Smoked Chicken Thighs

14 reviews

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These smoked chicken thighs are a great way to enjoy delicious chicken smoked in your own backyard. Seasoned with my signature sweet rub, smoked to perfection, then slathered in whiskey peach BBQ sauce, these chicken thighs can’t be beat!

Six smoked chicken thighs on a large wooden cutting board with text overlay - Smoked Chicken Thighs.

Best Smoked Chicken Thighs

Maybe I’m partial, but I kinda think these are some of the best-smoked chicken thighs you can make in your own backyard. They’re easy to smoke, have great flavor, and make the perfect weekday dinner.

A quick note to my expert smokers: These are not competition-style chicken thighs. This is a simple recipe you can make at home on your preferred smoker. It has an awesome home-style flavor, and best of all, these chicken thighs are easy to make.

If you’re feeling ambitious and are ready for more of a challenge when smoking your chicken, you can learn more about smoking competition-style chicken thighs from a good friend of mine. She used my Chicken Rub during a competition smoke and WON! You can buy this same seasoning from the Hey Grill Hey Store and make your own crazy-good chicken thighs anytime, anywhere.

Seasoned chicken thighs on a large baking pan.

Rub for Smoked Chicken Thighs

When deciding what rub to use on these smoked chicken thighs, it really wasn’t much of a competition. Chicken thighs taste completely amazing when seasoned with sweet rub prior to smoking. If you’ve been around here for a while, you probably know all about my Sweet Rub. It’s the perfect combination of sweet from the brown sugar, savory from the 6 other spices (including smoked paprika), with just a subtle kick from the cayenne pepper.

Many pitmasters take their signature rubs to their grave, but I’m more than willing to share my recipe for sweet rub. It’s too good to keep to myself; I want everyone to be able to use it to feel like a backyard BBQ hero and smoke the best food of their life. To read more about my sweet rub and make your own, head on over to my post here. If you’d like your own shaker bottle delivered to your door, order from the Hey Grill Hey Store.

seasoned chicken thighs on a smoker.

How to Smoke Chicken Thighs

Here’s how to smoke some perfectly juicy chicken thighs.

  1. Fire up your smoker. Preheat your favorite smoker to 275 degrees F. I don’t recommend smoking skin-on chicken at a lower temperature or you can end up with rubbery skin.
  2. Prep your chicken. Trim off any excess skin or extra thin chicken around the edges of the bone. Roll the chicken tightly into uniform pieces. Drizzle on all sides with olive oil. This helps keep the skin moist during smoking and also helps with the next step…
  3. Season. Grab some sweet rub and get seasoning! You can either purchase my Sweet Rub online, or make it from scratch using this recipe. Season the chicken on all sides to completely cover the thighs.
  4. Smoke! Place the chicken on your smoker skin side up. Close the lid. Cook the thighs until the internal temperature (make sure you’re using a reliable meat thermometer) reads 165 degrees F. Depending on how big your chicken thighs are, it can take anywhere from 45 to 75 minutes to reach this target temperature.
  5. Baste. Baste with Whiskey Peach BBQ Sauce (much like my Sweet Rub, you can buy this pre-made from the Hey Grill Hey Store, or you can make your own using this recipe. You can also use your favorite BBQ sauce and play around with different flavors.
  6. Finish smoking. Continue to smoke the chicken until the thighs reach a temperature of 170-175 degrees F.
  7. Remove, rest, serve, and enjoy! Once your chicken is looking good and at the right temp, remove them from the smoker. Rest the thighs for 5-10 minutes, then serve hot (with extra BBQ sauce and napkins), and enjoy!

How Long to Smoke Chicken Thighs

Chicken thighs take anywhere from 45 minutes to 1 hour 15 minutes to fully cook on a smoker set to 275 degrees F. Keep an internal meat thermometer handy and continue to smoke until your chicken thighs reach an internal temperature of 170-175 degrees F.

The length of time it takes for your chicken thighs to fully cook will likely depend on how consistent the heat of your smoker is and how thick your chicken legs are. Be patient, and remember to cook to temperature, not to time.

Smoked chicken thigh on a wooden cutting board.

More Smoked Chicken Recipes

I LOVE smoking chicken. Aside from chicken thighs, Hey Grill Hey has a handful of smoked chicken recipes for you to make and enjoy:

Smoked Chicken Thighs Recipe

Follow the recipe 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 InstagramFacebook, and YouTube!

