Smoked Chicken Thighs

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 a meat smoker or grill-smoked in your gas or charcoal 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.

Smoked Chicken Brine

  • 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:

  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper (optional)

Smoking Chicken Thighs

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 to 1-1/2 hours. Dark meat is done at 180°F, but with thighs, it's ok to cook them higher. When these are done, the meat will fall easily off the bone.

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


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