Smoked Chicken Thighs


Smoked Chicken Thighs

This recipe will walk you through the step-by-step process of how you can make the absolute best smoked chicken thighs right in your own backyard.

You don’t need very many ingredients, and only a few minutes of hands-on time in order to make this tasty dinner.

Check out the step-by-step instructions as well as the walk-through video of how you can make this amazing meal! 

smoked chicken thigh on the grill

Best Smoked Chicken Thighs

We are so excited to share our delicious recipe for smoked chicken thighs with you. Making smoked chicken thighs doesn’t have to be difficult, in fact, it’s quite easy to do.

We think that this recipe can compete with any restaurant chicken, and is just plain all-around delicious. We are excited for you to give this recipe a try in hopes that it is your new favorite smoked chicken thigh recipe! 

Reasons We Love These Thighs

There are so many reasons to love this smoked chicken thigh recipe. To begin with, it’s easy to make, anyone can do it. Second, it tastes amazing. And third, this recipe makes chicken that is so good it tastes as if it can melt in your mouth. 

Why Smoke Chicken Thighs?

Smoking chicken thighs is a very easy way to make a delicious chicken dinner. Smoking the chicken adds a hint of smoky flavor to your chicken, that is otherwise hard to obtain. Smoked chicken is all-around delicious. 

Now, let’s look at what you need in order to make this tasty recipe, followed by steps that you can take to make this delicious smoked chicken thigh recipe yourself. 

Smoked Chicken Thighs Ingredients 

4 pieces bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs



Garlic Salt

Dry Rub

Olive oil


Seasoning salt

Garlic and Herb seasoning

How to Brine Chicken Thighs

To begin, brine your chicken thighs. To do this you will prepare your chicken thighs by removing any extra skin or fat from your chicken thighs and then add them to a large bowl. Cover in water and add garlic salt. Refrigerate for one hour. 

Please note, this step can be optional. Sometimes, I skip the brine and move right into seasoning the chicken thighs and smoking them.

smoked chicken thigh close up

Rub for Smoked Chicken Thighs

When you remove your chicken thighs from the fridge, after they have sat in your brine for an hour, you can begin preparing them to smoke.

To do this, remove them from the water, and gently cover them in olive oil. Be sure to pull the skin away from the edges of it that will get slightly underneath the skin as well as on top.

Sprinkle your chicken thighs with paprika, seasoning salt, and garlic and herb seasoning, working it under the skin and on top. Roll the skin securely around your thighs, now they are ready to smoke. 

How to Smoke Chicken Thighs

Preheat your smoker to 275°F

Once preheated, gently place your prepared chicken thighs on your smoker skin side down. Insert a meat probe into the biggest chicken thigh and close your smoker. Smoke for approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 175°F. 

Please note that we recommend the internal temperature reaches 175°F for best results, however, the internal temperature must reach at least 165°F for your chicken to be safe to eat.

Then, when the internal temperature is reached, you can flip the chicken thighs over and smoke for an additional 10 or 15 minutes on the remaining side. Then remove from your grill and allow it to rest then serve, enjoy! 

How Long to Smoke Chicken Thighs

The amount of time it takes for your chicken thighs to smoke may vary. You can count on at least 45 minutes of cook time, however, it is likely to take longer to reach the specified internal temperature. 

What is the internal temperature of chicken thighs?

Smoked chicken thighs must reach an internal temperature of 165°F before you can eat them. However, for best results, we recommend smoking your chicken thighs until they reach the internal temperature of 175°F. 

Other Tips + Tricks

Wood Pellets

The type of wood pellets that you use can impact the taste of your smoked chicken thighs. For best results, it’s a good idea to use mild wood, such as Cherry, Apple or Maple. You can experiment with different types and see which you prefer the best. 

Internal Temp

The internal temperature of your smoked chicken thighs must reach 165°F before you remove them from the grill. We recommend smoking chicken thighs until they reach an internal temperature of 175°F for the best overall flavor.

Skin Side Down

Smoking your chicken thighs skin side down for the majority of your smoke time allows your thighs to turn out juicier than they otherwise would. The skin acts as a protector to keep the juices inside rather than all of them dripping out.

Type of Chicken to Use

My personal preference is to use bone-in chicken thighs with skin. This way you can keep them nice and juicy inside, without burning the outside. You may use other types of chicken thighs if needed, but this is my preferred type of chicken to use.

What Temperature to Smoke Chicken Thighs

The best temperature to smoke chicken thighs at is 275 degrees Fahrenheit. This way the chicken can cook low and slow, giving them the best smokey flavor.

How Long to Smoke Bone-In Chicken Thighs

You will likely need to allow approximately one hour to smoke the bone-in chicken thighs so that they are thoroughly cooked. Please keep in mind the estimated cooking time may vary depending on the size of your chicken thighs, as well as the outdoor temperature because smoking outside is impacted by the weather conditions.

Do you need to Flip Chicken Thighs when smoking?

It is best to only flip the chicken thighs once when you are smoking them. Place them on the smoker skin side down to smoke for most of the time, turning them over for the last few minutes.

What to serve with smoked chicken thighs


Room Temp. Smoked chicken thighs may not remain at room temperature any longer than two hours. If your temperature is between 40°F and 90°F your chicken needs to be refrigerated within two hours, however, if your room temperature is 90°F or above, your chicken needs to be refrigerated within one hour. 

