These Smoked Chicken Thighs are first brined, then seasoned with a dry rub, and then smoked to perfection on a pellet grill. The brining, seasoning, and smoking method results in juicy, flavorful, tender chicken thighs.

This recipe costs approximately $12.28 to make. It makes six to eight servings for about $1.53 per serving.

Chicken thighs are flavorful and versatile meat to cook. Some of my favorite recipes include this Instant Pot Lemon Chicken Thighs, Oven Baked Chicken Thighs, and Crockpot BBQ Chicken Thighs.  

An overhead picture of the finished Smoked Chicken Thighs on a wooden serving platter.

This is a simple recipe in that you likely have most of the ingredients on hand for the brine and dry rub. The key to this recipe is to cook it low and slow on the pellet grill.

Let the Traeger do the work for you as it cooks the chicken and adds to the flavor of the Smoked Chicken Thighs. 

Be sure to leave the skin on the thighs, as it adds flavor to the chicken and helps keep the chicken moist during the cooking process. With only fifteen minutes of prep time, you will love to smoke these Chicken Thighs any night of the week! 

Ingredients and Estimated Cost

Per Serving Cost: $1.53

Recipe Cost: $12.28

  • 8-10 chicken thighs – $9.92
  • 8 sprigs fresh thyme – $0.40
  • 8 sprigs fresh oregano – $0.92
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar – $0.16
  • 1 cup boiling water – $0.00
  • ¾ cup apple juice – $0.15
  • ¼ cup soy sauce – $0.18
  • 1 Tablespoon coarse kosher salt – $0.06
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper – $0.05
  • 2 teaspoons paprika – $0.06
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder – $0.06
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder – $0.06
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper – $0.05
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper – $0.05
  • ½ teaspoon salt – $0.01

NOTE: The recipe prices are calculated by using grocery store websites. The actual cost of the recipe will vary depending on what ingredients you already have.

All of the ingredients needed to make this recipe.

Instructions

  1. First, put all of the brining ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Let the mixture sit to cool to room temperature. 
  2. Next, place the chicken thighs in a large Ziploc bag. 
  3. Pour the brining liquid over the chicken. Seal the bag and place it in the fridge for up to twenty-four hours. 
  4. Then, stir together the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. 
  5. Remove the chicken thighs from the brine and cut off any excess fat from the thighs. 
  6. Drizzle the thighs with olive oil, coating both sides. 
  7. Then rub the dry rub over the chicken. 
  8. Preheat the smoker to 180 degrees F and then place the thighs on the smoker to smoke for one hour. 
  9. Increase the temperature to 350 degrees F and roast until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. 
  10. Finally, remove the thighs from the smoker and cover loosely with foil to rest for ten to fifteen minutes before serving. 

***For complete recipe instructions, see the recipe card below.

A picture collage showing how to make this recipe.

Recipe Variations

  • You can use light or dark brown sugar in the brine liquid.
  • If you don’t want to make your rub, you can use a store-bought one.

Storage and Serving Tips

SERVE: These are especially delicious served with my Alabama White Sauce. You can keep the chicken thighs at room temperature for up to two hours before they need to be refrigerated.

STORE: Keep leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

FREEZE: Once the chicken is cool, place it in a freezer-safe container or Ziploc bag. Freeze for 4-5 months.

DEFROST: Defrost the chicken in the refrigerator overnight.

REHEAT: Warm the chicken in a 350 degree F oven for 10-20 minutes, or until heated through.

Recipe FAQs

How long to smoke chicken thighs?

You will smoke the chicken thighs for about 90 minutes. For the first sixty minutes, smoke the chicken at 180 degrees F. Then increase the temperature to 350 degrees F and cook for another thirty minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees F.

Do you flip chicken thighs when smoking?

You do not need to flip the thighs while smoking them in the pellet grill. The chicken will cook evenly in the smoker during the ninety-minute cooking process. 

Do you wrap smoked chicken?

After you take the chicken thighs off the pellet grill, cover them loosely with aluminum foil and allow them to sit for about ten minutes. Doing so allows the juices to soak into the chicken before cutting into them thoroughly.

Chicken Thighs that were smoked on a Traeger. They've been put on a plate and drizzled with Carolina BBQ sauce.

More Grilling Recipes

A close up picture of the finished Smoked Chicken Thighs on a wooden cutting board.
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Smoked Chicken Thighs

Recipe Cost $ $12.28
Serving Cost $ $1.53
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
8 people
These Smoked Chicken Thighs are first brined, then seasoned with a dry rub, and then smoked to perfection on a pellet grill.

Equipment

  • Pellet grill
  • mixing bowls
  • measuring cups and spoons
  • mixing spoon
  • liquid measuring cup

Ingredients
 
 

INGREDIENTS

  • 8-10 Chicken Thighs bone in, skin on

BRINING SOLUTION

SEASONING RUB

Instructions

BRINE CHICKEN:

  • Add all the brining ingredients to a medium-sized bowl. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature.
  • Add chicken thighs to a large zip top bag and pour brining solution over the thighs.
  • Seal bag and place in refrigerator for up to 24 hours.

RUB CHICKEN:

  • Combine all the dry ingredients for the seasoning rub together in a mixing bowl.
  • Remove the chicken thighs from the brine solution and pat dry.
  • Trim off any excess fat from chicken thighs.
  • Drizzle the thighs with olive oil and coat both sides of the thighs very well.
  • Sprinkle the seasoning rub on each thigh pressing the rub into the chicken to evenly coat the outside.

SMOKE CHICKEN:

  • Preheat the smoker to 180° F.
  • Place the chicken thighs directly on the smoker and smoke for 1 hour at 180° F.
  • Increase the temperature on your Traeger to 350° F and roast until an instant-read thermometer placed near the thigh bone reads 165 degrees F. Usually takes 30-45 minutes.

TO FINISH:

  • Remove chicken thighs from the smoker and cover loosely with aluminum foil and allow to rest 10-15 minutes before serving.
  • Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

Nutrition

Serving: 1chicken thigh | Calories: 301kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 111mg | Sodium: 1516mg | Potassium: 337mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 454IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 46mg | Iron: 2mg

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