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Smoked Chicken Thighs Complete Guide to Juicy Chicken

Written by George Arthur


As we know winter is the time of BBQ and when the BBQ season is finally here, you can spend it well enjoying smoked chicken thighs. How are chicken lovers supposed to get the most of it?

Grilling or smoking can bring you delicious and juicy chicken thighs, and you will definitely love it. Chicken is easily available in any local grocery store, and you can make sweetening and sour rub from ingredients already at home. Grilling chicken thighs is such a homier recipe, no complexities at all. All you got to do is marinate chicken in a homemade rub for some time, and when you smoke it in your favorite smoker. You can also try some challenging smoking recipes if you think you have the gall.

Who does not want to enjoy BBQ in the backyard with delicious chicken thighs, chilled coke, and awesome weather? This situation sounds like a perfect family date. 

Ingredients You Need For Smoking

Smoking chicken thighs requires some tools and ingredients. The necessary tools and ingredients you need are:

  • Nesting glass bowls
  • Measuring Spoons
  • Thermometer
  • Cutting board
  • Chicken thighs – bone-in and skin-on is preference.
  • Balsamic Vinegar – for caramelizing and sweetening the marinade
  • Worcestershire – for infusing an umami vinegar flavor
  • Honey – for balancing the taste and caramelizing crust.
  • Dijon Mustard – do not forget the beauty of mustard!
  • Lemon juice & zest – a little citrus juice makes it perfect
  • Minced garlic – no BBQ food tastes good without the amazing aroma of garlic
  • Red pepper flakes – for adding the real spice
  • Salt + Pepper – nobody likes it tasteless

How To Make The Best-Smoked Chicken?

Preparing smoked chicken thighs is no chemistry. Here is how you can prepare this food.

  1. Preheat The Smoker: Preheat the smoker at 275 degrees Fahrenheit. Smoking on-skin chicken thigh at a lower temperature than 275 degrees Fahrenheit can cause rubbery skin.
  2. Prepare The Rub: Take a shallow bowl and mix all the ingredients for rubbing in a bowl well. Set aside the mixture.
  3. Season The Thighs: Before marinating the chicken thighs, season it with black pepper and salt. Massage it well under the skin and over the top for amplified flavor.
  4. Marinate It: Take a baking dish or a casserole dish. Place the chicken on it and put the marinade over it. Rub the marinade on the chicken well. Make sure you cover the chicken thigh up and down. Do not leave any side or pieces go free. Set this aside. Keep this in the refrigerator for overnight or 6 hours. If you are in a hurry, you can smoke it early but, still, you need to keep the marinated chicken in the refrigerator for 3 hours at a minimum.
  5. Smoke The Chicken: Get the marinated chicken thighs from the refrigerator and throw the marinate mixture from the casserole dish, keeping only the chicken thighs. Place the chicken in the smoker keeping the skin side up for 45 minutes to 75 minutes. Keeps a check on the internal temperature using a reliable thermometer. When the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit, flip the side over, and wait for another 1 to 1.5 hours. Get the smoked chicken thighs out of the smoker. Enjoy the meal!

Required Temperature With Time

Some necessary things need to consider like how long chicken thighs will take time to smoke on a smoker set or grill. It takes approximately 1 to 2 hours to fully cook at 275 degrees F. But, this thing depends on two factors such as the size of the thighs thickness and how cold the chicken thighs are.

Always use an internal meat temperature or meat thermometer whenever you cook chicken thighs. Keep it in your hand for testing and insert it into the thickest part of the thigh to know until your chicken thighs are completely cooked and reached 165 degrees F internal temperature. You should keep in mind to cook at an internal temperature, but not to time.

Tips For Getting Crispy and Spicy Smoky Chicken Thighs

Some tips and tricks are here. You should try and use them to get the best crunchy and crispy chicken thighs.

  • You can serve them with the rub as a seasoning, but if you add a little bit of BBQ sauce, this sauce will enhance their taste and make them moisturize.
  • Try to use bone-in or skin-on chicken thighs. 
  • Always use an electric probe thermometer to check the internal progress of the chicken thighs, which helps to make them crispier.
  • Remove its packing and lets it dry with paper towels.
  • Keep it in fresh air or keep it out from the fridge overnight.
  • Before a few hours of cooked chicken thighs, use cornstarch or baking powder.

Which Type of Wood would be best to use for Smoking Chicken Thighs?

Choosing the best wood for smoking chicken thighs would go well that depends on your taste. There are a lot of great fruit tree options available that give a mild and sweet flavor to your chicken thighs. All these wood types like apple wood, cherry wood, oak wood, maple wood, and hickory wood are excellent choices and do work well at indoor or outdoor barbecue parties. Furthermore, these fruit-tree woods prepare your crispy and more delicious smoked chicken thighs or wings at 275 degrees F.

Hickory: This one is perfect for those who don’t like more sweetness taste. You can get this type of wood from anywhere. One of its good things is that it does not come as hardwood as other fruit-tree woods, such as mesquite.

Applewood: It is the most useful, best wood chip type, and different in subtly, mellower taste from other wood types.

Cherrywood: One of its good quality is this wood provides color to your chicken thighs like a pretty deep red finishing after some hours of cooking. If you use it with hickory wood, it will enhance a touch of extra smokiness to your chicken.

Do you want to know more information related to best wood types? For this, check out another article Best Wood For Smoking Ribs

About the author

George Arthur

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