These Traeger Chicken Thighs will be the best chicken of your life. Tender bbq chicken thighs made in a pellet smoker are so easy. And every bite from the moist bone-in chicken to the crispy chicken skin tastes amazing.
In life, there are a few different foods that when presented in front of me, I have a strong urge to pick them up with my hands and devour them. These Traeger Chicken Thighs create that feeling in me.
The reason I love chicken thighs, is I feel they deliver the same flavors and textures that we love with wings, but there is substantially more meat on them and they create a better case for being the main course and not just an appetizer. The crispy skin and the moist dark meat of the chicken thigh leave me satisfied.
My wife's favorite part of these is the crispy skin. Crispy is her thing. Occasionally we will order wings from one of our favorite restaurants and she always demands extra crispy. Having the skin on these thighs maybe a few extra calories, but it is worth it for that yummy crunch!
Make sure to try our Traeger Beer Can Chicken next!
Is preheating important?
YES! Whenever you are looking to cook nice crispy chicken thighs on pellet grill or any other grill or smoker, you must preheat it and bring the temperature up before you place chicken thighs on the grill. Additionally, when you are cooking on the pellet grill or smoker, you also want to make sure that it has that good smoking going on. Because these are smaller it will be a quicker smoke and if we are looking for that bbq chicken, smoked chicken flavor, we need to make sure those wood flavors are in full throttle.
When choosing the wood pellet for the smoke, pick something that you enjoy. I went with a lighter flavor and selected the Traeger cherry wood pellets. It only used about 1-2 lbs of pellets for this recipe.
How to make Traeger Chicken Thighs
Step One: Season the chicken thighs.
Expert Tip: Be sure to coat the chicken well and then flip them over to coat the other side.
Step Two: Place the seasoned chicken thighs skin side up on your preheated Traeger pellet grill grate at 325°F. Cook them until the internal temperature reaches 160°F. This will take approximately 40 minutes.
Step Three: Remove the grilled chicken from the Traeger grill and let rest for about five minutes. This helps the moisture stay inside the meat when it is sliced. The internal temp may rise to 165 degrees on your meat thermometer but since this is dark meat, the chicken will not dry out.
Step Four: Serve and enjoy!
How to Season Smoked Chicken Thighs
All you need to season them is a little of my favorite Smoked Paprika Rub. It has just 4 savory ingredients but a ton of flavor:
- Kosher Salt
- Black Pepper
- Garlic Powder
- Smoked Paprika
This rub is also perfect on Traeger Chicken Wings too. For a couple more variations you can add brown sugar or a brown sugar sweetener for a sweet rub or some cayenne pepper for a spicy rub.
What should I serve with Traeger Chicken Thighs?
I served these chicken thighs as the main course with a delicious homemade broccoli slaw alongside some Instant Pot baked potatoes with butter. If you want to cook the whole meal in the Traeger, this smoked mac and cheese will make it pretty easy. You can serve this as a main course or even as an appetizer. I like to eat these with my hands and I am guilty of cleaning the bone pretty well. If you want to be a little more elegant at dinner, you are free to use a fork and knife. These thighs will not disappoint.
You can serve them with bbq sauce if you would like but we generally find that they don't need anything extra after being smoked. We like the smokey flavor to shine through.
How do I reheat leftovers?
The best way to heat up leftover chicken thighs is to heat them skin-side down in a skillet on your stovetop. This helps the chicken skin to crisp up again.
Alternatively, you can cut up leftover chicken and use it in salads such as a chicken salad or mix it into a chicken casserole before baking.
Next time you are trying to figure out what you are cooking, try making Traeger grilled chicken thighs recipe. They are delicious and will be the best smoked chicken thighs you've ever tasted.
- 3 lbs bone in chicken thighs
- 2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Mix onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and smoked paprika. Season the chicken thighs with the seasoning mixture. Be sure to coat both sides of the chicken.
- Preheat grill or smoker to 325°F. Once the grill is hot, place chicken thighs onto the grill and cook until the internal temperature reaches 160°F. It will take approximately 40 minutes.
- Remove smoked chicken thighs from the grill and let them rest for about 5 minutes then serve.