Smoked Chicken Thighs

September 18, 2019

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!

smoked chicken thighs on a wood board with green herbs behind

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.

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 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. Check out this post from Christie (she used my Chicken Seasoning during a competition smoke and WON!) You can buy this same seasoning from Patio Provisions and make your own crazy-good chicken thighs anytime, anywhere.

seasoned chicken thighs on a smoker

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 Signature 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 pit masters 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 or 2-pound refillable bag, Patio Provisions will deliver this amazing rub straight to your door.

How to Smoke Chicken Thighs

Here’s how you do it:

  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 Signature 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 Patio Provisions, or you can make your own using this recipe. You can also use your favorite BBQ sauce and play around with different flavors.
  6. Smoke some more. 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!

smoked chicken thighs on a wooden board with green herbs behind

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.

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 Breast
Smoked Chicken with Kansas City BBQ Sauce
Whole Smoked Chicken

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

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!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time : 10 mins
Cook Time : 1 hr
Total Time : 1 hr 10 mins
Servings : 4
Calories : 484kcal



  • Preheat your smoker to 275 degrees F.
  • Prep your 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 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).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Remove from the grill, allow to rest for 5-10 minutes, serve, and enjoy!


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
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24 thoughts on “Smoked Chicken Thighs

  1. One question; you keep saying “your smoker” What if you have a charcoal gril, like a rectangular box on wheels with a hinged lid & butterfly vents, 1 on each end of the lid and 1on each end of the bottom box?

    1. You can set your charcoal grill up for indirect grilling or two zone cooking, and even throw on some wood chunks to use it as a smoker! To set it up place all the charcoal on one side and the food you’re cooking on the other.

    1. Personally, I just take them out of the smoker about 10 degrees early and throw them skin-side down on the grill for a little bit, to crisp up the skin and finish bringing the chicken to temp.

  2. Made these last night on the grill with indirect heat. It was a welcome change to our usual grilled chicken. Used your sugar free BBQ sauce. Amazing thanks.

  3. Hey guys! Quick question..wanna smoke some thighs and breasts together in my traeger today for my crew at the fire station..I saw the breasts were at 275 and the thighs were 225…could I do the temp around 250?

  4. Hi Susie, I recently discovered the amazingness of smoked BBQ and bought an electric smoker to try my hand at cooking some delicious foods. I tried out this recipe yesterday as I’m totally a beginner and it turned out great in the end! My only question is that for whatever reason, my smoker took 3 hours to get 2 drumsticks and 2 thighs to an internal temp of 175F while the smoker temp was consistently 275-300F. I have a bluetooth meat thermometer which I use to track meat and smoker temp throughout my cook and even verified it with a instant read thermometer to make sure my temps weren’t off. Any thoughts on if there’s something I’m missing or is this just normal variation?

    1. Have you verified the accuracy of your thermometers? Also, every piece of meat is different and will cook different. It’s always good practice to plan for some variation in the cook and give yourself some extra time!

  5. These were amazing, the rub and sauce. Now you said they weren’t competition thighs but mine sure looked it.
    Thank you and another dish of your l use often is jacked up smoked meatloaf. My family loves it and I give you credit 90% of the time. Other times I pat myself on the back.

  6. Outstanding and you may say not competition but my wife and I would disagree. Beautiful thighs and so tasty but as good as they were your jacked up meatloaf is one I use often. I honestly give Hey Grill Hey credit 90% of the time, the other 10% I give myself a hearty pat on the back.

  7. This is a wonderful recipe! I made the rub and the whiskey peach BBQ sauce. The chicken was a hit and everyone used a little extra sauce. I really never cared for sweet, red BBQ sauce but this sauce is just amazing! Everyone loved it. Thank you!

  8. I just loved this recipe. Made it on an electric smoker w/hickory chips. I never used BBQ sauce IN the smoker before…..that was a mistake! I love smoking the chicken with the rub and then adding the BBQ sauce to finish. Delicious! To crisp the skin, I slip the cooked chicken under the broiler for a few minutes.

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