Smoked Chicken Thighs

Seriously delicious smoked chicken thighs made with an easy, flavorful chicken marinade!

Smoked chicken thighs on a plate.

Smoked Chicken Thighs

How do you end up with juicy chicken thighs with crispy chicken skin every time? Smoke those thighs! If you are a fan of smoking meat these smoked chicken thighs are going to be your new favorite chicken recipe.

reasons we love these thighs

  • We marinate these thighs overnight for optimal flavor so you end up with delicious chicken meat every time.
  • You throw these chicken thighs on the smoker for 2.5 hours and then they are ready!
  • We love that you can eat these thighs immediately or make smoked chicken salad for the week.

Tools You Need

Along with a smoker here are a few other things you will need to make these smoked chicken thighs.

Chicken thighs marinating in a casserole dish.

Ingredients You Need

Below are all of the ingredients you need for these smoked chicken thighs, along with the ingredients for the chicken marinade. We used a very similar marinade to our grilled chicken marinade and it is so flavorful!

  • Chicken thighs- we suggest using bone-in and skin-on chicken thighs when you are smoking chicken thighs. Why? Because you are cooking them for so long at a low temperature you want hearty chicken thighs so you don’t end up with overcooked chicken.
  • Balsamic vinegar– we use a little balsamic vinegar in the marinade to both sweeten up the marinade and caramelize the chicken skin.
  • Olive oil- we suggest using olive oil as the fat and oil base of the marinade, it has great flavor.
  • Worcestershire– worcestershire sauce adds a vinegar and umami flavor to the marinade!
  • Honey– we used honey to balance out the savoriness of the marinade. It also adds to the caramelization of the chicken skin.
  • Dijon mustard- the mustard adds the perfect amount of bite to any marinade.
  • Lemon juice + zest- you need a little citrus is the perfect addition to any chicken marinade.
  • Minced garlic- don’t ever skip the garlic!
  • Red pepper flakes- the spice in this marinade is a little bit of red pepper flakes. Balance out that sweet with some spice.
  • Salt + pepper– enhance all the flavors in your chicken marinade with salt and pepper.

How to Make Smoked Chicken Thighs

  1. Prepare the marinade. Mix all of the ingredients for the chicken marinade in a bowl and whisk the marinade until all the honey dissolves.
  2. Season the chicken. Before you let the chicken sit in marinade be sure to season the chicken with salt and pepper. You want to massage under the chicken skin and on top of the chicken skin for optimal flavor.
  3. Marinate the chicken. Place the chicken in a baking dish or casserole dish with sides and pour the marinade over the chicken thighs. Rub the marinade all over the chicken and be sure the chicken is submerged in the marinade before placing it into the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  4. Smoke the chicken. Preheat the smoker to 275ºF. Remove the chicken thighs from the fridge and drain the marinade off of the chicken. Place the chicken on the smoker for 1.5 hours (skin side up) and then flip the chicken over and smoke them for an additional 1-1.5 hours (depending on how big the thighs are).
  5. Let it rest. Remove the chicken from the smoker and let them sit 10 minutes before enjoying the chicken.

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Chicken thighs marinating.

What Kind of Smoker Do I Use?

There is a wide range of smokers out on the market now and we suggest using the smoker that you are the most comfortable with. Any smoker should work as long as it can fit a whole chicken!

We used a the Traeger 575 Pellet Grill. A pellet grill uses wood pellets to heat the chamber. We love our Traeger pellet grill because the grill automatically adds pellets to the smoker to keep the heat at the desired temperature.

Other kinds of smokers you can use are below.

Chicken thighs on the smoker.

Other Tips + Tricks

Can I use boneless chicken thighs?

We do not suggest using boneless chicken thighs but if you must use boneless chicken tights you will have to cook the chicken for less time. Be sure to check the internal temperature of the chicken thighs every hour or so.

What is the internal temperature of chicken thighs?

The internal temperature of chicken thighs must be 165ºF.

What to serve with smoked chicken thighs

Serve these chicken thighs with your favorite sides or salads! Below are some of our favorites.

Baked Potatoes in Foil- One of our favorites dinner sides is a baked potato in foil. Whether you’re hoping to make a grilled baked potato in foil or oven baked potatoes in foil, we’ll teach you how to make a perfect baked potato every time!

Greek Salad- This Greek salad is made with sweet cherry tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, feta, and homemade Greek salad dressing! It is perfect for meal prep, a summer picnic, or just a healthy summer meal!

Broccoli Salad- This recipe for a broccoli salad gets its sweetness from dried fruit and a sugar/vinegar dressing. Plus, it’s a good way to trick children into eating their veggies.

Sweet Potato Fries- Perfectly crispy baked sweet potato fries ready in 30 minutes. In this post, we’re sharing all of our secrets for perfect crispy sweet potato fries every time!

Flipping chicken thighs on a smoker.
Smoked chicken thighs on a plate.

Smoked chicken thighs on a plate

Smoked Chicken Thighs

These smoked chicken thighs are marinated in a flavorful marinade and end up with crispy skin and juicy meat. 

Prep: 2 hoursCook: 2.5 hoursTotal: 59 minute

Fat 18

Carbs 12

Protein 36

Yield 6 1x


  • 2 lbs. bone-in chicken thighs
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar 
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil 
  • 2 tablespoon Worcestershire
  • 2 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard 
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice 
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest 
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic 
  • ⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes 
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided  
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper


  1. Prepare the marinade. Mix all the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, Worchestershire, honey, dijon mustard, lemon juice, lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Whisk ingredients together and set aside. 
  2. Remove excess moisture from the chicken thighs with a paper towel.
  3. Sprinkle the chicken thighs with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 3/4 teaspoon pepper and massage the salt and pepper into the chicken thighs (including under the skin). 
  4. Place the chicken thighs into a gallon size bag or a casserole dish and pour the marinade over the chicken. Be sure the chicken thighs are submerged in the marinade. Let the chicken thighs marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (or overnight for the most flavorful chicken thighs). 
  5. When you have 30 minutes left of marinating time preheat the smoker to 275ºF.
  6. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and remove the thighs from the marinade. Let the access marinade drip from the chicken thighs. 
  7. Place the chicken thighs skin side up in the smoker. Smoke the chicken thighs for 2-2.5  hours total (depending on how big the chicken thighs are) at 275ºF. Check the internal temperature after 1 hour and flip the chicken thighs over to the other side. Cover and continue cooking for 1-1.5 more hours.  
  8. Remove the chicken legs from the smoker once the internal temperature reaches 160-165ºF. 
  9. Let rest for 5 minutes and then enjoy!

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1/6
Calories: 358
Sugar: 8
Sodium: 534
Fat: 18
Carbohydrates: 12
Fiber: 0
Protein: 36
Cholesterol: 204

Author: Lee FunkeCategory: ChickenMethod: SmokerCuisine: American

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