I have to say that I have become quite addicted to smoking bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs on my Weber Smokey Mountain smoker. They’re crazy easy and a lot more forgiving than say brisket or pork butt. And when they’re on sale they’re a tremendous bargain. I can fill my freezer with delicious pulled, chopped or shredded smoked chicken for darned near nothing. This right here is my go-to method for awesome smoked chicken thighs. You can use boneless and/or skinless but the bones and skin keep them moist and add tons of flavor. I pull the meat away and just chop it for whatever I want, be it sandwiches, nachos, backed potatoes…
I do not sauce my thighs while I’m smoking them. Since I’m not sure exactly how I’ll use the meat I keep it ‘dry’. You can always add sauce later, but you can’t un-sauce it. Well, not easily that’s for sure!
If you prefer your chicken thighs cooked over charcoal, try my grilled sweet-n-spicy chicken thighs.
Awesome Smoked Chicken Thighs
Note: Smoked skin-on thighs will not have a crispy skin because of the low cooking temperature. I prefer to remove the skin, pull the meat away from the bones and chop for sandwiches.
Prep Time 12 hours
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 14 hours 30 minutes
For the brine
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup apple juice
- 1 can Sprite
- 1/2 cup Kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
Place chicken into a large resealable container.
Whisk together the brine ingredients until the salt has dissolved. Pour over the chicken.
Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Fire up your smoker for 225 F cooking. Use whichever wood you prefer (I went with apple).
Remove chicken from the brine and rinse with cold water.
Pat dry then sprinkle liberally with the rub on both sides.
Tuck the skin underneath of the thighs and transfer to the smoker.
Smoke for 2 hours or more until the internal temperature has reached 165 F.
If you wish to sauce your thighs do so in the last 15 minutes of cooking.
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.
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.
Smoked Chicken Thighs
Prep Time 3 hours 15 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 5 hours 15 minutes
- 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.