Smoked BBQ Chicken Thighs featured image
Smoked BBQ Chicken Thighs are easy to make using a simple low and slow method. Tender, juicy meat with sticky, crispy skin, these chicken pieces are perfect for serving to guests at any party or gathering.
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Table of Contents
  1. BBQ Smoked Chicken Thighs smoked
  2. Why We Love This BBQ chicken Thighs Recipe
  3. Ingredients
  4. Substitutions and Additions
  5. Recommended Tools
  6. How to Smoke chicken thighs
  7. Tip From Our Recipe Developer
  8. Storage
  9. Frequently Asked Questions
  10. Other Easy Chicken Recipes
  11. Smoked BBQ Chicken Thighs Recipe

Our Smoked Chicken Thighs recipe begins in your own backyard with your pellet grill, simply seasoned with salt and pepper and smothered in a sticky BBQ sauce.

Perfectly tender and juicy every time, it takes 10 minutes to prepare your chicken and then let your smoker cook low and slow.

Smoked BBQ Chicken Thighs hero image

BBQ Smoked Chicken Thighs smoked

You will love smoked chicken thighs for their ease and delicious smoky flavor, especially because this simple recipe only requires 4 ingredients plus chicken.

It starts with a simple dry rub (or spice rub) to season the chicken skin, then the smoked chicken pieces are placed on the pellet grill and brushed with a barbecue glaze at the end of cooking.

Just like competition smoked chicken thighs, I prefer to use dark meat over white because smoked chicken legs and thighs have more flavor and are just juicier than chicken breasts.

Moist on the inside with a crispy, caramelized outer sticky skin, it couldn’t be easier to smoke chicken thighs tonight and enjoy leftovers for later.

Why We Love This BBQ chicken Thighs Recipe

  • Quick and easy to prepare in 10 minutes.
  • Only uses 4 ingredients plus chicken.
  • Moist, flavorful, tender meat can be made on any kind of smoker.
  • A brush of your favorite barbecue sauce makes this meal savory, sweet, and sticky.
  • It’s fun to eat with your fingers; no fork and knife are needed but a napkin is necessary!
  • Chicken thighs are tastier and less expensive than chicken breasts.
  • Leftovers are perfect for meal prep, lunches, or for quick meals throughout the week.
  • Delicious dinner that your friends and family will devour.

Delicious Side Dish Recipes

Smoked BBQ Chicken Thighs

Ingredients

  • Bone-in skin-on chicken thighs
  • BBQ sauce
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Coarse salt
  • Coarse black pepper

Substitutions and Additions

  • Choose Your Chicken: This recipe can work for chicken wings and legs as well as boneless chicken thighs. Just be sure they are whole chicken wings and not just the sections. The cooking time can vary, but the process is essentially the same. Your chicken will be done when the internal temperature reaches 185 degrees.
  • Some Smoke Ideas: Some great options for the smoke wood are pecan, applewood, or hickory. This recipe used pecan wood and they were so smoky and tasty.
  • Add Some Seasoning: Feel free to make your own brine or dry rub instead of using a simple salt and pepper seasoning. You can add brown sugar to your favorite spice rub for a sweet taste or add some chili pepper flakes or cayenne pepper to the spice rub for a bit of heat.
  • Smoker
  • Meat Thermometer
  • Mixing bowl
  • Measuring tools
  • Whisk
  • Brush
  • Tongs
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How to Smoke chicken thighs

This easy BBQ Smoked Chicken thighs recipe makes the best meal in your own backyard with your smoker! These simple steps will have your serving perfectly juicy, flavorful chicken pieces at any get-together or special celebration.

  1. Prepare The Protein: Generously season both sides of the chicken thighs and let the pieces smoke for 1 hour. Increase the temperature and let the chicken smoke for another hour, or until the internal temperature of the chicken hits 185 degrees.
  2. Smother In Sauce: Mix together the bbq sauce and apple cider vinegar and then coat the cooked chicken in the glaze. Place the pieces back on the smoker for another 30 minutes, or until the glaze is tacky.
    Pro Tip: You are just looking for a thinner sauce consistency for easy glazing.
  3. Serve: Let the chicken rest for about ten minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Tip From Our Recipe Developer

  • When it comes to the sauce, you can use anything you want. Just be sure it has a thinner consistency so it glazes nicely. If you use a thin BBQ sauce, then you can skip the vinegar.
  • If you wish, you can peel the skin back on the thighs and apply the seasonings directly to the meat. This makes the preparation a little longer, but the results are worth it! 
  • I used a pellet smoker for this recipe, but any type of smoker is just fine as long as you control the temperature and get those thighs to the 185 degrees mark, internally.
  • Resting the chicken for at least 10 minutes is essential to keeping the meat moist and flavorful. If you fork into it right from the grill, you will lose the juiciness.

