This simple smoked chicken thighs recipe with crispy skin is the best excuse to fire up your pellet grill or other smoker. Make this smoked chicken entree tonight with only four ingredients. Season, Smoke, Sear and Serve these grilled chicken thighs to perfection. These thighs are high on the list of my favorite smoked chicken recipes.
Why Crispy Smoked Chicken Thighs Rock!
Tips + Tricks
- If you are using a meat probe, be sure to insert it far into the middle of your chicken thigh to measure internal temperature of the meat and avoid the bone. I prefer my chicken thighs cooked to an internal temperature of 175°F… they are safe to consume once the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees f so feel free to cook them to any point past that.
- Tuck any loose pieces of meat underneath the chicken thighs before cooking them on your pellet grill to ensure that no pieces are burned.
- Use a grill mat to transfer all of your thighs on and off of the grill grates for easy cleanup or set them directly on the grill grates. I use these mats in many other recipes including goose jerky, chicken lollipops, smoked pig shots, and smoked shotgun shells.
- Leave the chicken thighs marinade with the olive oil and rub for 1-24 hours to enhance the flavor.
Key Ingredients + Equipment
Chicken Thighs (Skin-on, Bone-in)- I bought budget-friendly family pack of thighs with nine thighs. Choose a size that works best for your needs. If you are choosing boneless chicken thighs, they will take considerably less time to smoke. Use the internal temperature as a guide and follow all other instructions as
Olive Oil-I love to use olive oil for most of my smoking recipes. Use your favorite high-temperature cooking oil.
Chicken Rub– Choose your favorite chicken rub for the thighs. If you have a few extra minutes to spare, consider whipping up this simple Smoked Chicken Rub Recipe. If you are pressed for time, Traeger’s Pork and Poultry dry rub is a great choice.
BBQ Sauce– I used Traeger’s Texas Spicy barbecue sauce… it gave these chicken thighs the perfect kick of heat. Use your favorite barbecue sauce recipe.
Best Wood Pellets for Smoking Chicken Thighs
BEST TYPE OF WOOD PELLETS FOR TRAEGER WINGS:
When smoking any kind of poultry, apple, cherry, maple, and pecan flavours are mild and enhance the chicken rather than overpower it. Competition blend pellets are also a great choice for smoked chicken thighs.
Exactly How To Make Crispy Smoked Chicken Thighs
Optional first step: Brine your chicken thighs before grilling them. Brining meat adds flavor from the inside out. In the brining process, the salt denatures meat’s proteins, softening muscle fiber and allowing tons of flavor and moisture to flow into the chicken thighs! Check out this Simple Chicken Brine Recipe.
Step 1. Preheat your Traeger or other pellet grill to 275°F.
Step 2. SEASON Brush your chicken thighs with olive oil and sprinkle the poultry rub liberally onto each thigh. Arrange them on a grill mat and transfer them to your smoker or place chicken onto the grill grate.
Step 3. SMOKE Smoke for 45-60 minutes before checking the internal temperature of the thighs. Once it reads 165°F, remove them temporarily, brush with bbq sauce, and set aside.
Step 4. SEAR Turn the smoker up to 425°F. Once it reaches the proper temperature, replace the chicken and cook for another 15 minutes. This extra step allows the fat in the chicken skin to render and crisp up properly, allowing you to achieve crispy skin rather than rubbery and tough skin. At this point, the thighs should be at 175°F, if they aren’t, continue to cook until they come up to temp.
Step 5. SERVE Let the thighs rest for 10 minutes and serve with your favorite smoked asparagus or other side.
Batch + Storage
This recipe uses a “family pack” of bone-in chicken thighs. My package had 9 thighs, you may have one or two more or less depending on the size.
Store the grilled chicken thighs in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days or in the freezer for up to 6 months. If freezing, consider vacuum sealing.
Salt + Pepper Smoked Chicken Thighs- Prepare chicken thighs as directed but replace the seasoning with salt and pepper and instead of brushing on sauce toward the end of the cooking process, sprinkle on a bit of extra salt and pepper to suit your preferences.
Buffalo Chicken Smoked Thighs- Prepare and season as directed but replace your favorite barbecue sauce with buffalo wing sauce toward the end of the grilling process. Serve with extra buffalo sauce and ranch on the side.
Garlic and Parmesan Smoked Chicken Thighs- Prepare and season as directed but instead of basting with barbecue sauce, brush on this simple garlic and parmesan wing sauce before and toward the end of the grilling process. Sprinkle with fresh parmesan to serve.
Crispy Smoked Chicken Thighs FAQ
This all depends on the size of your raw chicken thighs. Budget for 60-85 minutes in total for delicious smoked chicken. Be sure to use a meat thermometer to make sure that it reaches 170-175°F.
No need to rinse your raw chicken before smoking it. Cook according to directions and your chicken should be safe for consumption.
No, the thighs should cook evenly in the smoker with proper airflow around the grill grates. If you flip skin-on chicken thighs, the skin may tear off- not ideal!
Printable Crispy Pellet Grill Chicken Thighs Recipe
- 2 pounds bone-in, skin on chicken thighs
- 3 tablespoons barbecue chicken rub
- 1/2 cup barbecue sauce
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Preheat your Traeger or other pellet grill to 275°F.
- SEASON: Make sure that your chicken thighs are tightly tucked to ensure there are no thin pieces sticking out to get charred. Lightly brush with olive oil or your preferred cooking oil and cover the chicken thighs in two tablespoons of your favorite barbecue chicken rub.
- SMOKE: Smoke for 45-60 minutes before checking the internal temperature of the thighs. Once it reads 165°F, remove them temporarily, brush with bbq sauce, and set aside.
- SEAR: Turn the smoker up to 425°F. Once it reaches the proper temperature, replace the chicken and cook for another 15 minutes. This extra step allows the fat in the chicken skin to render and crisp up properly, allowing you to achieve crispy skin rather than rubbery and tough skin. At this point, the thighs should be at 175°F, if they aren’t, continue to cook until they come up to temp.
- SERVE: Let the thighs rest for 10 minutes and serve with your favorite smoked asparagus or other side.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 140Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 60mgSodium: 239mgCarbohydrates: 6gFiber: 0gSugar: 5gProtein: 12g