Smoked Chicken Thighs

I have been smoking all sorts of meats for years. But for some reason, chicken thighs never made it onto my list of things to smoke. I was jonesin’ for a BBQ chicken sandwich.

Now normally, I’d smoke a boneless chicken breast that I had brined (to keep it moist and tender) and shred or chop it. But since I’ve been on a chicken thigh kick lately, and had a freezer full of thighs from the last time they went on sale, I decided on smoked chicken thighs. And boy I could not have been happier.
Smoked Chicken Thighs
After just a few hours these smoked chicken thighs were done. Super juicy and tender, I knew I was in for a treat. It didn’t take long to remove the skin and separate the meat from the bones. Smoked thigh meat is perfect on BBQ sandwiches or nachos or pizzas.

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Smoked Chicken Thighs

Prep Time3 hrs 15 mins
Cook Time2 hrs
Total Time5 hrs 15 mins
Course: Main
Cuisine: American
Author: Mike


  • 5 pound bone in skin on chicken thighs

For the brine

  • 1/2 gallon water
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup Louisiana hot sauce

For the rub

  • Prepared yellow mustard
  • Your favorite BBQ rub I used my basic BBQ rub


  • Trim any excess fat from the thighs. Place them in a large (large enough to hold the chicken and brine) resealable container.
  • Add the brine. Stir gently to make sure the chicken is all exposed to the brine. Seal and refrigerate for 3 hours.
  • Remove the chicken from the brine (discard) and rinse with cold water. Return the chicken to the (now dry) container.
  • Squirt the thighs with the mustard, turning to get all sides. Rub the mustard around and cover the thicken.
  • Sprinkle the chicken with the rub, making you sure you get it on all sides.
  • Fire up your smoker for cooking at 230 F. Use a nice fruit wood such as hickory. For a stronger smoke flavor use hickory.
  • Add the chicken to the smoker and smoke until the internal temperature reaches 170 F, 2 to 2 1/12 hours.
  • Remove the chicken. Discard the skin. Pull the meat from the bones and chop or shred as desired.

For the brine

  • Combine all ingredients. Stir until the salt and sugar are dissolved.