Traeger Chicken Thighs – Recipe and Cooking Guide

Hey Smokers, and welcome to my post where we will run through my Traeger chicken thighs recipe and cooking guide. As you may or may not know, this site is all about cooking on my Traeger Pro Series 22 Pellet Smoker and seeing where we can take things. And today, my wife told me to eat some chicken.

Traeger Chicken Thighs – Header

Well, not as a direct command, rather the simple sentence of “There are some chicken thighs in the fridge that have to be eaten tomorrow – I will be out so why don’t you cook them for your lunch?”. Well yes, yes I will!

So light up the smoker I did!

Traeger Chicken Thighs: What You’ll Need

Ok, so below is what I used to cook me some smoked chicken thighs:

  • Chicken Thighs ( I only cooked 4 but obviously you can cook as many as you like)
  • Rub – I used a shop-made option however below is a home made option if you would prefer.

Most recipes I have seen here highly recommend the use of bone-in thighs with the skin on. I can definitely see the advantages there in the crispiness and flavor of the skin alone so will do my best to find some and add to this post. I used boneless and skinless thighs (I know, couldn’t get further away from the recommendations right) because that is what we had.

For the Rub:

  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional, for a spicy kick)


The Cooking Process

This is what I did and when:

Preparing the chicken:

I would like to say that this was a long and precise process but effectively I ripped the top off the chicken tray, poured my rub all over it and then covered it in cling wrap overnight in the fridge. If however you are using your own run, then:

  • In a small bowl, mix together all the ingredients for the rub.
  • Pat the chicken thighs dry with paper towels. This helps the skin get crisper.
  • Brush each chicken thigh lightly with olive oil, then generously apply the rub to both sides of the chicken thighs.

Smoking the chicken:

Preheat the smoker to /135°C/275°F and place the chicken thighs directly on the grill grates (skin side up if you have the skin on).

Close the lid and smoke the chicken thighs until they reach an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) when checked with a meat thermometer. This should take about 1.5 to 2 hours, depending on the size of the thighs and the consistency of your smoker’s temperature.

I didn’t use a thermometer for my thighs as they boneless, meaning I can see when they are cooked. They took just over an hour to cook through whilst still remaining moist. If you are using this type of thigh (boneless and skinless), then I don’t recommend cooking them for much longer than that as they may dry out.

Traeger chicken thigh - cooked thighs

Finishing Touches:

If you had skin on chicken and prefer a crispier skin, increase the temperature of your pellet smoker to 400°F (204°C) during the last 10-15 minutes of cooking. However, keep a close eye on the chicken to prevent burning.

Once the chicken thighs reach the desired internal temperature, remove them from the smoker and let them rest for about 5-10 minutes.

My Results

I really enjoyed them. The smoke flavor is not real strong – which is to be expected as they were only in there for an hour or so. I would also strongly suggest using a strong rub on each piece if there is no skin to add some taste to them.

So, would I do it again rather than just cook them in a fry pan on the stove with some garlic salt? Sure, as long as I can find a stronger rub – with maybe a little more chili or paprika – then they are a good little addition to the lunchtime salad.

Maybe I could wrap them in bacon as well… hmmmmm


  • Wood Pellet Choice: The type of wood pellets you choose can influence the flavor of your smoked chicken. Hickory and applewood are popular for their strong and sweet-smoky flavors, respectively, but feel free to experiment with other types like cherry or maple for a milder smoke taste.
  • Monitor Temperature: Maintaining a consistent temperature in your pellet smoker is key to perfectly smoked chicken thighs. Use a meat thermometer to monitor the internal temperature of the chicken without opening the smoker too often, as this can lead to heat loss.
  • Not too long: Chicken can dry out very quickly so watch your cooking times closely and don’t let them overcook.


So there you have it, my recipe and cooking guide for some Traeger Chicken Thigh action. I hope it has been of assistance but as usual, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to reach out by commenting below. I would also love to hear of your own experiences, preferences or suggestions here as well.

Are there any other products you have been looking at but want to know more about? If so, please comment below and I will do my best to get some details for you.

Until next time

Have fun and get smoking!


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