In seven years of competing, I’ve placed in the top 10 a dozen times with these chicken thighs. Before competing, I don’t think I made thighs a single time in my life. Not many people do. The dark meat isn’t as healthy as the white meat, and people tend to do breasts because…well, just because. But I’m giving you a guarantee: Try these once and you’ll do them again and again.
This is a delicious crowd pleasing treat that everyone will absolutely love. All you need is a package of Bone-in, Skin-on Chicken Thighs, Basic Chicken Rub, Your favorite BBQ Sauce, Brine (Recipe Below).
First, and most importantly, with chicken, you must Brine. You can use my Basic Brine or something a little more unique with ingredients like this: Water, Apple Juice, Sprite, Kosher/Sea salt, Pepper.
Brine for at least 30 minutes or up to several hours. Thighs don’t need long. Rinse with cool water and place on tray, skin side down. Dust the underside with your chicken rub. Let sit like that while you go get your smoker/grill ready and have an ice-cold frosty one.
If using your grill, set it up for indirect cooking/smoking. Make sure you have plenty of fruit wood/chips on hand. I personally like to use a mixture of apple and hickory. Just be careful with hickory and chicken.
Now, take your chicken thighs and…kind of roll them so the skin is wrapped completely around, and as little of the meat is exposed as possible. Use a toothpick to hold in place.
They look pretty cool, don’t they? Sprinkle more rub all over. You’re ready to smoke ’em.
Place the thighs as far away from your heat source as possible. At 225, they will smoke for 1.5 – 2 hours. During those 2 hours smoke should never stop billowing. Your neighbors are getting jealous.
While they are smoking, get a small pot and warm up your favorite bbq sauce. If it’s thick sauce you will want to thin it out. I thin my sauce with Coke. I like Coke.
After 2 hours of smoke, bring your pot of thinned hot bbq sauce outside and a trusty pair of tongs that will NOT pierce the meat. Dunk the thighs in the pot of sauce and put back on the grill. For added silliness, sprinkle the thighs with some brown sugar if you want.
After about 15 minutes the sauce should be caramelized and your chicken thighs are ready. Let them rest for just a couple of minutes and dig in. I’m telling you, these things are crazy tasty.
Please leave me a comment once you’ve tried and let me know how it went!