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These easily brined and seasoned Traeger chicken thighs are one of my favorite things to cook on the smoker. Not only do they boasts so much flavor, they are also tender and juicy and make perfect leftovers.
Smoked chicken thighs are often overlooked, but this is a huge mistake. You need to master the art of smoking chicken because it is preferred over beef and pork by many of your guests. And, smoked chicken thighs are a staple for BBQ competition.
These chicken thighs are so easy to make on the Traeger. Recently we upgraded from a Weber Smokey Mountain Smoker to now a Traeger pellet smoker and grill and love the ease of it. Although, my favorite will always be charcoal smoker grills, for the convenience of the Traeger you just can’t beat!
What wood pellets works best for smoking chicken?
For smoking these Traeger chicken thighs, I recommend apple or cherry wood pellets.
Why are chicken thighs better for smoking?
Dark meat chicken is more moist than white meat due to the higher fat content. The richness of the meat helps keep it moist during the smoking process. This means that you’re less likely to end up with dried-out chicken.
Why do you leave the bone in when smoking chicken?
Cooking meat on the bone actually adds flavor to the meat. You will need to smoke the meat for longer than if the meat were deboned, but you really will miss out when it comes to flavor.
What are the ingredients to make smoked chicken thighs?
This recipe uses extremely simple ingredients. You can use the Chicken Brine recipe found on our website or your own. Don’t skip this step of brining your chicken thighs.
It is very simple to brine, but takes some preplanning on your part. Your chicken thighs will stay tender and juicy for days.
- Chicken Thighs, bone in, skin on
- Chicken Brine
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Ground black pepper
- Cayenne pepper
- Olive oil
How do you cook smoked chicken thighs?
The first thing you want to do is brine your chicken thighs for up to 24 hours in a zip-top bag.
Once brined, remove from the brine and pat dry. Rub the thighs down with olive oil.
In a bowl, mix the seasoning ingredients and then sprinkle the mix on the chicken thighs, coating thoroughly.
Heat the smoker to 180 degrees and smoke the thighs for 1 hour. Increase the heat to 350 degrees and continue cooking until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees when tested near the bone. This will take around 30-45 minutes.
Remove from the smoker and cover with aluminum foil for 10-15 minutes before serving.
I serve these Traeger chicken thighs with my favorite BBQ sauce. Check out my Alabama White Sauce recipe. This Alabama White Sauce recipe is so delicious and pairs well with chicken or fish.
Other related chicken recipes you may like:
- Chicken Marinade Recipe
- How to Marinate Chicken for Maximum Tenderness
- Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad Recipe
- Grilled Chicken Cobb Salad
Traeger Chicken Thighs
- 8-10 Chicken Thighs bone in, skin on
- 8 sprigs fresh thyme
- 8 sprigs fresh oregano
- ¼ cup brown sugar optional
- 1 cup boiling water to dissolve the brown sugar and salt
- ¾ cup apple cider or apple juice
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Olive oil
- 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.
- Combine all the dry ingredients for the seasoning rub together in a mixing bowl 4. 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.
- 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.
- Remove from the smoker and cover loosely with aluminum foil and allow to rest 10-15 minutes before serving.
- Store leftovers in the refrigerator
- Serve with Apple or Cherry Wood Pellets