0-400 Chicken Thighs

2 reviews

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0-400 chicken thighs are an interesting, new way to smoke chicken thighs. The process is unlike anything else you’ve tried before, and the result is a golden, juicy chicken thigh that everyone will love.

0-400 chicken thighs on a white serving dish with text overlay - 0-400 chicken.

What Are 0-400 Chicken Thighs?

0-400 chicken was made popular by a group of ReqTeq enthusiasts in their online forums and Reddit threads. Essentially, the chicken is placed on the grill and then the grill is turned on and preheats while the chicken cooks.

After seeing their posts of juicy chicken with crispy skin and what seemed like awesome smoke flavor, I had to try it for myself! The approach is definitely unique, but the process was so simple and the results speak for themselves.

Start the chicken on a cold pellet grill, flip the switch on and get the temp to 400 degrees F, close the lid, and let the grill do all the work. You get the benefits of extra smoke on startup while the chicken and the grill is still cold followed by a dry hot heat that gives you crisp skin. It’s the best of both worlds!

Hey Grill Hey Beef Rub being sprinkled on chicken thighs.

Ingredients for 0-400 Chicken

You only need 2 ingredients to try this 0-400 chicken for yourself! Consider it an [almost] risk-free BBQ venture! Here’s what you’ll need for this recipe.

  • 2 pounds of chicken thighs. Snag around 2 pounds of chicken thighs from the store or your local butcher.
  • 1 Tablespoon Hey Grill Hey Beef Rub. Or substitute for your favorite BBQ seasoning.

Hey Grill Hey Beef Rub is a salt and pepper-based BBQ rub that is amazing on chicken as well as beef. You can purchase a bottle of Beef Rub from the Hey Grill Hey Store. If you don’t have any Beef Rub when you go to make this chicken, you can substitute the seasoning with your favorite BBQ rub, or you can use simple salt and pepper.

Chicken thighs on the smoker.

How to Make 0-400 Chicken Thighs

Ready for the process to make these chicken thighs? It’s a pretty fun one to try out!

  1. Season. Snag a paper towel and pat the chicken dry. Next, season the chicken thighs on all sides with Hey Grill Hey Beef Rub or equal parts salt and pepper.
  2. Place chicken on the smoker. Place the seasoned chicken directly on the grill grates of your smoker.
  3. Fire up the smoker. Turn on the smoker to 400 degrees F.
  4. Smoke! Allow the chicken to smoke while the smoker heats up. Continue to cook the chicken until the internal temperature reaches 175 degrees F.
  5. Enjoy. Once the chicken thighs reach their target temperature of 175 degrees F, remove them from the smoker. Allow them to rest for a few minutes before serving to your family or guests. Enjoy!

I’ve attached a video to this post so you can follow along while making this 0-400 chicken so you can get the best results.

Chicken thighs on the smoker reading 175 degrees F with an instant read thermometer.

How Long to Cook 0-400 Chicken

It will take approximately 1 hour to cook this 0-400 chicken, but time will differ for everyone.

Rather than watching the clock for this chicken, use an instant-read meat thermometer and smoke the chicken thighs until they reach an internal temperature of 175 degrees F.

Notes When Making 0-400 Chicken

Here are some tips for making this 0-400 chicken. I highly recommend you check out the video linked to this post in the recipe card below to watch the whole thing in action.

  • Go with a dry rub without sugar. In the video, I used oil on the chicken before seasoning. It was my first time trying the method and I have since cooked the recipe without oil and had better results. I also tried saucing the chicken at the end and preferred them with no sauce on top, but definitely sauce on the side to dip.
  • Lid closed or open? On starting with the lid closed: each pellet grill manufacturer has different specifications on proper startup for their grills. Some recommend waiting for the full startup cycle to run before closing the lid. Consult your grill manual and follow their specific startup instructions before putting your chicken on the grates.
  • Beef Rub is the best. Plain and simple. I am biased, though, because this is my own special blend of seasonings that is the best salt and pepper-based rub around. If you don’t have any Beef Rub on hand, this recipe also works great with simple salt and pepper. I would avoid any rub with sugar in it, as it would likely burn before the chicken finishes cooking.

0-400 chicken thighs on a white serving platter.

More Smoked Chicken Recipes

Looking for more ways to cook up chicken on the smoker? These are some of our most delicious smoked chicken recipes on the site. Check them out below.

0-400 Chicken Recipe

Follow the video below and let’s make something delicious! I’m all about helping you make better BBQ, feed the people you love, and become a BBQ hero. If you want to see more of my recipes, tips, and behind-the-scenes action, follow along on my social channels. You can find me on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube!

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0-400 Chicken

By: Susie Bulloch
5 from 2 votes
0-400 chicken thighs are an interesting, new way to smoke chicken thighs. The process is unlike anything else you've tried before, and the result is a golden, juicy chicken thigh that everyone will love.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time1 hour
Total Time1 hour 10 minutes
Servings6 people




  • Season the chicken. Pat chicken dry and season with Hey Grill Hey Beef Rub or equal parts salt and pepper.
  • Place chicken on smoker. Place chicken directly on the grates of a pellet smoker and close the lid.
  • Turn on smoker. Start the pellet smoker with the setting at 400 degrees F.
  • Smoke. Cook the chicken thighs for approximately 1 hour, or until they reach 175 degrees F internal temperature.
  • Enjoy. Remove the chicken from the grill and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving!


Calories: 331kcal | Carbohydrates: 0.4g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 148mg | Sodium: 1279mg | Potassium: 310mg | Vitamin A: 118IU | Calcium: 13mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Like this? Leave a comment below!



Susie is the BBQ Brain behind the Hey Grill Hey website. Her passion for smoked meats and developing fun, new recipes have landed her on the Food Network, cooking turkeys with Shaq, and on a couple of Guinness World Records. When she’s not grilling, she is hanging out with Todd and their three kids, preferably outdoors!

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Recipe Rating

Reader Reviews

8 Reviews

  1. John Kukawsky says:

    Can I do this method on drumsticks?

    1. Hey Grill Hey says:


  2. Steve H. says:

    Tried this on my Camp Chef Woodwind pellet smoker. Turned out great! Only took 40 minutes!

  3. DZ says:

    These were the BEST thing I’ve cooked on my smoker. 10/10

  4. Seth says:

    Is there a reason you used your Beef Rub over your Chicken Rub?Also, would it help to cook a little longer to 185ish?

  5. delta2255 says:

    I know you said bone in bone out is fine either way, but what if I wanted to go skinless?? In other words, is the skin a key component for a less dry result or it’s just personal preference?

  6. Susan says:

    Are the thighs bone in or boneless?

    1. Hey Grill Hey says:

      Either will work fine!