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smoked chicken thighs

How To Make Kick Ass Smoked Chicken Thighs

  • Author: Brian Blair
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • 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. Once you’ve had Competition Style Smoked Chicken Thighs, all other BBQ Chicken recipes will pale in comparison!


  • 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

Brine Recipe:

  • 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.


  1. Oil your grill grates with canola oil so your chicken won’t stick to the grates.
  2. Prepare a grill for direct and indirect grilling with the direct side getting hot enough to sear the chicken briefly.
  3. Pat the chicken dry after removing it from the brine. Now, sprinkle your thighs generously with BBQ rub.
  4. 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).
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Serve with your favorite sides! I always pair this with my favorite slaw- I love this with my Charleston style coleslaw recipe.


Affiliate links have been used. I only recommend product I use and endorse!

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Brine Time (4 hours to overnight):
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Category: Dinner, BBQ Chicken
  • Method: Grill, smoke
  • Cuisine: American, American BBQ, BBQ, Barbecue

Keywords: smoked chicken thighs, competition style smoked chicken thighs

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