Smoked Chicken Thighs: The Greatest Recipe We’ve Tried

Try the best smoked BBQ chicken thighs recipe we've ever come across. We'll guide you through the whole process, including rub preparation.
Jeremy Bivens
Jeremy Bivens
Research Writer
Jeremy Bivens is a passionate writer and grilling enthusiast. He's been working as a freelance journalist for over 15 years now and has a particular interest in food writing read more
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Bruce Williams
Bruce Williams
Expert Consultant
Claims that grilling is the art that he has been learning all his life long and is not planning to stop. Has been grilling for as long as he can remember. Author of numerous read more
Last updated: August 20, 2023
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Chicken thigh is one of the meatiest and delicious parts of the chicken. While some enjoy it boiled, some like it fried, and others prefer it smoked Trusted Source Barbecue chicken - Wikipedia Barbecue chicken consists of chicken parts or entire chickens that are barbecued, grilled or smoked. There are many global and regional preparation techniques and cooking styles. Barbecue chicken is often seasoned or coated in a spice rub, barbecue sauce, or both. . Smoking your chicken thighs is a nice way to enjoy delicious meat. Smoked chicken thighs boast a unique flavor that you can only get from smoking.

Although smoking chicken thighs is not a complicated process, you still need to understand the necessary steps you must take to end up with a tasty and delicious dish. Thankfully, this article provides step-by-step instructions to help you learn how to smoke chicken thighs.

Besides those instructions, this article contains every other information you need to cook the best smoked chicken thighs. Ride along with us as we delve into the world of smoked chicken thighs.

Smoked BBQ chicken thighs recipe

You don’t have to be a professional chef to go for this recipe. It’s one you can easily make in your backyard with your preferred smoker. Apart from boasting amazing home-style flavor, this smoked BBQ chicken thighs recipe is easy to make.

Moreover, you can use any reliable recipe rub to season your smoked chicken thighs. The Traeger Chicken Rub is one of such thanks to its sweet and savory flavors that combine perfectly with chicken thighs. This rub contains notes of black pepper, onion, citrus, and paprika.

You can even make your smoked chicken thighs more delicious by slathering in the awesome Jay D’s Louisiana Barbecue Sauce with unique spicy and sweet notes containing traditional Louisiana flavors.

Below, we will discuss the ingredients, instructions, and nutrition involved in Traeger smoked chicken thighs:


    • Two pounds boneless chicken thighs
    • Two Tablespoons of Traeger Chicken Rub
    • ½ cup of Jay D’s Louisiana Barbecue Sauce


The instructions for smoking your boneless chicken thighs are quite straightforward and easy to understand. We will outline them below:

Step 1: The first thing you do when you want to smoke your chicken thighs is fire up your favorite smoker. Preheat the smoker to around 275° F.

Step 2: Next, prep your chicken for cooking. Roll the chicken thighs tightly into equal pieces. Then, use olive oil to drizzle on each of the sides. This action helps to keep the chicken moist during smoking.

Step 3: It’s now time to season the chicken thighs. Grab your Traeger rub and season the chicken on all sides, so that the seasoning can cover the entire thighs.

Step 4: Put the chicken thighs on your smoker with the skin side facing up. Shut the lid and cook the chicken until its internal temperature reads 165° F. You need a reliable meat thermometer to get the correct measurement here. Depending on the size of your chicken thighs, cooking can take about 45 to 75 minutes to attain the target temperature.

Smoked Chicken Thighs: The Greatest Recipe We've TriedStep 5: Baste with the Jay D’s Louisiana Barbecue Sauce. Moreover, you can use any BBQ sauce with a flavor you like.

Step 6: Smoke the chicken more and continue until the thighs attain a temperature of 170° F – 175° F.

Step 7: Once you notice that your chicken is looking great and at the right temperature, you can remove the thighs from the smoker. Let the thighs rest for about five to ten minutes. You can then serve your smoked boneless chicken thighs hot.


  • Calories: 484kcal
  • Protein: 32g
  • Carbohydrates: 15g
  • Fat: 32g
  • Saturated Fat: 9g
  • Sodium: 516mg |
  • Cholesterol: 189mg
  • Potassium: 478mg
  • Sugar: 12g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Vitamin A: 230IU
  • Vitamin C: 1mg
  • Iron: 2mg
  • Calcium: 27mg

Great rub recipe

Rub recipe is a significant part of smoking chicken thighs. Rub for smoked chicken thighs adds more flavor to the meat. There are different smoked chicken thighs recipes with different flavors. The recipe’s spices determine their flavor. Below, we will discuss the process of making a great rub recipe.

