Smoked Chicken Thighs with BBQ Sauce

Chicken thighs are the easiest part of the chicken to cook! Taking the time to create your own sauce will provide a unique flavor that most backyard cooks will not bring to the table when serving smoked chicken.

Prep Time:
45 mins
Cook Time:
2 hrs 25 mins
Additional Time:
7 hrs
Total Time:
10 hrs 10 mins
30 chicken thighs


  • 2 cups extra-virgin olive oil

  • 3 lemons, juiced

  • 12 cloves garlic, minced

  • 3 jalapeno peppers, finely chopped

  • 30 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs

BBQ Sauce:

  • 2 cups ketchup

  • 1 cup water

  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar

  • ¼ cup white wine vinegar

  • ¼ cup Sriracha sauce

  • 5 tablespoons light brown sugar

  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice

  • 2 tablespoons prepared yellow mustard

  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

  • ½ tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

  • ½ tablespoon onion powder

  • 1 pinch sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. Combine olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and jalapeno peppers in a bowl for a marinade. Allow to rest for at least 1 hour.

  2. Place the chicken thighs in a large, shallow container and cover with the marinade. Chill and marinate for at least 6 hours, or up to overnight.

  3. Combine ketchup, water, cider vinegar, white wine vinegar, Sriracha, brown sugar, lemon juice, mustard, Worcestershire, 1/2 tablespoon black pepper, and onion powder in a medium saucepan. Simmer for 25 minutes.

  4. Remove the skin from each chicken thigh, one at a time. Trim excess fat from the edges of each thigh; if there are any veins on the bottom of the thigh, trim away as well. Scrape the fat off from the bottom side of the chicken's skin using a sharp knife until the skin is essentially transparent.

  5. Re-wrap the trimmed thighs with the skin. Liberally coat with sea salt and pepper.

  6. Place chicken thighs, unstacked, onto wire racks. Place the racks into the smoker. Add pecan wood chips according to manufacturer's directions and heat to 265 to 285 degrees F (129 to 140 degrees C).

  7. Smoke until chicken thighs are no longer pink in the centers, about 2 hours. During the final 45 minutes of cooking, liberally apply the BBQ sauce 2 to 3 times. An instant-read thermometer inserted near the bone of a thigh should read 165 degrees F (74 degrees C).

Cook's Notes:

Though it is labor-intensive, thinning out the skin of the chicken will provide excellent results. The skin will never be rubbery when using this technique.

You can use any type of wood you prefer.

Editor's Note:

Nutrition data for this recipe includes the full amount of marinade ingredients. The actual amount of marinade consumed will vary.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

356 Calories
27g Fat
9g Carbs
20g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 30
Calories 356
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 27g 34%
Saturated Fat 5g 27%
Cholesterol 71mg 24%
Sodium 357mg 16%
Total Carbohydrate 9g 3%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 6g
Protein 20g
Vitamin C 13mg 66%
Calcium 26mg 2%
Iron 2mg 8%
Potassium 271mg 6%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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