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Marinated Smoked Chicken Thighs on the Traeger

22 Reviews

We have smoked chicken breasts, a whole chicken and chicken wings so it was high time we share our smoked chicken thighs recipe. Chicken thighs have the best flavor and we are ramping that flavor up in the Traeger!

We start with a sweet smoky marinade and allow the chicken thighs to soak in all that tasty flavor. Then we smoke them on the Traeger.

A serving plate filled with juicy marinated smoked chicken thighs. Copped parsley is sprinkled on top of the chicken and a sliced chicken thigh is on the cutting board next to the plate of chicken.

Remember how we used our Traeger as our oven pretty much all of last summer while our kitchen was being remodeled? We love our Traeger so much! Not only does it make delicious food (practically on its own), but it also saved us last summer and is a great way to avoid turning on the oven when it’s scorching hot outside!


What Ingredients are Needed for Smoked Chicken Thighs?

Grab your chicken thighs and all the rest of these ingredients for the best smoked chicken thighs:

  • Chicken Thighs
  • Honey
  • Soy Sauce
  • All Spice
  • Cayenne
  • Cinnamon
  • Ginger
  • Yellow Onion
  • Garlic
  • Dark Brown Sugar
  • Corn Syrup
  • Water
  • BBQ Rub

A plate with marinated, smoked chicken thighs. A brush dripping with marinade is next to the chicken and a bowl of marinade is in the background.

How to Make Smoked Chicken Thighs

The first step in making these smoked thighs is to decide if you are going to smoke the meat in a pan in the smoker (this is the way I prefer to do it) or directly on the grill. If you want to cook them directly on the grill, save about a third of the marinade to use later.
The next step is to make the marinade. We like to pour everything directly into the ziplock bag that we are going to marinate the chicken in…less clean up! Put all the ingredients into the bag and then squish everything together to combine.
NOTE: If you’re grilling directly on the grill, reserve a third of the marinade for later now.
Add the chicken to the bag and let it marinate in the refrigerator for 1-12 hours.
When you’re ready to start smoking, place all the chicken thighs and marinade into your pan.
A large dish with chicken thighs marinating in a dark brown sauce.
Now it’s time to get that Traeger going! Heat it to 225 degrees Fahrenheit and let it come to temperature for 10 minutes. Place your pan of chicken into the smoker and close the lid. 
Let it smoke for 10 minutes and then turn the heat up to 400 and cook for 15 more minutes.
Then flip the chicken over and let it cook until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees (10-15 more minutes).
Pull out the chicken thighs to a cutting board, tent it with foil, and let it rest. This is key to having the juiciest chicken!
Pour the leftover marinade into a pan and heat it to a boil on the stove top. In a separate dish, whisk together the water and cornstarch, and then add it to the marinade. This will thicken the marinade slightly and make if perfect to brush on top of the chicken before serving.
A serving plate filled with marinated, smoked chicken thighs. There is juicy marinade on the plate and the thighs are sprinkled with fresh green herbs.

How Long to Smoke Chicken Thighs?

For this recipe, it should take about 40 minutes for your chicken thighs to come to a safe internal temperature of 165 degrees. It may take a little longer depending on the thickness of your chicken thighs and the consistency of the heat in your smoker.

Why Choose Chicken Thighs?

Chicken thighs are very affordable and in my opinion, have the best flavor. They also tend to stay more moist and tender than a chicken breast might. Chicken breasts are more lean though, so if you are watching fat and calories, go with chicken breasts. We have a great smoked chicken breast recipe that you will love!

What Wood is Best to Use for Smoking Chicken?

This is really up to personal preference, but we prefer either apple or a combination of apple and hickory.

A sliced marinated smoked chicken thigh. Chopped fresh parsley is sprinkled on the chicken and the cutting board. A serving dish with more chicken is in the background.

Do You Need To Brine Chicken Before Smoking?

You do not have to brine chicken before smoking it.

Brine does enhance the flavor of meats, but we prefer marinating for this recipe.

How Long Will Smoked Chicken Keep?

Smoked chicken will keep for 7 days in the refrigerator.

Does Smoked Chicken Have To Be Refrigerated?

Smoked chicken should be refrigerated within 2 hours of being removed from the smoker.

Can You Freeze Smoked Chicken?

Smoked chicken can be frozen for 3-6 months.A serving plate of marinated smoked chicken thighs sprinkled with fresh green herbs.

What to Eat with Smoked Chicken Thighs?

These are perfect for feeding a crowd at a gathering with friends or family. With any good smoked chicken dish, you need some classic BBQ sides! Here are a few of our favorites:

And just for good measure, you should make a batch of our Biscoff homemade ice cream for dessert!


Smoked chicken thighs in a sweet smoky marinade needs to be next up on your summer BBQing menu! They are so quick and easy too…just 40 minutes in the smoker and they’re ready to go!

More Smoked Recipes You’ll Love:

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A sliced marinated smoked chicken thigh. Chopped fresh parsley is sprinkled on the chicken and the cutting board. A serving dish with more chicken is in the background.

