I think it is SAFE to say that grilling/smoking season is finally here. Yay! Today was a beautiful day outside. I came home from work and fired up the smoker for these chicken thighs and asparagus. It has been so dry here lately, that I've been afraid to turn on the smoker or grill. There are fire hazard warnings posted all over the state and they don't want people starting fires. One did break out by the Canadian border the other day ago.
My favorite chips to smoke with are applewood. That might have something to do with applewood smoked bacon. I've tried other wood chips and applewood is always what I end up going back to. These chicken thighs smoke on a low heat from 200 to 25o degrees for 3 to 4 hours. They can probably go longer than that too. The longer something smokes, the better it gets and you know it's really good when you can see the smoke line in the piece of meat. I did not use any barbeque for this because the chicken thighs were tasty by themselves. Next time, though.... use some barbeque sauce for dipping. If you're going to smoke or grill chicken of any kind it needs SOME kind of rub on it.
This is a basic rub recipe for chicken. If you wish to add BBQ sauce on top of the thighs feel free to do that. I have made this spice rub mixture quite a few times and the amount of cayenne pepper does not make it spicy at all. If you do not like a lot of cayenne pepper use less of it.
Tips for Spicy Smoked Chicken Thighs
If you think 2 tablespoons of cayenne is a lot reduce the amount to 2 teaspoons. I have made this recipe or spice rub plenty of times and it is not super spicy.
Feel free to glaze the chicken thighs with your favorite BBQ sauce recipe!
Season your chicken with how much salt and pepper you like. The recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of salt for 6 chicken thighs.
How to Make Spicy Smoked Chicken Thighs
To print the full recipe please see the recipe card below.
Light your smoker and allow it to come up to a temperature of 200-220 degrees.
Mix all dry rub seasoning ingredients thoroughly.
Rub olive oil to fully coat the chicken thighs.
Sprinkle the mixed seasonings all over the chicken thighs to ensure they are fully coated with rub.
Lay your chicken thighs on the smoker rack and add smoker wood chips at the same time you add the meat. Apple, pecan, or cherry wood is ideal for this recipe.
It is recommended to ensure there is enough wood every hour. Smoke your chicken thighs for 2 hours and rotate them to ensure they cook evenly.
Total cooking time is 3 to 4 hours total depending on a variety of factors such as size of the thighs, temperature of the grill and outside, how windy it is, and how often you open the smoker lid which will let the heat out. Use an instant-read meat thermometer to check for an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
Smoker: I have had my Traeger smoker for a very long time and I would recommend that brand to anyone wanting to learn how to smoke food. There are some very reasonably priced smokers out there for under $100.
- Masterbuilt Charcoal Bullet Smoker. Amazon. ...
- Char-Broil American Gourmet Offset Smoker. Amazon. ...
- Char-Griller 2-2424 Table Top Charcoal Grill and Side Fire Box. Amazon. ...
Wood Chips: It is my understanding that you can only buy Traeger wood chips where they sell Traeger Grills at. The only place I can get their wood chips in town is at my local Ace Hardware store.
Thermometers: These are so important to have around when cooking any type of meat on an outdoor grill or smoker. They are even great for checking to see if a potato is done.
Other Recipes to Try
25 Slow Cooker Recipes for Dinner
Maple Bacon Corn Bread Muffins
Baked Buffalo Chicken Taquitos
If you’ve tried this Spicy Smoked Chicken Thighs or any other recipe on the site, let me know in the comment section how it turned out. Snap a picture and upload it to Pinterest.Print
Spicy Smoked Chicken Thighs
- Cook Time: 3 to 4 hrs
- Total Time: 3 to 4 hrs
- Yield: 8 1x
- 6 chicken thighs with the skin on
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 2 tablespoons paprika
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon thyme
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons cayenne (see notes)
- 1 tablespoon of Salt and Pepper (to taste)
- Light your smoker and allow it to come up to a temperature of 200-220 degrees.
- Mix all dry rub seasoning ingredients thoroughly.
- Rub olive oil to fully coat the chicken thighs.
- Sprinkle the mixed seasonings all over the chicken thighs to ensure they are fully coated with rub.
- Lay your chicken thighs on the smoker rack and add smoker wood chips at the same time you add the meat. Apple, pecan, or cherry wood is ideal for this recipe.
- It is recommended to ensure there is enough wood every hour. Smoke your chicken thighs for 2 hours and rotate them to ensure they cook evenly.
- Total cooking time is 3 to 4 hours total depending on a variety of factors such as size of the thighs, temperature of the grill and outside, how windy it is, and how often you open the smoker lid which will let the heat out. Use an instant-read meat thermometer to check for an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Smoker
- Serving Size: 1 thigh
- Calories: 127
- Sugar: 0g
- Sodium: 554mg
- Fat: 7g
- Saturated Fat: 1g
- Carbohydrates: 3g
- Fiber: 2g
- Protein: 14g
This is my favorite rub!!
Then use less if you don't like it.
Tim Myers says
1 cup olive oil for 6 thighs is WAY over the top.
Mitul Patel says
About to try this recipe this weekend -- would you recommend a brine?
Thanks for the tip Jim!
Jim Deller says
If you smoke skin side down that won’t leave skin rubbery (on a Traeger)
We just bought a smoker tube and cherry wood chips for our grill so we tried them out with this recipe. It was a big hit! I cut the oil down to 1/2 cup, added 1 tbsp of maple syrup, blended in the spices, then brushed the oil-spice mixture 9 palm-sized thighs. The thighs marinated for a few hours before they were put on the grill. We used a higher temperature so they only took 1.5 hours. Delicious! Would make this again.