Tasty Smoked Chicken Thighs Recipe

You can't go wrong with smoked chicken thighs. The dark chicken meat tastes great, and is very forgiving if overcooked. This recipe can be cooked in your meat smoker or grill-smoked in your gas or charcoal grill.

These Chicken Thighs Were Grill Smoked In My Propane Grill

Smoked with the skin on, the thighs end up crispy on the outside, and nice and juicy on the inside. Trim the excess fat and skin from the thighs, then brine them. This recipe makes enough brine for 3 to 4 pounds of chicken.

As an alternative you can remove the skin from the thighs before brining. And if you're not afraid of a little more effort, remove the bones. Be sure to reduce the brining time a bit if the skin and bone is removed from the thighs.

Smoked Chicken Brine Recipe

  • 1/2 gallon water
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons Worceshershire sauce



Follow the brine making and chicken brining directions on the brining chicken page.

Season the thighs lightly with this blend of dry seasonings before they hit the smoker. Combine:

  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper (optional)

You'll notice that this chicken dry rub recipe contains no salt. The thighs get plenty of salt flavor from the brine, so using a salt-free chicken rub is recommended.


Raw Chicken Thighs, Skin and Bones Removed For Quicker Cooking

Smoked Chicken Thighs Can Be Cooked In the Smoker or In The Grill

Since the thighs have the skin left on them, smoke them at between 275-300°F. Preheat your smoker or grill and add the chicken. Add the smoke wood. Fruit wood complements chicken. Apple, pear or cherry work well. Use a tennis ball size chunk, or about a cup of chips wrapped in foil. Water soak the wood first.

Smoke the chicken thighs for 1-1/2 to 2 hours, or until the meat reaches 180°F. And with thighs, it's ok to cook them to a higher temperature. The dark meat is very forgiving. When these babies are done, the meat will fall easily off the bone. The thigh meat is also great when shredded, mixed with bbq sauce and piled high between the top and bottom of a bun.

Serve with coleslaw, potato salad, baked beans and your favorite beverages. Barbecue sauce is optional.