Fridge. Once your chicken thighs have been smoked; any leftovers may be refrigerated. To refrigerate, transfer them to an airtight container then place them in your fridge at 40°F or below and store them for up to three days

Freezer. Any leftovers that you wish to keep for a longer amount of time may be frozen. Transfer your smoked chicken thighs into a freezer plastic bag, seal it securely, and place it into the freezer at 0°F or below. Smoked chicken thighs will last up to two months when stored in the freezer. 

smoked chicken thigh side view


BBQ Glazed Smoked Chicken Thighs

The most common variation for smoked chicken thighs is to make them into a barbecue glazed smoked chicken thigh. To do this, you will simply want to follow the above instructions, then during the last 10 to 15 minutes of smoking, you can add a delightful barbecue sauce to the skin side of your chicken thighs, whether homemade or store-bought . 

Continue smoking for a few more minutes so that the barbecue starts to caramelize. Then, remove the smoked chicken thighs with barbecue sauce from the smoker, and allow them to rest for a few minutes before serving.

Helpful Items For This Recipe

Tools You Need



Grilling Tongs

Pellets or Woodchips

Serving Platter

The smoker I use

The smoker that I use is an electric pellet smoker, Weber name brand. So far, I have been very happy using the smoker, and have made some amazingly delicious meals with it. 

smoked chicken thigh close up on plate


How long does it take to smoke chicken thighs?

Typically, it takes at least 45 minutes to smoke chicken thighs, but may take longer depending on the size of your chicken thighs, the kind of smoker you are using, and even the outside temperature at your location. Do you want to smoke your chicken thighs until they reach an internal temperature of approximately 175°F. 

How to get crispy skin on smoked chicken thighs?

To get crispy skin on smoked chicken thighs, be sure that you smoke your chicken thighs skin side down for the majority of the time, also drizzle the skin with a light coating of olive oil to help make it crispy. Then, simply smoke your chicken thighs low and slow. 

What type of wood should I use for smoking chicken thighs?

You can use your favorite type of wood for smoking chicken, however, the best options are usually mild woods such as cherry, oak, or apple.

Should I remove skin from chicken thighs before smoking?

No, for our smoked chicken thighs recipe you’ll want to leave the skin intact during smoking. If there is an excessive amount of skin you can trim some of the back, but the skin helps provide a layer of protection that keeps the moisture in your chicken and makes it turn out amazing. 

Do I need to flip chicken thighs when smoking?

We recommend flipping your chicken thighs only once while they are smoking. You don’t want to turn them too much, as that tends to dry them out.

How do you keep chicken moist when smoking?

A recipe for smoked chicken thighs is naturally more moist than normal recipes. Brining your chicken before you smoke it allows it to soak up extra moisture. Then, smoking them the skin side down also helps protect your chicken thighs from drying out. 

How long to smoke chicken thighs at 225 degrees?

Typically, it takes approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour and 15 minutes to smoke chicken thighs at 225°F. However, it’s a good idea to allow extra time, as the cook time may vary. You will want to be sure the internal temperature of your chicken reaches at least 175°F before you remove it from the smoker. 

What internal temperature should smoked chicken thighs be cooked to?

Smoked chicken thighs must reach 165°F internal temperature before they are safe to eat. For best results, we recommend smoking chicken thighs until they reach an internal temperature of 175°F. 

Can I use boneless chicken thighs instead of bone-in?

Boneless chicken thighs may be used for this recipe, however, we recommend using thighs with bone-in and skin-on for the best smoked chicken thighs. 

smoked chicken thigh plated

Can I smoke frozen chicken thighs?

It is best to only smoke chicken thighs that have been thawed. This is because when you smoke meat, it’s not at very high temperatures. So you may have trouble with the chicken being in the “danger zone” temperature for too long, and it could ultimately make you sick.

How can I get crispier skin on smoked chicken thighs?

The best way to get crispier skin on your smoked chicken thighs is to smoke your chicken with the skin side down. Then if your chicken is done, but your skin still isn’t as crispy as you want, crank up your smoker temperature for a few minutes to help the skin get a little more crispy.

How long does it take to smoke chicken thighs?

In most cases, it will take between 45 minutes to 1 hour and 15 minutes to fully cook your smoked chicken thighs.

Should I brine chicken thighs before smoking?

It is recommended that you brine chicken thighs before smoking them, however, it is not required. There have been times when I have skipped this step, and they still turn out to be delicious.

How do I store leftover smoked chicken thighs?

The best way to store leftover chicken thighs is in a plastic storage bag or sealed in an air-tight container. Place the sealed chicken thighs in the fridge for up to three days.

Delicious Smoked Chicken Thighs

Smoked chicken thighs are an easy and extremely delicious dinner recipe. Give this tasty yet economical recipe a try today! It’s so good you do not want to miss out on this one!

Time to eat these Smoked Chicken Thighs!

Be sure to subscribe to sign up to have kitchen tips and recipes delivered straight to your inbox!

    For more posts like this one, follow us on PinterestFacebookInstagram and YouTube.

    More Smoked Chicken Recipes

    Smoked Chicken Thighs Recipe

    Love this recipe? Tell your friends!

    smoked chicken thighs _pinterest
    Photo of author
    Faith Has been cooking and baking for many years! she loves to share her recipes with the world, and hopes you will enjoy them too!

    Leave a Comment

    Recipe Rating