Storage

  • To Store: Store your cooked and cooled leftover chicken thighs in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
stacked grilled chicken thigh

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use skinless chicken thighs for this recipe?

I do not recommend using skinless chicken thighs for this recipe. The fat from the skin helps keep the chicken moist and adds so much flavor. Plus, when you cover and cook it with sauce at the end, you create a crackly, sticky skin that tastes delicious.

How long do you smoke chicken thighs?

The time it takes to smoke chicken thighs will vary depending on how big your chicken pieces are. These chicken thighs are smoked at 225 degrees Fahrenheit for the first hour and then 300 degrees Fahrenheit for the second hour and a half. Your chicken is done when the internal temperature reaches 185 degrees.

Is it possible to overcook my chicken on the smoker?

Yes, it is very easy to overcook and dry out chicken on the smoker! I prefer to use bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs for this reason because they retain moisture better than the skinless thighs. To avoid overcooking your meat, make sure to use a meat thermometer and remove the chicken as soon as it reaches the correct internal temperature.

What can I make with my leftover chicken meat?

I love making a big batch of smoked BBQ chicken and eating leftovers throughout the week. It is easy to pull the meat off the bone and stuff it in sandwiches or taco shells, add it to salads, mix it in burrito bowls, or use it in your main meals that call for pulled or shredded chicken.

top view grilled chicken thigh

Other Easy Chicken Recipes

5 from 1 vote
Smoked BBQ Chicken Thighs featured image

Smoked BBQ Chicken Thighs

Serves — 10
Smoked BBQ Chicken Thighs are easy to make using a simple low and slow method. Tender, juicy meat with sticky, crispy skin, these chicken pieces are perfect for serving to guests at any party or gathering.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs 30 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 40 mins

Ingredients
  

  • 10 Bone-In Skin-On Chicken Thighs
  • 1 cup BBQ Sauce
  • cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Coarse Salt
  • Coarse Black Pepper

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the smoker to 225 degrees.
  • Salt and pepper both sides of the chicken thighs. Do not be shy with the seasoning.
  • Place your chicken on the smoker and let them smoke for 1 hour.
  • While the chicken smokes, mix the bbq sauce and apple cider vinegar. You are just looking for a thinner sauce consistency for easy glazing.
  • After the first hour of smoking, bump the temp up to 300 degrees and let the chicken smoke for another hour, or until the internal temperature of the chicken hits 185 degrees.
  • Once the chicken has finished cooking, dunk them in the glaze and cover them entirely. Then place them back on the smoker for another half hour, or until the glaze is nice and tacky.
  • Remove the chicken from the smoker. Let the chicken rest for about ten minutes and enjoy!

Jenn’s Notes

Storage :
  • To Store: Store your cooked and cooled leftover chicken thighs in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Tips:
  • When it comes to the sauce, you can use anything you want. Just be sure it has a thinner consistency so it glazes nicely. If you use a thin BBQ sauce, then you can skip the vinegar.
  • If you wish, you can peel the skin back on the thighs and apply the seasonings directly to the meat. This makes the preparation a little longer, but the results are worth it! 
  • I used a pellet smoker for this recipe, but any type of smoker is just fine as long as you control the temperature and get those thighs to the 185 degrees mark, internally.
  • Resting the the chicken for at least 10 minutes is essential to keeping the meat moist and flavorful. If you fork into it right from the grill, you will lose the juiciness.

Nutrition Info

Calories: 367kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 142mg | Sodium: 406mg | Potassium: 368mg | Fiber: 0.3g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 177IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 22mg | Iron: 1mg
Jennifer Fishkind

About Jenn

Jenn is a mom to three beautiful boys, wife to an amazing husband, social influencer and blogger. I love all things easy recipes, easy crafts, all things hacks, traveling EVERYWHERE and feeding my Pinterest addiction!

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