My Dad is the smoked Chicken thigh master and this is his recipe and methodology. Once you’ve had these smoked chicken thighs, it makes other types of chicken pale in comparison. First of all, the thigh is an extra juicy cut of meat- it’s surprising that so many people rely on dry chicken breasts when the thigh is really where the flavor is! And they are a great price at the grocery store! Ever wonder why everyone uses Chicken Thighs at BBQ competitions- because they are the best tasting!
How To Make Kick Ass Smoked Chicken Thighs
- Yield: Serves 4: (2 thighs each) 1x
This is a relatively simple recipe that can be achieved on any grill that has enough surface area to create direct and indirect zones.
- 8 chicken thighs
- Brine (see recipe below)
- BBQ Sauce of your choice – 1 cup or so
- Brine Recipe: (this is enough for one large chicken so you can half the recipe if you like).
- BBQ Rub (you can use my recipe here if you don't have your own)
- Fruit wood- apple, cherry, etc
- Hickory wood
- 1 gallon warm water
- ¾ cup kosher salt
- 2/3 cup sugar
- ¾ cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup olive oil
Before Grilling Directions
Mix your brine ingredients in a large container and let your thighs sit in the brine for 4 hours in the refrigerator or longer before putting on the smoker.
- Oil your grill grates with canola oil so your chicken won’t stick to the grates.
- Prepare a grill for direct and indirect grilling with the direct side getting hot enough to sear the chicken briefly.
- Pat the chicken dry after removing it from the brine. Now, sprinkle your thighs generously with BBQ rub.
- With the lid off, sear the chicken thighs quickly on the direct side- just until you start to get some coloration or char marks (a few minutes per side).
- Now, gently put the thighs on the indirect side. Add your wood to the coals. At this point, put the lid on the grill and close the vents to a small crack. You want to get your grill temp down to 250 degrees. If you have a BBQ thermometer with dual thermometers such as the Thermoworks Smoke with a coupler for the grill grate– now is the time to use it. You want to ensure that the actual grates are at this temp. My dad uses a candy thermometer and sticks it into the vents of his weber kettle to accomplish this. Do what works best for you.
- The chicken should smoke for 45-50 minutes or until the internal temp reads 165 degrees with an internal read thermometer such as the Thermapen (I love my thermapen!). If you're curious about what internal temp any protein you're cooking should reach, check out our BBQ Calculator! During the last 5 minutes, apply a coat of your favorite bbq sauce with a brush and it will form a nice golden glaze while on the grill in the last 5 minutes.
- Once you’ve reached the proper internal temp of 165 degrees, take the chicken off the grill and let it rest tented under foil for 10 minutes.
- Serve with your favorite sides! I always pair this with my favorite slaw- I love this with my Charleston style coleslaw recipe.
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Did you enjoy these smoked chicken thighs? Check out these related posts! And don't forget to leave me a comment below on how your cook turned out!
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Interesting technique… I’ve never tried searing chicken first, then slow cooking. Does the skin end up crispy in the end? Thanks for the ideas!
Hi Keegan, it isn’t super crispy but enough bite through- make sure to oil your grill grates well though!
Will this work on a smoker? Or only Grill?
would definitely work on a smoker, you just wouldn’t have to create the zones. You might not be able to get the sear but that’s okay it would still come out okay.
Can I finish the thighs in an oven with broil mode to achieve a crispy skin?
I have used my smoker with this recipe! I just seared on my gas grill before placing in my smoker! It was perfect!
I just wanted to say that this is the only recipe I use and everyone loves the chicken!!
So happy to hear Misty! 🙂
Glad it turned out!
Is it possible to over-brine. I was going to do mine about 20 hrs vs the 4 you mentioned cause I needed to do it the night before cause I have work the following day and guests are coming over right after work
you would run the risk of it being too salty!!
Yes! but keep in mind the sugar in the sauce easily burns so watch it!