Whether you’re a seasoned expert at smoking or a smoking newbie, you’ll absolutely love this easy recipe for Smoked Chicken Thighs. With just a few basic ingredients, you’re left with an insanely tender result with just the right amount of smoke!
While I absolutely adore smoked meat, I actually don’t put my smoker to use nearly as frequently as I should, purely because of the amount of time it takes.
In fact, it has been a few months a few months since the last smoked adventure: Smoked Brisket.
But take a look at this!
When I smoked these chicken thighs, I discovered I could still achieve crazy tender protein with delicious smoke flavor in less time than I had anticipated.
In fact, these smoked chicken thighs require just the same amount of time as it would take to bake them in the oven.
Plus, the amount of smoky flavor is just perfect.
You see, I do believe there is such a thing as too much smoke. Would you agree?
If you love fall-off-the-bone tender chicken that is perfectly seasoned with just the right amount of smoke, you’ll go bonkers over this recipe!
The key is marinating the chicken ahead of time in seasoning and avocado oil, which brings an incredible flavor to the thighs.
When you begin eating the chicken, it just wants to all fall off of the bone, it is that tender!
Best Rub or Marinade for Smoked Chicken:
While you can absolutely do a dry rub for the chicken by simply dry brining it in the seasoning overnight, I made a marinade with a homemade dry rub concoction and avocado oil.
In my opinion, keeping the seasoning simple is always a great idea so that the true essence of the protein shines through, but it has enough flavor to be ultra enticing.
My favorite seasonings for smoked chicken (and any meat!) are paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, sea salt, and black pepper. That’s it!
You can absolutely incorporate your favorite dried spices (cumin and lemon pepper work great), or keep it simple.
Whether you dry brine or marinate, giving the chicken ample time to chill and absorb flavor is recommended. I would do at least 12 hours for a dry brine (ideally 24 to 48), and at least 2 hours for a marinade (ideally 8 to 10).
Here’s how we throw down some seriously delicious smoked chicken.
How to Smoke Chicken Thighs:
Combine the garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, black pepper, and sea salt in a bowl and stir until combined.
Transfer the chicken thighs to a large zip lock bag, followed by the avocado oil and seasoning.
Seal the bag and shake it around until the chicken thighs are well-coated in oil and seasoning.
Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, ideally 8.
When you’re ready to smoke the chicken thighs, preheat your smoker to 375 degrees F (mine takes about 15 minutes to preheat).
Place the chicken thighs on the smoker skin side-up and replace the cover. Cook for 45 minutes, or until the chicken thighs reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
Serve with side dishes, and enjoy!
One note about the smoke time! I tested the recipe at 375 for over 1 hour to see if there was any way it could turn out badly when over-cooked, and you guys, it’s still incredible…arguably even better!
This to say, don’t worry about not hitting the 45 minute mark just right – your chicken will still be perfect!
How to Get Crispy Skin:
When you smoke chicken at 375, the skin becomes crispy but not quite as crispy as you would get in the oven. For crispier skin, transfer the chicken to a baking sheet and broil in the oven for 3 to 8 minutes, or until the skin reaches your desired level of crispiness.
Put it in your smoker and smoke it!
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- 3 ½ to 4 lbs bone in skin on chicken thighs
- 2 Tbsp avocado oil
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 2 tsp paprika
- 1 ½ tsp sea salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- Combine the garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, black pepper, and sea salt in a bowl and stir until combined.
- Transfer the chicken thighs to a large zip lock bag, followed by the avocado oil and seasoning.
- Seal the bag and shake it around until the chicken thighs are well-coated in oil and seasoning.
- Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, ideally 8.
- When you’re ready to smoke the chicken thighs, preheat your smoker to 375 degrees F (mine takes about 15 minutes to preheat).
- Place the chicken thighs on the smoker skin side-up and replace the cover. Cook for 45 minutes, or until the chicken thighs reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
- Serve with side dishes, and enjoy!
Nutrition InformationYield 8 Serving Size 1 of 8
Amount Per Serving Calories 206Total Fat 7gCarbohydrates 2gFiber 2gProtein 39g