If you’re looking for the best-smoked chicken thighs, look no further. Smoking the perfectly seasoned slow-cooked chicken thighs yields tender, juicy, dark meat that your whole family will love. And with just a few minutes of prep, it’s one of the easiest chicken recipes you’ll ever make!
My simple recipe for smoked chicken thighs couldn’t be easier. And the spices can be adjusted to use the seasonings you and your family enjoy eating.
You control the flavor, and the low temperature of your smoker does the rest. When it comes to good barbecue, low and slow makes the most tender, flavorful meats. You can smoke a whole chicken, chicken wings, chicken legs, or quarters with this recipe.
Wouldn’t you like to enjoy delicious chicken that you smoked right in your own backyard? You don’t have to be a pitmaster to create this kind of deliciousness!
My easy-to-make recipe will elevate your grill game and have your friends and family standing on their chairs applauding your culinary skills.
Ingredients to make Smoked Chicken Thighs
Let’s start by gathering the ingredients we need to make smoked chicken thighs recipe. In Chef Speak, this is called the “Mise en Place,” which translates to “Everything in its Place.”
Not only does setting up your ingredients ahead of time speed up the cooking process, it also helps ensure you have everything you need to make the dish.
Made with simple ingredients
- bone-in chicken thighs
- kosher salt
- smoked paprika
- garlic powder
- onion powder
- black pepper
- cayenne pepper (optional)
Can I use other spices in my dry rub?
Yes, you can. The key to making delicious smoked chicken that you and your family will love is to use seasonings that you enjoy eating. Changing up the spices in this simple dry rub is easy and definitely something you can do each time you prepare smoked chicken.
Other seasonings you could add to your spice rub are cumin, chili powder, dry oregano, ground ginger, turmeric, and coriander. You can also use your favorite seasoning blend.
Cajun seasoning, jerk seasoning, barbecue seasoning, and Old Bay seasoning can be used instead of making your own dry rub. You can also add brown sugar to the seasonings to make a sweet rub.
For heat, cayenne pepper is usually the best way to kick up the flavor of your smoked chicken legs. But be careful because a little can go a long way.
How to make smoked chicken thighs
Add your favorite wood chips or wood chunks to the smoker and preheat the smoker temperature to 250 degrees F. I used cherry wood for this dish.
- Add the seasonings to a small bowl.
- Mix seasonings thoroughly to combine fully.
- Pat the skin of the chicken thighs dry with a paper towel.
- Spread the chicken rub generously over the chicken, making sure to season all sides of the thighs for a well-balanced flavor.
For maximum flavor, let the seasoned chicken set for 30 minutes to give the seasonings time to penetrate the chicken and marinate it with the flavors. This also gives the chicken time to come to room temperature prior to putting it in the smoker.
*This step gives the rub time to soak into the skin and meat, but if you’re in a hurry, it can be skipped.
- Place the seasoned chicken in a shallow foil pan and place the pan on a smoker rack in the preheated smoker.
- Cook the chicken thighs for 2 hours or until an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees is reached. *Alternatively, you can place the chicken directly on the wire rack in the electric smoker, placing a drip pan on the rack below the chicken to catch the drippings and excess fat.
*Use a digital meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh to make sure the internal temperature of the smoked chicken thighs is at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Tips and Information About Smoking Chicken Thighs:
- Smoking chicken at a lower temperature adds a rich smoke flavor to the chicken while keeping it moist and juicy inside. Chicken thighs are my favorite chicken part to smoke. The tender, juicy dark meat is even more delicious when you add a little smokey flavor to the meat.
- Using indirect heat, you can make this recipe on a pellet smoker or on your gas grill.
- The smoking process adds a lot of great flavor to the meat, but you can’t beat a good barbecue sauce. Using your favorite BBQ sauce and adding a few ingredients allows you to create your own signature bbq sauce, elevating the smoked chicken thighs to a whole new level of deliciousness.
- Use a basting brush to coat the smoked thighs with the BBQ sauce and serve with your favorite side dishes.
Wouldn’t you love to sit down to these delicious smoked chicken thighs?
Save any leftover chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. It can also be frozen for up to 3 months.
I love the ThermoPro wireless meat thermometers. The easy to use app makes it easy to track the temperatures of the meats and seafood your cooking.
You get a great variety of wood chips with this starter pack. You get one bag of apple, cheery, mesquite, and hickory wood chips in each variety pack.
Place the chicken skin side up in the smoker. Smoke the chicken at 250 degrees F. for about 2 hours or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit
No, you want the skin side of the thighs facing up during the entire smoking process. As the chicken cooks, the fat in the skin will seep into the meat, adding flavor, and it will also help keep it from drying out.
The easiest way to get crispy chicken skin is to place the thighs under the broiler in your oven until they get the desired crispness. Just make sure to watch them so they don’t burn.
No, you don’t need to wrap the chicken thighs in foil when smoking. While wrapping in foil can keep some of the juices in, you could lose some of the smoky flavor.