Smoked Chicken Thighs

By: Susie Bulloch (heygrillhey.com)
4.93 from 14 votes
These smoked chicken thighs are a great way to enjoy delicious chicken smoked in your own backyard. Seasoned with my signature sweet rub, smoked to perfection, then slathered in whiskey peach BBQ sauce, these chicken thighs can't be beat!
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time1 hour
Total Time1 hour 10 minutes
Servings4 people

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Ingredients
 

Instructions
 

  • Preheat. Preheat your smoker to 275 degrees F.
  • Prep the chicken thighs. Trim off any excess skin or extra thin chicken around the edges of the bone. Roll the chicken tightly into uniform pieces.
  • Season. Season on all sides with the sweet rub (you don't need to use the entire 2 Tablespoons as specified in the ingredients, simply use enough to completely cover the chicken).
  • Smoke. Place the chicken on the smoker skin side up. Close the lid, and cook until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. This will take anywhere from 45 minutes to 1 hour 15 minutes depending on how big your chicken thighs are.
  • Sauce. Baste with the Whiskey Peach BBQ Sauce (or your favorite BBQ sauce) until the internal temperature measured with a meat thermometer reaches 170-175 degrees F.
  • Rest and enjoy. Remove from the grill, allow to rest for 5-10 minutes, serve, and dig in!

Nutrition

Calories: 484kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 189mg | Sodium: 516mg | Potassium: 478mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 230IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 27mg | Iron: 2mg

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

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About

FOUNDER/BBQ BOSS LADY

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

54 Reviews

  1. John Blanchard says:

    Just tried this as my first time smoking anything, and it turned out so good! The recipe and instructions were easy to follow, can’t wait to try smoking some more meats soon.

  2. KC says:

    This is a fantastic recipe my wife enjoyed it so much I had to make more!

  3. Robert Scheer says:

    Seasoning a new pellet grill using this recipe. Olive oil with “Rub Some Chicken” bastiong with Raspberry Barbecue sauce. Excellent flavor, very tender and no rubbery btexture.

  4. T. SantaClaus Layton says:

    I am always looking for new stuff to try on my 2 smokers, I enjoy your site and how you present what you are doing so I keep coming back. I have noticed a few things that I want to ask you about. I do a lot of smoking at my home and love trying out new rubs and sauces. I do my chicken either just thighs or whole spatchcocked at 325 for 30 min then drop the temp to about 250 until I get to temp. I have been having good results this way. I have recently come across some recipes that say not to smoke Chicken for more than 2 hours as the chicken gets too much smoke. Question #1, Do you notice chicken getting too smokey based on your method? I use a dry rub in two ways, first I put the dry rub on the chicken then when its time to put sauce on the bird I add some of the dry rub to my homemade BBQ Sauce. I noticed you mentioned seasoning the bird and putting it on the grill grate to smoke it. Question #2, do you let the bird sit with the seasoning if so how long? I dry rub my bird in the morning, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 6 hours pull it out and sit for about 30 min before putting on the smoker. Back in 1978-1980 when I went to my first school and did my apprenticeship to be a Chef Smoking was not what it is today. over my career I have gone back to school 2 other times to strengthen my skills and knowledge as the industry was changing. So it’s only been over the last 10 years or so that I have taken up Smoking. Thanks for your time.

    1. Hey Grill Hey says:

      Great questions! This recipe smokes in 45-60 minutes and I find a good amount of smoky flavor without being overpowering. I throw these right on the smoker after seasoning, but you could definitely let them marinade for a few hours no problem.

  5. R. Kostynick says:

    I followed your recipe to a T for a few smoke sessions now and the thighs are OUTSTANDING! Juicy, flavorful and addicting! The neighbors are like cats now and I can’t get rid of them when they see me roll the smoker out. It’s not such a bad problem to have when they bring the beer! Thank you 🙂

  6. Gregory Bowman says:

    Hello Grill Girl,
    I have been a HUGE fan for years and have used your rubs and sauces for awhile now. I am A huge fan of hot and cold smoked salmon having been born and raised in Alaska. I want to make some of your Maple orange smoked salmon but, I need to know if I am supposed to rinse after the wet brining before the pellicle step. I have only dry brined and you always rinse the fish first before the pellicle stage.

    Thanks in advance

    1. Hey Grill Hey says:

      You can rinse, but it isn’t necessary. It will make the salmon a touch less salty if you rinse, so keep that in mind.

    2. Bob Koughn says:

      Do you turn the chicken at all? New to this.

      1. KC says:

        No need to turn them. I am making my second batch this week! Outstanding recipe!