Chicken Thighs

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by spiffy, Mar 5, 2015.

  1. Ok, this is going to seem like a silly question, but I need some help from someone who has a Traeger smoker. I keep destroying my chicken thighs.  I keep trying to bring it to an internal temperature of 165, but the top keeps getting over cooked. I don't want to use internal temperature anymore. I need someone who can tell me what temperature setting and how long to cook chicken thighs on a Traeger smoker.

    Like I said, seems silly I know, but I'm having no luck with the different things I've tried. Thanks.
  2. brooksy

    brooksy Master of the Pit

    It shouldn't matter what cooker you are using. What temp are you cooking at? I'm assuming by tops you mean the skin side? Not quite sure how a treager works. Is the heating element on top? Do you have any pictures of these ruined thighs? I know in my cookers I can cook thighs at 300 for an hour and they are normally good. I think we really need to have more about your process explained
  3. reinhard

    reinhard Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I agree with Brooksy.  Let us know more specifics on temps you are using.  Sounds to me that the temp is too high.  Your grill is a good one.  Reinhard.
  4. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

    I don't have a Traegar but if I remeber correctly they get up to 400 degrees. If you are smoking thighs that high then they will probably burn before being done. Thighs cook great at high temps when you are braising them but I find that when you are smoking them you need to stay at 300 or less.
  5. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    The rub you use could be a factor if it has a lot of sugar in it. I personally like a little char and crispy skin. If your getting burnt chicken that's not done in the middle turn down the heat and increase the time. Low and slow.
  6. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Since no piece of meat is exactly the same, you should still cook to a safe internal temp, no matter what time & temp you use.

    That's how we keep from getting sick.

  7. I believe a little of all of the above is your problem. You didn't say what temp you are using or what rub. As bear said it must be cooked untill it is done.Tell us what you are doing and we will get you going in the right direction.

    Happy smoken.

  8. Brine your thighs for at least 4 hours.  Pat dry and apply rub.  Put thighs in the Traeger on smoke for (180) 30 minutes.  At 30 minutes, apply sauce or mop and crank Traeger to high.  Cook for another 40-45 minutes or until desired internal temp is reached.  For me this has resulted in a nice moist thigh with crispy, bite through skin. 
  9. smokinadam

    smokinadam Smoking Fanatic

    I've done them skin down in a pan of butter after rubbed them down. I'll try to add a link that I posted on how I and many others have cooked their thighs.

    Here is a link that I posted on chicken thighs
    hope this helps you some. I do agree the seasonings will burn and I had that happen using some "rub some chicken" on leg quarters
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2015
  10. Since everyone is asking.

    I've cooked it at 200 degrees, at 225, at 275 and at 325 on different occasions. I am not using rub, I'm using bbq sauce. I have tried keeping the skin on and taking the skin off. Each time, it will cook between 1 to 2 hours to get to the proper internal temperature. I don't have pictures of any of these attempts. Oh, and for Brooksy, yes, I mean the top skin side. It's always hard. I have been trying to find the right combo and having no luck. I prefer to take the skin off so I put the bbq sauce directly on the meat. What I'm hoping someone can do it to say "cook it at 225 for 40 minutes" or whatever the correct temps and times are.

    Thank you all for the help on this.
  11. smokinadam

    smokinadam Smoking Fanatic

    Spiffy, have u looked at the link I posted and what temps I cook mine at?
  12. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

  13. doyles

    doyles Newbie

    I just cooked a half dozen chicken thighs this week using the recipe in the Traeger book and they came out really good.  very moist.  I would  prefer a little more smoke so will be tweeking the next batch.  The Traeger recipe  had the temp set at 350F and cooked for 40-45 minutes, Skin side down and pull at 170F internal temp.   Don't turn the chicken.  

    However there are a number of variables to take into account.

    Bone in or Boneless.  For boneless they recommend only 30 minutes

    BBQ sauce.  If you are cooking the whole time at a high temp like 350, then you probably only want your BBQ sauce on the last 15 minutes.  As mentioned by others the bbq sauce will char easily because of the sugar.  Keep in mind,  BBQ sauce is not a marinade.  Try marinating the thighs for a couple hours in Zesty Italian Dressing, then apply your BBQ sauce the last 20 minutes of your cooking time.

    Size of thighs.  Here in Northern California one of the main brands of chicken is Foster Farms.   I don't like to use these because the pieces are really small and easy to over cook.   I like the ones called Rocky Range which are not quite Organic but from what I call "Scratching About" chickens.  The thighs are much larger and obviously that will affect cooking time. 

    Traeger Temperature- This is one of the more critical items.   You really need to know the temperature profile of your Traeger.  The newer machines have a digital controller and it varies the auger on and off time to control temperature.  I still find that the swings are probably plus minus 25 degrees from the setpoint.  Initially I had even greater temp variation and so I took out the grill, drip pan and heat spreader just so I could watch the Traeger operate.  What I found was that there was a slight slope on my patio for rain drainage and that as the pellets dropped into the firepot, they rolled to the side opposite the heat element.  So the pellets wouldn't start burning until there were pellets next to the heat element and then all of them would burn causing a large overtemp condition.  Solution was to turn the Traeger 180 degrees so that pellets fell immediately against the heat element. 

    Temperature Monitor.  How are you monitoring your temperature? Do you have a Dial gauge in the top lid  of your unit? 

    In Summary,  you do need to cook chicken by its internal temperature.   Biting into a piece of chicken that is not done (red or pink in the center) pretty much ends the meal or causes one to put it all in the Microwave (UGH!!) to finish the cooking.  Be careful about high temps and BBQ sauce too early in the cooking process.  Know what temperature you are actually cooking at.    Personally I would leave the skin on as it helps retain moisture and releases fat.   If you want BBQ sauce on the chicken with no skin then remove the skin and apply BBQ sauce the last 20 minutes. 

    OK,  I am getting a bit wordy.  Hopefully one or two points will help with your next smoke. 
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2015
  14. Have you check that your cabinet probe is accurate and/or if you have the junior model, are you using the dial temp gauge located on the door.

    That would be my first guess.

    I have a larger 075 and I'm still not a fan.  Mainly because I don't use it enough and I keep going back to my Masterbuilt analog unit. 


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