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Smoked Chicken Thighs Brine
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5 from 1 vote

Smoked Chicken Thighs Recipe

Smoked chicken thighs, especially competition smoked chicken thighs, have a relatively unique taste and texture that you cannot really get from an oven, pan or fryer. This is because the dark meat of chicken thighs tends to do a good job of absorbing other flavors; since smoking is all about giving a unique flavor to your meat.

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Chicken Thighs
Servings: 4
Calories: 109kcal


  • Water, 1 cup

  • Juice, apple, 1 cup

  • Soda, Sprite, 1 can (any lemon-lime soda will do)

  • Salt, coarse, 1/2 cup (kosher or sea salt is fine)

  • Pepper, 1 tbsp

  • One package of bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs

  • Poultry rub

  • Sauce, BBQ, use your favorite

  • Soda, Coca-Cola, 1 can (see directions)

  • Optional: Sugar, brown


  • Start by assembling your smoked chicken thighs brine.

  • Allow the chicken to soak in a vessel filled with the water, juice, soda, salt and pepper for anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours.

  • Rinse the meat off with cool water and arrange the thighs over a tray with their skin-side facing downward.

  • Dust the underside of the thighs with your rub and allow the meat to sit and soak in the rub while you prep your smoker for cooking via indirect heat.

  • Roll your thighs so that their skin completely surrounds the meat; you want as little of the actual meat showing as you can manage.

  •  Use toothpicks to keep things in place.

  • Apply more rub.

  • Place the thighs as far away from the heat as you can, setting the temperature to 225°F and letting them cook 2 hours.

  • Use the time that the thighs are smoking to pour your BBQ sauce into a bowl.

  • Since you want a thin sauce for this recipe a thick sauce needs to be thinned out.

  • Consider using a can of Coca-Cola if your sauce is rather thick and gloppy; not only will it be sufficient for basting the chicken, it also gains even more flavor from the soda.

  • When 2 hours have finished, use some non-piercing tongs to grasp each thigh, fully submerge it into the bowl of BBQ sauce and then return it to the grill.

  • Feel free to sprinkle the sauced meat with brown sugar.

  • After 10-15 additional minutes of cooking, the sauce should have fully stuck to the meat and your thighs are ready for plating.

  • After removing the thighs from the grill and waiting a few minutes for them to cook, feel free to dig in.


Serving: 100g | Calories: 109kcal