Chicken Thighs - Crockpot or Propane Smoker

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by mike65, Mar 13, 2016.

  1. mike65

    mike65 Meat Mopper

    Hello All, 

    I'll be prepping some chicken thighs for dinner tomorrow night and so far all I have had to use was a crockpot.  I got myself a 30" Masterbuilt Smoker on Friday, seasond it with Pam and Cherry wood today and thought about smoking the chicken thighs.  

    • #1 How long should I smoke the chicken for?
    • #2 What temp should I try?
    • #3 Any wood chips or water to use?  
  2. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    If bone-in, skin-on, they're more forgiving than boneless, skinless. Depending on the size, they'll take 60-90 minutes @ 250* (small taking the least time). Use a meat thermometer to verify that they have reached a minimum of 165* internal temp (minimum recommended temp for USDA inspected poultry). I usually take dark meat with bone-in to bit over 170*...otherwise there can be slightly red meat near the bone. You can reduce the smoke chamber temp to 225* and plan on extra cooking time with more smoke flavor, but poultry doesn't really benefit from low & slow cooking, unless it is a mature (generally very large: 8-11lb) roasting hen (what we tend to refer to as a tough old bird).

    The water pan can be filled with water (this aids in smoke adhering to the meat). Some, myself included, use a thermal mass in the water pan such as washed pea-gravel or sand...a couple pounds is all it takes. In the MES 1/2-1lb would probably be enough.

    Smoke wood can be just about any fruit wood, but apple is great with could use hickory as's a sharper flavor with a sweet back-ground. Cherry is one of the heavier fruit woods, more suitable for beef than poultry, though in my experience works fine for chicken...used with a bit more moderation.

    If your thighs are boneless, skinless, apply butter or some other form of fat (canola or olive oil), then dry rub and smoke for 30-40 minutes on open grates. Place in open foil or pan with some melted butter and lemon juice...coat them well with the butter/juice, possibly turning over once, and continue smoking until they reach finished temps.

    Smoked chicken is pretty easy...just cook to temp...over-cooking chicken, especially the breast meat, dries out quickly...again, cook to temp. Now, smoked chicken with a crispy skin? That's another story...haven't mastered it, at least not with consistency, so...I'll keep working on that and let you know...LOL!!!

  3. mike65

    mike65 Meat Mopper


    Thank you for taking the time to explain all that. I got bone in skin on thighs that shouldn't take take to long to smoke. I do have a variety of wood chips. Cherry , Apple and peach chips. I'll be soaking 1 of those in water before placing in the smoker. I'll try and do some Qview to share.

  4. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    You're welcome, Mike. No need to soak the smoke wood...just delays the onset of smoke while water vapor escapes from the wood creating visible steam.

    If you get smoke that rolls too fast, try small chunks instead of using just chips. In my gassers I put several sizes of smoke wood in the tray. The smallest goes fast, then next size comes on, and for long smokes (over-nighters) the largest pieces would go 6-8 hours or more. But, for a quickie smoke the chips will do fine.

  5. mike65

    mike65 Meat Mopper

  6. mike65

    mike65 Meat Mopper

  7. mike65

    mike65 Meat Mopper

  8. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Lookin' GOOD!!! I see juices around the edges of the skin...that says enough for me, along with the light golden skin.

    Hey, how was the skin? Bite-through, or chewy? (curiosity always gets me going)

  9. mike65

    mike65 Meat Mopper

    It was chewy.  Alot of flavor on day 2 after the chicken sat all night in the fridge

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