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"What's Life" Tender, juicy smoked chicken thighs

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One of my favorite recipes to prepare is smoked chicken thighs rubbed with a dope spice mix, slowed smoked on the grill, then grilled for tender thunder thighs with crispy skin.

I'm definitely a thighs guy. They're way more fun and have so much more flavor. Plus they are much harder to overcook compared to white meat pieces.

These are seasoned inside and out, and the smoke just adds more depth and complexity to the flavor.

smoked chicken thighs in a white bowl with onions and okra

Beats and Eats (music to pair with smoked chicken)

Ingredients Needed To Make Smoked Chicken Thighs

  • Chicken Thighs
  • Paprika
  • Allspice
  • Kosher Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Garlic Powder

How To Smoke Chicken Thighs (step by step)

Step 1 - Mix the spices together in a small bowl to create your rub.

Step 2 - Season the chicken on both sides. Additionally, pinch the skin and pull it away from the meat partially without detaching. Rub some of the spice mix below the skin.

Step 3 - Prepare your smoker for indirect cooking. Using a combination of lump coal and wood chunks heat the grill to about 225 degrees F. Place the chicken thighs skin-side up off-heat and smoke with the lid closed for about 1 ½ hours or the chicken has reached 160 degrees internally. Remove chicken and set aside.

Step 4 - Increase heat of smoker to about 400 degrees F. Place the chicken back on the grill directly over the heat and cook for about 5 minutes until chicken skin is crisp. Remove the chicken and serve.

smoked chicken thighs on a grill

Considerations and Tips for Smoking Chicken Thighs

Go with bone-in skin-on chicken thighs. They are more flavorful and stand-up better to longer cook times

Smoked chicken should be cooked indirectly meaning the chicken is placed opposite the heat source vs directly over the fire. This allows for slower cooking which means more smoke flavor and completely cooked chicken.

For crispy skin finish the chicken skin side down over direct heat.

Serve smoked chicken with stewed okra, collard greens slaw, and baked beans. Check out my full list of 27 of the best bbq sides for a more comprehensive list of options.

smoked chicken thighs in a white bowl with onions and okra

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Smoking Chicken

Can you use other pieces besides chicken thighs?

You can definitely take a similar approach to other pieces of chicken, but you'll have to vary the cooking time to fit the particular pieces. For breasts and wings your cooking time will be dramatically shorter.

What type of wood do you recommend using to smoke the chicken?

I typically recommend the woods that are plentiful in your area so you're not working to find a particular wood. For me pecan and oak are readily available. Most woods are a good fit with chicken. Hickory is great and mesquite works, but I prefer not to use it for smoking. It has such a strong flavor that if you're slow smoking it can be a bit too much.

Mesquite is perfect for grilling, but I'd be hesitant for smoking. If you're unsure of the difference between smoking and grilling for this discussion just know the smoking is longer time cooked indirectly vs. grilling which is shorter direct high heat cooking

What temperature do you smoke the chicken at?

I try to stay at 225 degrees F for smoking chicken. 250 degrees is the high-end max, but adjust your time for the higher temps.

How Long Do You Smoke the Chicken?

At 225 degrees you're going to fall somewhere between 75 - 90 minutes depending on your ability to maintain a steady temperature as well as the size of the chicken thighs.

For similar recipes, try these:

Smoked Jamaican Jerk Chicken

Smoked and Fried Chicken Thighs

Grilled Piri Piri Chicken

Easy Blackened Chicken

Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken

smoked chicken thighs in a white bowl with onions and okra

Crispy Smoked Chicken Thighs

Juicy and tender chicken thighs seasoned with signature homemade rub and slow smoked over wood for delicious main dish option on the grill.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: BBQ
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 255kcal
Author: Marwin Brown

Ingredients

  • 4 Chicken Thighs bone-in and skin-on
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Allspice
  • 2 teaspoons Smoked Paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Black Pepper

Instructions

  • Mix the spices together in a small bowl to create your rub.
  • Season the chicken on both sides. Additionally, pinch the skin and pull it away from the meat partially without detaching. Rub some of the spice mix below the skin.
  • Prepare your smoker for indirect cooking. Using a combination of lump coal and wood chunks heat the grill to about 225 degrees F. Place the chicken thighs skin-side up off-heat and smoke with the lid closed for about 1 ½ hours or the chicken has reached 160 degrees internally. Remove chicken and set aside.
  • Increase heat of smoker to about 400 degrees F. Place the chicken back on the grill directly over the heat and cook for about 5 minutes until chicken skin is crisp. Remove the chicken and serve.

Notes

Go with bone-in skin-on chicken thighs. They are more flavorful and stand-up better to longer cook times
Smoked chicken should be cooked indirectly meaning the chicken is placed opposite the heat source vs directly over the fire. This allows for slower cooking which means more smoke flavor and completely cooked chicken.
For crispy skin finish the chicken skin side down over direct heat.
Serve smoked chicken with stewed okra, collard greens slaw, and baked beans.

Nutrition

Calories: 255kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 111mg | Sodium: 670mg | Potassium: 275mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 586IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 18mg | Iron: 1mg
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Recipe Rating




Marie

Sunday 13th of March 2022

A friend of mine has a smoker and so I forwarded this recipe to her las week. This was the only excuse we needed to get together and enjoy this delicious dish over the weekend! The thighs were so juicy and flavorful. We were lucky enough to have a bit leftover and so we sliced everything up and enjoyed delicious sandwiches the next day!

Silvia

Sunday 13th of March 2022

These smoked chicken thighs look so delicious and I love the mix of spices. Unfortunately I don't own a smoker, can I use my grill?

Jacqueline Debono

Sunday 13th of March 2022

We don't have a smoker but I'm dying to get one. This smoked chicken thighs recipe looks so good!

Dennis Littley

Saturday 12th of March 2022

I made these chicken thighs for dinner and my family absolutely loved them! thanks for a great recipe

Kayla DiMaggio

Saturday 12th of March 2022

Yum! These smoked chicken thighs were so delicious!