Smoked Boneless Chicken Thighs on a Pellet Grill 

When it comes to simple yet tasty recipes they don’t come much easier than these smoked chicken thighs. It’s simple, easy, and oh-so delicious. Plus you’ll find all the ingredients in the pantry.

And it’s guaranteed to have everyone coming back for seconds.

Smoked Chicken Thighs Recipe

There is nothing better than juicy smoky chicken that has been basted which leaves them with with a delicious caramelization. 

I think that smoked chicken thighs are way tastier than chicken breast due to the higher fat content. I also think smoking chicken thighs is considered easier than smoking chicken breasts as you don’t risk ending up with dry chicken!

Chicken thighs are also super versatile. You can eat them hot or cold, in salads, with roast veggies, in wraps or rolls. The options are limitless.

While I enjoy smoking chicken breasts, I find that chicken thighs are simpler to prepare as they tend to maintain their moisture better.

What You’ll Need For Smoked Chicken Thighs

  • Chicken Thighs
  • Olive Oil
  • BBQ Dry Rub (or see my homemade dry rub recipe below)
  •  BBQ Sauce
  • Honey

How to Smoked Chicken Thighs

Step 1 – Preheat the Grill

Preheat your smoker to 275°F. Check the wood pellet levels – you want enough to last a couple of hours.

Spray the grates with a non-stick cooking spray.

Step 2 – Prepare the Chicken and Rub

if you making your rub. combine all the rubbed ingredients in a mixing bowl. Coat with a layer of oil, and apply enough BBQ rub to coat both sides of your chicken thighs.

Dry Rub Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp Paprika
  • 1 tbsp Kosher Salt
  • 1 tbsp Black Pepper
  • 1 tbsp Cayenne Pepper
  • 2 tbsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tbsp Onion Powder
  • 1 tbsp Mustard Powder
  • 1/2 cup Brown Sugar

Step 4 – Smoke the Thighs 

Place chicken skin-side up into your smoker, space out to allow heat and smoke to circulate Smoke at 275F until internal meat temp hits 165F. (About 45min – 1hr).

Step 5 – Baste The Chicken (Optional)

Baste the chicken with BBQ sauce and honey. Enough to just cover the chicken (doesn’t need to be swimming in it). Then place the tray into the smoker until internal meat temp hits 175F (about 20-30min).

Step 6 – Let the Chicken Rest and Serve

Let the meat rest at room temperature for 15-20 minutes, covered in aluminum foil.

Serve and enjoy with your favorite side dishes.

What Temperature to Smoke Chicken Thighs

You should smoke your chicken thigh at 275°F. Going for a medium temperature ensures you don’t end up with chewy or rubbery chicken.

What Internal Temperature You Need to Reach For Chicken Thighs

The chicken thighs need to reach an internal temperature of 175°F before they are ready to eat. This is a hard and fast rule, you shouldn’t eat chicken below this temperature.

What To Serve With Smoked Chicken Thighs

What don’t I like to serve with chicken thighs is the real question! It was tough to pick a few favorites, but where is what I like to serve with chicken thighs?

How To Store Leftover Chicken Thighs

Proper storage of smoked chicken thighs after cooking is crucial for food safety. It is recommended to promptly cool down any remaining cooked chicken and store it in either the refrigerator or freezer. To store leftover smoked chicken thighs, follow these steps:

1. Divide the chicken into smaller pieces and transfer them to a low container with a covering. This will help cool the meat down quickly.

2. To maintain the quality, place the container in the refrigerator and store for 3-4 days or freeze for a maximum of 1 month.

3. To reheat food safely, make sure it is thawed if necessary and heat it in an oven or skillet until it reaches 165°F, as measured by a food thermometer.

Best Wood Chips for Smoking Chicken Thighs

Hickory wood chips are one of the most popular options for smoked chicken thighs because they add a smoky and sweet flavor.

Apple or cherry wood chips, on the other hand, are recommended for a more subtle and fruity flavor. Mesquite is a great option if you’re looking for something bolder as it offers a strong smoky taste.

