Learn how to make smoked chicken thighs in two hours or less! It’s as easy as setting and forgetting them in the smoker and they come out so juicy and flavorful.
When I was trying to figure out how to make the best smoked chicken thighs, I was surprised that it wasn’t even taking me two hours on the smoker to get the flavor and texture I was searching for.
For me, the perfect smoke time is right between 1 and a half to 2 hours, but I’ll explain why in a minute.
I have to stop and brag about these babies. The marinade! The juiciness! The smoke kissed exterior and juicy center! These really take the cake, my friends.
The only thing to note here is that you really really need to know that these only serve 4 people. Maybe 3. I could honestly eat the whole 2.5lb plate myself.
So…multiply the recipe according, folks. That’s all!
All about the best, smoked chicken thigh marinade
A lot of the success with this recipe has to do with the marinade. You could use this with grilled chicken thighs – try my hot honey ones, too! – roasted, pan-seared – whatever (a flip flop – where my Guy Fieri fans at?).
It’s a mixture of olive oil, balsamic, coconut aminos (or soy), OJ, hot sauce, garlic, coconut sugar – so good. Did I mention it’s paleo friendly?
I will tell you that the longer you let this go towards the 24 hour mark the better. More flavor, more better, no?
What kind of smoker do you use?
I use a Traeger Grill and I absolutely love it. I have the Pro 575 and the Pro 34! It’s a wood pellet grill so it acts as a grill and/or smoker but runs off of wood pellets. It creates an amazing flavor.
You can use a traditional smoker for this, but keep reading below to find out why I like using a wood pellet grill.
What temperature do you smoke chicken thighs at?
As I mentioned above, I use a Traeger wood pellet grill which allows me to preheat my “smoker” to 450F, get a sear on my chicken, and then drop the heat to 225F and let it get all smoky, tender and delicious. I don’t have to swap machines and I get that lovely little char + the smoke without hardly lifting a finger.
You can use a regular smoker and just smoke at 225F, or start by searing it on the grill real fast and then pop it on the smoker to finish. This lessens the cooking time a bit, making it quicker to get your chicken dinnahhh! The world is your oyster – or chicken thigh.
Love chicken thighs as much as I do? Check out my Hot Honey Chicken Thighs or my Roasted Bone-In! They’re fan faves!Print
Learn how to make smoked chicken thighs in two hours or less! It’s as easy as setting them and forgetting in the smoker and they come out so juicy and flavorful.
- 2 and 1/2 lbs. skinless chicken thighs*
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 3 Tbsp. coconut aminos
- 3 Tbsp. water
- 1 and 1/2 Tbsp. cayenne pepper hot sauce (like Frank’s)
- 1 Tbsp. coconut sugar
- 1 orange, juiced
- 1 lime, juiced
- 3 garlic cloves, smashed and minced
- 2 tsp. salt
- Add all of the ingredients to a zip top bag or a bowl with a lid.
- Mix well to make sure the chicken is coated.
- Place in the fridge for 12-24 hours to marinate, the longer the better.
- When you’re ready to smoke, remove the chicken from the fridge and let it come to room temperature in the marinade while you preheat the smoker.
- If you’re using a Traeger or wood pellet smoker, preheat to 450F. I like to sear my chicken before I smoke it for 5 minutes, it gives more flavor. If you’re using a traditional smoker, you can skip this step, you just may need to smoke a bit longer*.
- Place the chicken on the smoker/grill directly from the marinade. DO NOT rise or pat dry. Sear the chicken at 450F for 4-5 minutes. Keep the lid closed during the searing. Flip the chicken, close the lid, and adjust the temperature to 225F.
- Let the chicken smoke for 1 and 1/2-2 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 165F and the juices are running clear. I like to check my chicken at the 1 and 1/2 hour mark because it’s often done.
- Remove it from the smoker, cover with foil, and let it rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.
- For this recipe I used boneless, but you can do bone in. I actually always use skinless for this recipe because I always have them on hand, so if you have skin on thighs, just remove it if you want. You may need to add 15 minutes or so to your cook time for bone-in thighs, but it may be even juicer!
- If you’re using a standard wood smoker and not a wood pellet grill like Traeger, you can either sear your chicken on the grill over medium-high heat for 5 minutes and then place in the smoker that’s preheated to 225F, or place them directly in the smoker heated to 225F and smoke for 15-30 minutes longer, or until they’re fully cooked.
- Category: Main
- Method: Smoker
- Cuisine: American
- Serving Size: 1 piece
- Calories: 231
- Sugar: 10 g
- Sodium: 1266mg
- Fat: 16 g
- Saturated Fat: 2 g
- Unsaturated Fat: 11 g
- Trans Fat: 0 g
- Carbohydrates: 12 g
- Fiber: 1 g
- Protein: 20 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
Keywords: chicken, chicken thigh, smoked
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