Marinated Smoked Chicken Thighs on the Traeger

4.55 from 22 votes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings: 6


  • 5-7 Chicken thighs Boneless, skinless


  • 1/4 Cup Honey
  • 1/2 Cup Soy Sauce
  • 1/8 teaspoon All Spice
  • 1/8 teaspoon Cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon Ginger ground
  • 1/2 Onion Yellow, minced
  • 5 Cloves Garlic minced
  • 1/3 Cup Dark Brown Sugar or up to 2/3 Cup (See Note)
  • 1 Tablespoon BBQ Rub


  • 2 teaspoons Cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon Water


  • Before beginning, decide if you’d like to smoke the thighs directly on the smoker or in a pan, (which is how I choose to do it). If directly on the grill, you’ll need to save some of the marinade for serving. 
  • In a large ziplock bag, add the marinade ingredients. Seal the bag and squish to combine the ingredients. 
  • Open the bag and carefully drop in the chicken. 
  • Allow to marinate in the fridge for 1-12 hours. 
  • Heat the smoker to 225 for 10 minutes. 
  • Pour the chicken and marinade into a disposable metal pan and close the lid. Smoke the chicken for 10 minutes. 
  • Turn the heat to 400 and cook for 15 minutes longer. 
  • Flip the chicken over and cook for 10-15 minutes more or until 165 degrees.
  • Remove the chicken to a cutting board and tent with foil. 
  • Pour the remaining marinade into a small saucepan and heat to a boil. If you smoked the chicken directly on the grill, use the marinade that you reserved for the next steps.
  • In a small dish stir the water and cornstarch together, then whisk together with the marinade and cook until slightly thickened. 
  • Remove from the heat and serve with the chicken immediately.


For a sweeter marinade use 2/3 cup brown sugar.
Smoked chicken can be refrigerated for up to 4 days.
Nutrition Facts
Marinated Smoked Chicken Thighs on the Traeger
Amount Per Serving (1 thigh)
Calories 325 Calories from Fat 144
% Daily Value*
Fat 16g25%
Saturated Fat 4g25%
Cholesterol 92mg31%
Sodium 1159mg50%
Potassium 281mg8%
Carbohydrates 29g10%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 27g30%
Protein 18g36%
Vitamin A 91IU2%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 28mg3%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

A serving plate filled with juicy marinated smoked chicken thighs. Copped parsley is sprinkled on top of the chicken and a sliced chicken thigh is on the cutting board next to the plate of chicken.


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Healthy Habits That Help Me!

About the authors

carrian feik cheney oh sweet basil

Cade and Carrian have three children and love to spend time together whether it’s vacationing or snuggled up on the couch for a good movie.

And this family especially loves to eat.

They love everything from the keep you fit and healthy to the get out your sweat pants indulgent and everything in between.

But most of all, they love the memories made, shared and treasured and it’s all thanks to a meal shared together with loved ones.

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Recipe Rating


  • So at what point do you take them out of the pan from smoking, and place them on the grill? I don’t see that in the recipe. It only mentions “flip the chicken”. I am assuming thats after its been on the grill?

    • Reply
    • Hey Bob! You can choose to smoke them in a pan or directly on the grill. Either way you do it, you’ll flip the chicken part way through the cooking time (either in the pan or on the grill). I hope this helps!

      • Reply
  • I was using the recipe from Hawaii for SHOYU CHICKEN until I found yours MUCH BETTER. I use COCO AMINOS in place of the Soy Sauce to make it low salt plus I add 2 Tablespoons of fresh lime juice to the marinade which perks it up a bit.

    • Reply
    • Hi Bruce! That sounds so delicious! Thank you so much for the feedback!

      • Reply
  • So not only does this recipe not specify which ingredients are for the Marinade without reading the asinine novel that every boilerplate internet recipe needs to have these days (I mean I’m not dumb. I can tell. But plenty of people are that dumb), but this author also purports that you SMOKE SOMETHING WHILE ITS SUBMERGED IN A LIQUID.

    I pretty much just grabbed this recipe for the ingredient list (Which is perfectly fine), but man this recipe smacks of a lack of editing.

    • Reply
    • Hello! Thank you for the feedback. I have clarified the ingredients list to make it more clear which ingredients are for the marinade. We do provide a “Jump to Recipe” button at the top of every post so you can skip past the post if that is not the way you prefer to learn a recipe. There are also instructions for smoking these on the grill or in a pan so are free to choose it either way. We have found smoking them in the pan keep them extra juicy and soaks in that smoky flavor. It also make a delicious smoky sauce to go on top!

      • Reply
    • What a nasty person you seem to be.

      • Reply
    • The marinade will take on the smoke flavor, therefore adding smoky flavor to the chicken that it is cooking in. The same principle applies if you add a pan of baked beans on the smoker. The liquid absorbs the smoke and adds an extra dimension of flavor.
      dbstuff, there is a real human on the other side of your screen who reads your harsh comment. If you need to critique, please be kind.

      • Reply
      • Thanks for the support Mae!

    • Wow what a sad life dbstuff must have criticizing free Internet content. I look forward to making this recipe soon. Thank you for taking the time to post!

      • Reply
      • Thank you so much! We would love to hear what you think!

Healthy Habits That Help Me!