Smoked Chicken Thighs
One of the keys to great Smoked Chicken Thighs is making sure that you have seasoned it properly with a great rub before it goes into the smoker. This recipe is super easy. You likely have everything in your pantry already.
I used bone-in thighs this time because that is what I had on hand, but you could certainly use boneless chicken thighs if you like. You definitely want to make sure that you do not use skinless chicken thighs. The fat from the skin also helps keep the chicken moist and adds so much flavor!
It doesn’t take long to prepare these babies, but you do have to be patient when you cook them. Unlike chicken that you are cooking on a grill, it takes time to smoke them in your smoker. Low and slow is always the mantra for smoking!
how to smoke chicken thighs
Smoking chicken thighs is not complicated; in fact, smoked chicken thighs are one of the easier meats to cook in your smoker. You do have some choices on how to prepare your thighs. You could use a brine for your thighs; I used a dry rub and found that it was perfect for this recipe.
As I have said, low and slow is the smokers’ mantra. You need to prepare your smoker to a temperature of 225 to 250 degrees F. I like to use a fruitwood like applewood or cherry wood. You can use either wood chips or wood chunks; in our area, the wood chips are much easier to source in stores.
Prepare your rub by combining brown sugar, paprika, black pepper, Kosher salt, garlic powder, onion powder, mustard powder, and cayenne pepper.
Take your spice rub and massage it onto your chicken. Make sure you rub some under the skin of each of the thighs. Place the thighs in your smoker skin side up and sit back and relax! Well, for a bit anyway!
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how long does it take to smoke chicken thighs?
When you are smoking it is less about the cooking time and more about the temperature. This is why I recommend having a good meat thermometer. The best one I have found is the Thermopen instant-read thermometer.
Dark meat does take a little longer to cook than the white meat of the breast so you have to take your time. After the thighs have been in the smoker for about 45 minutes you need to spring back into action. To prevent the thighs from drying out I used a mop on them while they are smoking.
The mop is simply a vinegar-based liquid that adds not only moisture but flavor. Mix together apple cider vinegar, water, your spice rub, and your favorite barbecue sauce. Basically you just brush on the sauce after the first 45 minutes and every half hour after that until the thighs are done. It is called a mop because in large smokers they actually use a mop to splash it on the protein.
- 8 – 10 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs
- Brown sugar
- Smoked paprika
- Black pepper
- Kosher salt
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Dry mustard powder
- Cayenne pepper
For the mop:
- Apple cider vinegar
- Spice rub (above)
- BBQ sauce
Once your thighs reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F they are done, it should take approximately an hour and a half to two hours. Take them out of the smoker and allow them to rest for 15 minutes or so before serving. I find that these smoked chicken thighs are much more flavorful than simple grilled chicken.
It doesn’t matter if you have an electric smoker like I used to have, a gas smoker, like I have now or a charcoal smoker. These competition-style chicken thighs will have your family and guests raving about the taste!
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- 10 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tbsp each black pepper & Kosher salt
- 1/2 tbsp each garlic powder & onion powder
- 1 tsp dry mustard powder
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 water
- 2 tbsp spice rub
- 2 tbsp barbeque sauce
- Prepare your smoker to 225-250 degrees F.
- Combine all the rub ingredients together.
- Rub the spice rub all over the chicken thighs, massaging some under the skin as well.
- Place the thighs skin side up in your smoker.
- Smoke using a fruitwood like apple or cherry, you can even toss in some hickory for a different flavor.
- Prepare your mop by mixing all the ingredients together.
- After the 45 minutes mop the thighs and then every 30 minutes after that until they reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
- Remove them from the smoker and allow to rest for 15 minutes before serving. I like to serve them with a little BBQ sauce for dipping.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 80Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 17mgSodium: 120mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 1gSugar: 10gProtein: 3g
Recipe calculation was provided by Nutritionix and is estimation only. If you need nutritional calculations for medical reasons, please use a source that you trust.