Dissecting the Dish: Southern Inspired Sweet & Smokey Grilled Chicken Thighs

Highlighting the Top Hat’s mission to deliver some of the freshest and tastiest, scratch-made options in Missoula, Dissecting the Dish continues to focus on the extra bit of thought and care that makes each item stand out from the crowd.

The newest edition of the Top Hat menu includes a Southern inspired dish straight from the head chef himself, Mr. Billy Metzger.

The Sweet & Smokey Grilled Chicken Thighs are marinated bone-in with a specially prepared marinade consisting of smoked paprika, hot sauce, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, garlic, and agave nectar. Possibly as appetizing as the main entree, the chicken is served with a side of mac & cheese and fried okra. The mac & cheese is house made with jalapeños, bacon, and Tillamook cheddar and the okra is dipped in buttermilk then breaded in a seasoned flour cornmeal mixture before frying.


Billy originally learned how to cook from his mother and grandmother in Alabama. His mom would frequently grill BBQ chicken in the summer, often including the bone and skin, which they both preferred. Fried okra and mac & cheese are also common favorites in Billy’s home state of Alabama. The dish is no doubt a spin off of one of his favorite comfort foods growing up.

A Word from the Chef…

“The whole dish has a southern backyard BBQ feel to me. A lot of people I know have never tried okra and are usually curious about it.  I love to make stewed tomatoes and okra, use it in gumbo or soup, but the best way to eat it is breaded in cornmeal and deep fried. The sauce is something I started to make as a rub or seasoning at home. I added the other ingredients to make it a marinade later.  It is something my family enjoyed, so I decided to use it at the Top Hat. A lot of my ideas start out like that. I love spending my evenings off in the backyard grilling food.  I have made this chicken at home, but we eat it with salad. I decided to make it a little more Southern style for the Top Hat menu.”

Take a look at the Top Hat’s fresh new menu here.