Smoked Chicken Thighs: The Greatest Recipe We've TriedTotal time: 5 minutes

Yield: 1 cup


  • 1/4 cup of paprika
  • Three tablespoons of ground black pepper
  • Three tablespoons of onion powder
  • Three tablespoons of granulated garlic
  • Two tablespoons of dried thyme leaves
  • Two tablespoons of dried oregano
  • Two teaspoons coriander
  • One tablespoon kosher salt
  • One teaspoon cayenne pepper


Step 1: Pour all of the spices into a glass jar and gently shake to mix them. Your rub recipe is now ready.

Step 2: Store the recipe in an airtight container. It can last up to two years.

How long do you smoke chicken thighs?

“How long to smoke chicken thighs?” is a common question on the lips of people who are new to smoking the meat. Averagely, chicken thighs take about 45 minutes to 75 minutes to fully cook on a smoker at 275° F. You should have an internal meat thermometer available. Smoke your chicken thighs until they attain an internal temperature of 170° F – 175° F.

Overall, the consistency of the heat of your smoker and the thickness of your chicken legs determine the length of time your chicken thighs take to fully cook. We strongly advise that you don’t cook to time; only cook to temperature.

What wood to choose to smoke chicken thighs?

After acquiring best pellet smoker, the next concern is usually the best wood to fuel it. The type of wood you choose will determine the flavor of your smoked chicken legs and thighs. Essentially, different woods boast different flavors, although an old traditional wood will likely not have any convincing flavor. Below, we will dissect best woods you can choose from to smoke chicken thighs.

Smoked Chicken Thighs: The Greatest Recipe We've Tried1.      Hickory

Hickory is one of the most trusted woods for barbeque thanks to its nutty flavor that complements chicken and several types of meat. It doesn’t just fuel the smoker, it also makes your meat more delicious.

If you are new to barbeque smoking, hickory is a nice starter wood to help you smoke your chicken thighs. It’s available almost everywhere. If you don’t want bitter smoke caked on your chicken, you shouldn’t use too much of the wood to smoke your chicken thighs.

We advise that you start by using only one or two chunks. If you end up undershooting the flavor, add a little extra the next time. Essentially, it’s better to undershoot the flavor than use too much of it..

2.      Applewood

Applewood is another reliable wood type for smoking chicken thighs. It boasts a fruity and subtly sweet flavor that is a bit softer than few other fruit-based smoking kinds of wood.

Some professional chefs may consider the subtle taste too delicate. But for a home recipe, you can enjoy the fruity flavor of applewood in your chicken BBQ.

3.      Maplewood

Although maplewood is mostly known to be ideal for pork, it works just fine for chicken. Contrary to what you might have thought, this wood is not thick or sickly in taste, it combines well with smoked chicken thighs.

Besides, maple is a popular choice among BBQ lovers who prefer a sweeter and stronger taste than applewood, but do not fancy a flavor quite as heavy or rich as cherry or pecan. Additionally, this wood adds a sweet and light aroma to chicken thighs that doesn’t overpower the meat’s natural flavors.

4.      Cherrywood

As we hinted earlier, cherrywood is a fruit-based smoking wood that boasts a strong and sweet flavor. This wood paints chicken a beautiful color that you won’t get from other fruit-based smoking woods. Cooking your chicken thighs over cherrywood will give them a beautiful red finish.

Moreover, cherry is even more delicious when mixed with heavier and deeper types of hardwood.

5.      Pecan

Pecan is the smoking wood you go for if you want a richer flavor. Apart from its strong flavor, this wood also boasts unique nutty aromas. While it is popular with turkey, it’s also great with chicken.

We advise that you don’t mix pecan with other woods because its pronounced flavor is enough for your chicken thighs. If you mix it with a wood like hickory, your meat may end up with an unpleasant taste.

Today, you have a variety of smokers to choose from. You can decide not to go for a pellet smoker though and instead go for an electric smoker or a vertical smoker. And if a smoker`s size really matters for you, check best small electric smokers. Best electric smoker under 200 is an excellent budgetary option too, With an electrical smoker, you don’t need to stick around, looking for the ideal meat temperature, the equipment will work the magic itself. Also, a high-quality vertical smoker will cook your chicken thighs slowly and also help them retain their natural juices.

Final Thoughts

Smoked chicken thighs require a lot of processes to get done. As you now know, you need to get the ingredients and recipe right to enjoy the goodness of smoked chicken thighs. Also, you need a high-quality smoker to achieve the best results.

By using the right wood, you can enjoy a unique flavor in your smoker chicken meal. There are different types of woods to choose from, just go for any that you find satisfying. Finally, if you want to enjoy your smoked chicken thighs, go for the right rub, sauces, & wood and ensure that you cook to the right temperature.


Barbecue chicken - Wikipedia
Barbecue chicken consists of chicken parts or entire chickens that are barbecued, grilled or smoked. There are many global and regional preparation techniques and cooking styles. Barbecue chicken is often seasoned or coated in a spice rub, barbecue sauce, or both. 

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