Should I Remove The Skin?

It’s a good idea to keep the skin on while smoking, even if you don’t plan on eating it.

It’ll help trap moisture and prevent the meat from drying out.

Having said that, some prefer skinless chicken thighs so it’s not necessary to leave it on for smoking. Just keep an eye on your cook so they don’t dry out.

No one enjoys eating rubbery skin though. Unless you plan on trying for crispy skin, remove it before serving.

How To Get Crispy Skin on Your Chicken Thighs?

There are a couple of things you can do to get delicious crispy chicken skin

Rubbery skin is a no-no. Too much moisture on the skin, and not enough heat to break down the fats under the surface of the skin is the cause.

Toss the pieces in baking powder before seasoning. The baking powder draws out excess moisture in the skin.  

Finish off the smoke with a few minutes in a frying pan of hot oil at high heat. A few minutes in an air fryer at high heat will do the same thing.

How Long To Smoke Chicken Thighs

Typically, thighs will take 1.5-2 hours of cooking time. This will vary on the type of grill, size of the thighs, and the outside temps. Check with a meat thermometer probe rather than relying on cooking time frames.

Probe the thickest part of the meat, away from any bones. The internal temperature should reach 165° for poultry meat.

Let the meat rest once cooked, to allow the juices to settle.

Looking for More Chicken Recipes?

If you love cooking chicken as much as me you might be looking for more recipes to try out! Here are some of my favorites!

Pit Boss Leg Quarters

Pit Boss Chicken Wings

0-400 Chicken Wings

Pit Boss Smoked Chicken Breast

Grilled Chicken Kabobs

Smoked Beer Can Chicken

Smoked Boneless Chicken Thighs

This smoked chicken thigh recipe is going to blow your mind and keep your guests coming for more!
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time1 hour
Resting Time20 minutes
Total Time1 hour 35 minutes
Course: Dinner, lunch, main, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 7 serves
Calories: 305kcal
Author: Charlie
Cost: 8

Equipment

  • Pellet smoker

Ingredients

  • 2.2 pounds Chicken Thighs
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 tbsp BBQ Dry Rub or see my homemade dry rub recipe below
  • 4 tbsp BBQ Sauce
  • 2 tbsp Honey

Instructions

Step 1 – Preheat the Grill

  • Preheat your smoker to 275°F. Check the wood pellet levels – you want enough to last a couple of hours.
  • Spray the grates with a non-stick cooking spray.

Step 2 – Prepare the Rub

  • If you making your rub. combine all the rubbed ingredients in a mixing bowl 

Step 3 – Prepare the Thighs

  • Coat with a layer of oil, and apply enough BBQ rub to coat both sides of your chicken thighs.

Step 4 – Smoke the Thighs 

  • Place chicken skin-side up into your smoker, space out to allow heat and smoke to circulate Smoke at 275F until internal meat temp hits 165F. (About 45min – 1hr).

Step 5 – Baste The Chicken (Optional)

  • Baste the chicken with BBQ sauce and honey. Enough to just cover the chicken (doesn't need to be swimming in it). Then place the tray into the smoker until internal meat temp hits 175F (about 20-30min).

Step 6 – Let the Chicken Rest and Serve

  • Let the meat rest at room temperature for 15-20 minutes, covered in aluminum foil.
  • Serve and enjoy with your favorite side dishes.

Smoke On!

Charlie

Author: Charlie Reeves
Hi, I’m Charlie, I have been meat-smoking and grilling for the past 15 years. I have an array of different smokers, thermometers, and have a love for finding the right wood and charcoal combo My favourite recipes are my EXTRA CRISPY smoked pork belly, juicy pulled pork, smoked brisket, duck poppers, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill).

I loves sharing his tips with beginners, helping them navigate the world of smoking. I find it’s not just about cooking; it’s a quest for that perfect smoky flavor.

You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling recipes with you!

You can read more about me on our About Us page.

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