Cooking crispy skin chicken thighs in a skillet on a camp stove may seem like an impossible task without the assistance of your home oven. With a little technique, you can make it happen with very little effort.
The addition of our rich and creamy garlic herb pan sauce will make this your favorite chicken thigh recipe even for cooking at home.
We’ve rated this recipe as EASY with the caveats that you are using a well-seasoned pan and you properly heat it before you attempt to cook your chicken thighs.
3 Tips for Getting the Skin Crispy
There are three keys to making this recipe work.
Second, you need to get the skillet hot before you add the chicken. Very hot. Be patient. The oil should be just smoking. If the skillet is too cool, the skin will stick and tear off when you try to flip your chicken.
Third, when you’ve finished cooking, don’t spoon the sauce over the chicken thighs. Just set them in a pool of the sauce. If you spoon it over, it will soften the skin and all your fancy technique will be wasted.
Cooking Your Crispy Skin Chicken Thighs
The technique of poaching the chicken in the chicken broth with a lid on the pan, then crisping up the skin afterward is from one of our favorite cookbooks from Cook’s Illustrated. We can’t take credit for it.
It is the most effective way we’ve found to get crispy skin on chicken thighs without having the benefit of an oven.
The garlic herb pan sauce we make with this recipe is very simple, but one of our favorites.
Explore more camp stove and grill grate recipes.
The butter and chicken stock give the sauce a creamy texture, and the addition of the white wine adds a much needed acidic element to balance out the fat in the dish.
You are welcome to experiment with other pan sauces, but we’ve found this one works well with roasted chicken. Some pan sauces have such big flavors that they overpower the chicken and all you taste is the sauce.
As with most camping recipes, the most important tool you can have is an instant-read thermometer. Especially with chicken recipes. You don’t want to end up getting sick out in the boonies.
Crispy Skin Chicken Thighs with Garlic Herb Pan Sauce
- 4 large Bone-in skin-on chicken thighs
- 3 tbs. Vegetable oil
- 1 cup Chicken broth
- 1 tbs. Unsalted butter
- 1 tbs. Fresh thyme
- 2 cloves Garlic – minced
- 1/4 cup Dry white wine
Before You Leave Home
- This recipe is very simple, so there isn't any prep-work needed at home.
At the Campsite
- Trim the chicken of excess fat and skin, then sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper on both sides.
- Heat oil in cast-iron skillet or pot over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add chicken skin side down. Sear about 5 minutes until the skin is well browned.
- Flip chicken over, being careful that the skins don't stick to the pan and pull off. Turn heat to medium-low, add 1 cup of chicken stock. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, until the internal temperature registers 155 degrees.
- Remove the chicken from your skillet and place skin side up on a plate. Pour the liquid into a metal bowl or measuring cup for later.
- Wipe the skillet dry with paper towels and add the remaining tablespoon of oil. Heat on medium-high heat until just smoking.
- Add chicken thighs skin side down and cook until skin is brown and crisp and the internal temperature registers 165 degrees. Remove from the pan and place on a plate skin-side up. Tent loosely with foil while you prepare your pan sauce.
- Add the butter to the pan. Once it is melted, add the thyme and garlic. Cook, stirring constantly for about a minute.
- Add the wine and cook, scraping all the browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Let it cook for about a minute.
- Add liquid reserved from cooking the chicken earlier and reduce for about 5 minutes.