. I'm trying to do all the right steps. I dry off the chicken thighs (bone in, skin on) with paper towels, liberally sprinkle with Kosher salt and pepper, & spray with oil so it doesn't stick to the grill. On medium high, I start with skin side down so the fat can render and turn after about 7 minutes. Repeat and leave on till done. When done, the chicken is moist, delicious, and beautifully carmalized.......but NOT crispy!!!! Any suggestions?

  • 2
    is it a propane grill? the burning of hydrocarbons produces water, which might affect how crisp the skin gets (especially if it's cooked with a closed lid)
    – Joe
    May 2, 2019 at 1:09
  • It is propane and for the most part the lid is closed. I would never guess that would be the reason. Would an open lid with propane do the tick?
    – Hutchette
    May 2, 2019 at 14:40
  • It would help, but I don't know that it would be the only thing needed. Hopefully someone else has more experience with this
    – Joe
    May 2, 2019 at 15:08

2 Answers 2


You are getting a lot of it right by patting the chicken dry and using a dry rub, I think you just need to tweak your method a bit.

Rendering fat and making crispy skin takes time, 7 minutes just isn't long enough for all the fat to melt away and it is searing instead. When I make crispy chicken in the oven I bake it on 190°C (375°F) in a fan oven for 35 minutes - that's thighs and legs, breast may vary.

What I would suggest in the barbecue is to reduce the heat to a bit short of medium, and cook the chicken longer on indirect heat. Once the fat has rendered and the skin gets crispy you can crank the heat up and get some color on it if you aren't happy with the color already. I'd keep the crispy skin away from the high heat though as it's likely to burn, instead caramelize the underside of the chicken.

  • This is all about removing moisture. I would add to this that salting your chicken, and letting sit, uncovered, in your refrigerator for up to 2 days before cooking will increase dehydration and allow for better crisping.
    – moscafj
    May 2, 2019 at 20:36

How long before you cook do you salt the meat? The salt will take time to draw out the moisture to give that nice crispy skin. You'll want to salt it (and use any other dry-rub seasonings) at least several hours before cooking - salting ten minutes or so before cooking can make the skin flabby.

  • 1
    Thanks to everyone for all the advice, I'll try all your suggestions.
    – Hutchette
    May 2, 2019 at 23:20

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