Smoked Chicken Thighs are juicy, delicious, and easy to make! Smoked to perfection, these chicken thighs are full of flavor and you’ll want 2nds and 3rds!
What type of meat is chicken thighs?
Chicken thighs are dark meat. Since they are part of the leg, the meat is more tough and contains tendons because the muscle was one that worked more than others (like the breast).
Although they can be more tough because they are a more worked muscle there is a lot of potential for the thighs to be juicier and turn out to be more tender because they are higher in fat.
When cooked properly chicken thighs are some of the tastiest parts of the chicken!
What you need for this recipe?
- Chicken Thighs- boneless skinless or bone in with skin
- Olive Oil
- Dry Rub- Garlic Powder, Chipotle Powder, Paprika, Onion Powder, Salt, Pepper, Red Pepper Flakes.
- If you have a favorite dry rub use that instead!
I highly recommend a good smoke thermometer. I use this one (it’s called Smoke) from Thermoworks, it’s easy to use and really reliable.
How to smoke chicken thighs?
- Mix together your dry rub
- Pat chicken thighs dry.
- Cover chicken thighs with oil then sprinkle with dry rub.
- Smoke at 225°F until cooked through- typically 2 hours.
What internal temperature are chicken thighs done?
All chicken is safe to eat at 165°F. However, chicken thighs are best when brought to an internal temperature of 170-175°F because this helps break down the tendons for a very delicious and tender cut of chicken.
Some people even bring the temperature up to 195°F for maximum collagen break down. Don’t go above 210°F though, as it causes the meat to get stringy.
How to get crispy skin on smoked chicken thighs?
This is a highly debated topic and truly I haven’t found a perfect crispy chicken skin without frying it. That being said the best way I’ve found to get somewhat crispy skin is to let the chicken sit on a cutting board overnight in the refrigerator.
This lets the skin get nice and dry, then add a little oil and seasoning.
When the internal temperature reaches 125°F increase the smoker temperature to 400°F. The higher temperature will finish off cooking the thighs and crisp the skin.
What temperature for smoked chicken thighs?
I recommend smoking chicken thighs at 225°F.
How long to smoke chicken thighs?
Depending on the size/thickness of the chicken thighs and how steady your smoker can hold temperature will determine how long the chicken thighs take to smoke.
Typically, thighs will be done within 1 to 1.5 hours. Remember to cook to an internal temperature of 170-175°F and not just to time.
Should you brine chicken thighs?
I find that it isn’t necessary with chicken thighs. If I have the time I might, using my recipe for brining leg quarters, but these always turn out so tender without, I typically don’t bother.
Let’s talk chicken really quick.
Good Ranchers sent me a whole chicken box to try and I used it for this recipe (along with some extra bone in chicken thighs in the freezer) and these tasty chicken lollipops. It is amazing quality and seriously so much better than store bought.
They source all their meat from US ranchers in order to support the ranching community, and for every box sold they donate meals to a shelter.
If you want to try their meat you can get it here. Make sure to use the code JOY on check out for an extra $30 off your purchase.
Smoked Chicken Thighs
- 6-8 Chicken Thighs boneless skinless or bone in with skin
- 3 tbs olive oil
- 1 tbs garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon chipotle powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Preheat smoker to 225°F. High smoke if that is an option.
- Mix all dry rub ingredients together in a bowl and set aside.1 tbs garlic powder, 1 teaspoon chipotle powder, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon pepper, 1 teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Pat chicken thighs dry.6-8 Chicken Thighs
- Pour olive oil over chicken then sprinkle with the dry rub mixture.3 tbs olive oil
- Once your smoker is at temperature, smoke the thighs until they reach an internal temperature of 175°F, typically 1.5 hours.
- *Dry Rub: If you have a favorite rub use that instead of making one.
- *Crispy Skin: The best way I’ve found to get crispy skin is to let the chicken sit on a cutting board overnight in the refrigerator. This lets the skin get nice and dry, then add a little oil and seasoning. Then smoke and when the chicken reaches 125°F internal temperature, increase the temperature of the smoker to 400°F and cook until the internal temperature reaches 175°F.
You can also remove the chicken from the smoker at 125°F and cook in the oven to finish them off. Just preheat the oven to 400°F and cook until it reaches an internal temperature of 175°F.