Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Grilled Chicken Thighs with Hot Carolina Barbecue Sauce

I’m calling this “Carolina” barbecue sauce, but folks from both Carolinas will tell you that’s a misnomer. After all, there are North and South versions, and within each state, there are eastern, western, and just about all-points-in-between versions.

Perhaps the one thing that Carolinians can agree on is that their downhome signature sauce is based on two important ingredients: cider vinegar and yellow mustard. So unlike their thicker, tomato-based counterparts, Carolina barbecue sauces—from all over—tend to be wonderfully tangy and on the thin side. Think mop instead of brush when it’s time to take it to the meat.

Many Carolina sauces are a little spicy, typically calling for red pepper flakes and/or a splash of hot sauce. I used both here for extra heat. Because heat is good.

Serves 4

  • 2/3 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar (or dark for a richer, molasses-like taste)
  • 3 tbsp yellow mustard
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp Tabasco or other hot sauce
  • 1/2 tsp dried red chile flakes
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • olive or vegetable oil, for rubbing grill grate
  • 8 large chicken thighs (about 4 lbs total), skin removed 

  1. Combine the vinegar and next 5 ingredients (through chile flakes) in a small saucepan and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook 12 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature. 
  2. Pour the sauce into a sealable container and refrigerate at least 4 hours to allow flavors to blend (overnight, even better). Bring to room temperature before using.

Sauce Beginning to Cook 
Sauce Halfway Through
Cooked Sauce 
Hot Carolina Barbecue Sauce
  1. Rub the grill grate with oil.
  2. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper and grill, turning several times (and covering the grill to prevent flare-ups), until golden brown and cooked through, 20-25 minutes, depending on size. 
  3. About 3 minutes before the chicken is done, mop the thighs with some of the sauce.

Seasoned Chicken Thighs
Chicken Beginning to Grill
Grilled Thighs
Glazed Chicken Thighs
Transfer the chicken to a board or platter and let rest 5 minutes before serving. Mop with more sauce and pass any remaining sauce at the table.

Grilled Chicken Thighs with Hot Carolina Barbecue Sauce


  1. This looks so good. We love BBQ sauce and this is a great recipe. Thanks for sharing at #OMHGWW!

  2. I love the idea of easy, real foods. This looks great! Thanks for joining us on Oh My Heartsie Girl Wordless Wednesday!

    1. Thanks much, Shellie --- I appreciate the opportunity to share recipes at OMHGWW!