As a newbie to the smoking game, I'm testing out variables to try and make the best smoked food as efficient as possible. This was my first go round with chicken, so I thought I would test to see what impact brine and rub had on thighs. Here's how it went down: Purchased 20 chicken thighs at my local grocery store. Brined 10 thighs for 12 hours using the Slaughterhouse brine recipe. Left the other 10 in the sealed package. The next morning, I removed the thighs from the brine and patted them down to help dry them out. I took half of the brined thighs and seasoned them with Shooter's poultry rub. The other 5 brined thighs were left without rub. All 10 brined thighs were placed atop paper towels on a baking sheet and left to dry in the fridge for ~12 hours. I sliced open the unbrined thighs, and applied the rub to 5 of the thighs. I left the other 5 without rub and returned the opened package to the fridge for ~12 hours. Heated smoker to 350F using pecan pellets. Removed all 20 thighs from the fridge, placed in smoker with skin-side down for ~1 hour until IT reached 170 (did not flip or rotate chicken while smoking). Served to my family without them knowing which was which, in hopes to get unbiased feedback on whether brine or rub really make much of a difference. Lessons learned: The overall consensus was the following: brine + rub >> brine >> rub > nothing Brine made a MAJOR difference in flavor. The brine + rub was voted the favorite Rub made a MINOR difference in flavor. The brine was better than the no brine + rub. In the future I will continue to brine and rub, but I was unable to get the crispy "bite through skin." The meat was very juicy at 170F IT, maybe too juicy? Flavor was excellent but I want to work on that skin. I thought the 350F would have taken care of it. Maybe I need to let them dry for more than 12 hours? Any tips?