These Smoked Chicken Thighs are going to be one of the juiciest and most flavorful chicken that you have ever bitten into! Tender, juicy and sticky all in one bite!
Our local grocery store had a killer sale on chicken, and I picked up ten pounds for just a few dollars. It was time to make some smoked chicken thighs with homemade dry rub and Beer BBQ sauce.
🍲 Rub Preparation
This is going to be your “go to” BBQ rub that you can use on just about anything you want. The rub makes a little over one cup, so there is enough for a couple recipes, depending on how much you need to use.
When making this one, you’ll notice that we used one tbsp of smoked paprika and two tbsp of regular or sweet paprika. If you want your rub to be a bit more smoky, swap those amounts. For this recipe, our chicken thighs are already smoked, so to add more smoked paprika would just have been too much.
Step One: Combine all the ingredients into a bowl and stir.
Step Two: Use the appropriate amount needed for your recipe and store the remaining in glass jars or you can choose to store it in the freezer in a freezer safe ziploc bag for up to three months.
🧑🍳 Sauce Preparation
This sweet and tangy BBQ sauce makes me so excited to pour over this smoked chicken. The sauce isn’t too sweet and it isn’t too tangy…it’s just RIGHT! There is a balance here. If you want a tad more sweetness, add more ketchup or brown sugar. If you want a tad more tang, add in a bit more yellow mustard or apple cider vinegar. You seriously have control over the recipe by just playing with a couple ingredients. I like to taste test mine and see if I want to add or delete. Our taste buds have evolved and what we loved five years ago doesn’t always work now.
Step One: Heat up a small saucepan on medium heat with olive oil for a few minutes and then add in onions until they brown.
Step Two: Add in minced garlic and stir to cook for 1-2 minutes. You don’t want it to burn.
Step Three: Add in the remaining ingredients and simmer on low for 25-30 minutes. Stir every 3-4 minutes so the sauce doesn’t stick on the bottom of the pan.
Note: I like my BBQ sauce chunky, so I did not run it through a blender. If you prefer the smooth sauce, pour it into a blender and blend until it is the consistency you prefer. Always do this when it is cool or it will explode in the kitchen!
🔥 Smoking Instructions
Step One: Rub the chicken thighs liberally with the all purpose BBQ rub. Make sure to coat both sides.
Step Two: Set up the grill for indirect heat. I used the plate setter on the Big Green Egg. They call it a convEGGtor now, which is silly. I prefer the term plate setter. If you are using a gas grill, turn off the burners immediately under the chicken.
Step Three: Set the temperature to 225 degrees. When the temperature has stabilized, add a few pieces of your favorite hardwood. Hickory is my go-to.
Step Four: Set the chicken thighs on the grill for about 2.5 hours or until the internal temperature is 165 degrees. I used my favorite remote grill thermometer to keep track of the temperature.
Step Five: When the chicken reaches 165 degrees, baste the top of the thighs with the BBQ sauce. Make sure to completely cover the top and sides. Let it continue to smoke for another 10-15 minutes.
Step Six: Pull the chicken off the grill and let them rest for 15 minutes before digging in.
⚠️ Word of Warning: This is one of those cases where a little goes a long way! You do not need a huge puff of billowing smoke to do the job. It might look good on Instagram, but the taste of that much smoke will be a bit overwhelming. Instead, just use a little bit of hardwood. The chicken will be on the grill for almost three hours, which is plenty of time for it to collect the smoke flavor.
Related Rubs and Sauces
Java Rub – This is so good and is a favorite of ours to give as gifts for Christmas! There is no need to buy those expensive coffee rubs you see in the store when you can quickly make your own at home.
Roast Rub – This rub can be used on chicken, steaks or roasts. This rub is to-die-for delish! Hands down one of our favorites!
Sweet and Spicy BBQ Sauce – This would be another “go to” sauce for Smoked Chicken Thighs is you want a sauce that doesn’t have the beer taste! The spiciness of this sauce only comes from the ground red pepper so you have the control how powerful you make the spicy.
Delicious All Purpose Dry Rub – This is our first All Purpose Rub we ever made about 10 years ago and has been one of our mainstays for years. This is the one I use all the time on Beer Can Chicken and we love it so much we haven’t ever strayed from it, crazy as that sounds!
Easy Cherry Bourbon BBQ Sauce – This is simple sauce to make in under 30 minutes for a great addition for wings or chicken thighs! You can use it as a dipping sauce or you brush on wings before they come off the grill. If you haven’t seen us use a “dunking technique” before, we pour sauce in a bowl and take wings off the grill and swirl them around so they are totally immersed in the sauce and then put them back on the grill to caramelize. I love this, as it gets into every crevice and groove of the chicken. If I have enough sauce, I tend to gravitate to that method.
Smoked Chicken Thighs with Homemade Dry Rub and Beer BBQ Sauce
All Purpose BBQ Rub
- 1/2 cup Brown Sugar
- 2 tbsp Paprika
- 1 tbsp Smoked Paprika
- 1/2 tsp Celery Seed
- 2 tbsp Garlic Powder
- 1 tbsp Onion Powder
- 1 tsp Mustard Powder
- 1/2 tsp Chili Powder
- 1 tbsp Black Pepper coarse ground
- 1 tbsp Kosher Salt coarse ground
Simple Beer BBQ Sauce
- 1 cup Ketchup
- 1/3 cup Onion chopped
- 2 cloves Garlic minced
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 tbsp Brown Sugar
- 1 tsp Yellow Mustard
- 6 oz Beer
- 1 tbsp Molasses
- 1 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- 4 each Chicken Thighs Bone-in, Skin-on
All Purpose BBQ Rub
- Mix all ingredients together and stir. This rub recipe can't get much easier!
- Store in airtight container or in freezer safe ziplock bag to store in freezer
Simple Beer BBQ Sauce
- Heat olive oil in pan over medium high heat. After 4-5 minutes, add onion and cook until starting to brown or about seven minutes.
- Add in garlic and cook 1-2 minutes.
- Add the remaining ingredients and cook over low heat for 25-30 minutes to allow to simmer and flavors to meld together.
- Do a taste test. It is easy to adjust. Add some more brown sugar or ketchup to add more sweet flavors, or add more vinegar and mustard for the tangy flavors.
- Optional: If you like a smooth sauce, run it through your blender for a few seconds. I like mine chunky, so I saved that step. Either way, it tastes the same!
Smoke the Chicken Thighs
- Set up your grill to indirect heat and 225 degrees. After it has reached the desired temperature, add a couple of pieces of your favorite smoking hardwood. I used Hickory. Note: Because these thighs will be on the grill for a couple of hours, there is plenty of time for it to get that smokey flavor. You don't need a huge amount of smoke. A little will do the job.
- Add the bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs to a bowl and use about 1/2 cup of the dry rub to thoroughly coat the entire chicken thigh.
- Place the chicken thighs on the grill. There is no need to turn them over, as the smoke and indirect heat will cook it evenly.
- Smoke for about 2.5 hours. The internal temperature should reach 165 degrees for them to be completely done. When it gets close, use the wireless meat thermometer to notify you when it reaches the target temp.
Baste the Smoked Chicken Thighs
- After the temperature reaches 165 degrees, baste the chicken with your BBQ sauce. I made a homemade BBQ sauce, but you can certainly use a store bought variety if you like.
- Let the chicken smoke for another ten minutes
- Remove and serve!