Fried chicken thighs are great. Roasted chicken thighs are delicious. But smoked chicken thighs are simply exquisite.
The smoky flavor combined with the savory BBQ rub is so irresistible.
The secret to irresistible smoky flavor is knowing how long to smoke the chicken thighs at 225°F. Smoke chicken thighs at 225°F for 1 ½-2 hours.
Bone-In Vs. Boneless Chicken Thighs
Bone-in vs. boneless chicken is another topic of debate in the BBQ world. You can smoke boneless or bone-in chicken thighs. Both cuts have advantages and disadvantages.
For example, bone-in chicken thighs retain more moisture due to the bone. However, bone-in chicken thighs take longer to cook.
In contrast, boneless chicken thighs cook faster than their counterparts. However, it is much easier to overcook boneless chicken thighs.
It’s up to you whether you use boneless or bone-in chicken thighs. If you do use bone-in chicken thighs, use medium-sized thighs.
It’s also beneficial to leave the skin.
If you use boneless chicken thighs, get skin on. The skin will help the chicken thighs retain moisture.
How Many Chicken Thighs Per Person
How much chicken thighs per person depends on how many people you are serving. It also depends on the individual’s appetite and the size of the meat.
For people with a small appetite to medium, estimate 1 chicken thigh per person. For people with a large appetite, estimate 2 chicken thighs per person.
Four chicken thighs weigh 1 1/2 pounds. In contrast, 8 chicken thighs weigh about 3 pounds. Once it’s cooked, each chicken thigh is 3 1/2 ounces of chicken.
So, 1 1/2 pounds of chicken will feed 2-4 people. Three pounds of chicken will feed 3-6 people.
I recommend buying a few extra chicken thighs. You won’t run out of chicken thighs. Plus, if you don’t use all of them, you can use the leftovers in dishes like mac and cheese.
Tips For Smoking Chicken Thighs
Peel the skin back on the chicken thighs. Then coat the meat underneath the skin with the BBQ rub for more flavor. Yes, it is tedious, but the flavor is indescribable.
Always pay attention to the internal temperature. Yes, the cooking time is important, but the temperature is more important. The chicken thighs can overcook if you don’t keep track of their temperature.
The key to moist and juicy chicken thighs is monitoring their internal temperature. You can use an infrared thermometer or a probe thermometer to keep track of the chicken thigh’s internal temperature.
Once you remove the chicken thighs, let them rest. It’s hard, I know, but you must resist the urge to cut into those chicken thighs.
If you cut into the chicken thighs, the juices will seep out of the meat instead of remaining in the chicken where they belong. Letting the chicken thighs rest gives the moisture time to go back into the meat.
Skin Side Down Vs. Skin Side Up
Some people are in favor of smoking chicken thighs skin-up, while others prefer to smoke chicken thighs skin-side down. Let’s explore both options.
Smoked chicken is usually presented skin-side up. If it is smoked skin side down, the skin could stick to the smoker’s grates. Therefore, smoking chicken thighs skin-side up preserves the presentation side.
In contrast, if you smoke the chicken skin side down, the skin will act as a barrier keeping the juices in instead of lettering them drip down into the smoker.
Essentially the thighs will be juicier than if they were smoked skin-side up.
Whether you smoke your chicken skin side up or down is up to you. I suggest trying both methods to see which one suits you.
What’s The Best Smoker For Smoking Chicken Thighs
Propane smokers are ideal for smoking chicken thighs. Propane smokers can maintain a stable temperature throughout the cook.
Nevertheless, you can use any smoker you desire, whether it be an electric or offset smoker. Just make sure the smoker is designed to smoke meat.
Although it seems obvious, if you do not use a smoker designed to smoke meat, the chicken thighs may not cook evenly or be cooked at the right temperature. Additionally, make sure the smoker can maintain a consistent temperature.
Should I Baste The Chicken Thighs While Smoking?
Yes, you can baste chicken thighs when smoking them. Basting the chicken thighs prevents them from overcooking and becoming dry. However, do not baste the chicken thighs more than once or twice.
Although smoking the chicken thighs will not make the skin crispy, you don’t want to drown the skin in moisture.
Only use thin liquids that are free of sugar to baste the chicken thighs. You can use a solution of apple cider vinegar and water to baste the chicken thighs.
If desired, you can baste chicken when cooking but only with something very thin and without sugar, such as a combination of apple cider vinegar and water.
Do not baste the chicken thighs with BBQ sauce. If you apply the BBQ sauce too early, the sugar will burn and ruin the chicken thigh’s flavor.Add the BBQ sauce during the final 20-30 minutes of cooking.
Why Are My Smoked Chicken Thighs Still Pink
Usually, smoked chicken thighs have a pink ring around the surface of the meat. This is no cause for concern.
Chicken thighs can be pink and fully cooked. The pink color is due to a red pigment called myoglobin. Myoglobin does not break down completely due to the low temperature of the chicken thighs used to smoke the chicken.
This is why you should monitor the chicken thigh’s internal temperature, not the cooking time.
Remove the chicken thighs from the smoker when they have an internal temperature of 165°F.
How Long To Smoke Chicken Thighs At 225
The smoking time depends on the size of the chicken thighs and how many chicken thighs you are smoking. Generally, it will take about 1 1/2-2 hours to smoke at 225°F.
Smoked chicken thighs are delicious. Once you smoke chicken thighs at 225°F and taste the delicious meat, you will see what I mean.
I have been smoking and grilling meat from an early age and enjoy sharing my knowledge and expertise through the hundreds of articles I have written about BBQ. I hope to make everyone’s BBQ journey that little bit easier.