Learn how to make smoky and succulent BBQ chicken thighs with this easy Traeger Chicken Thighs recipe. It works with bone-in or boneless thighs, can be adapted for any pellet grill, and leaves you with wood-smoked chicken every time.
If you love my Traeger Chicken Breasts as much as I do, then you’ll fall head over heels for these Traeger Chicken Thighs as well!
Smoking chicken thighs on a Traeger gives you juicy, succulent, and show-stopping chicken with layers of wood-smoked flavors.
To start, the thighs are marinated in a simple mixture made from pantry staples to infuse them with tangy and savory flavors that complement their robust smokiness. Throw them on the Traeger grill and in under 30 minutes, you have a mouthwatering dish!
For the best meal for grilling season, pair your Traeger smoked chicken thighs with any of these Sauces for Chicken and these Side Dishes for BBQ Chicken.
- Chicken thighs – This recipe works well with both bone-in and boneless chicken thighs but keep in mind that bone-in cuts take slightly longer to cook. You can also use frozen chicken thighs but I recommend letting them thaw in the fridge before cooking.
- Olive oil
- Red wine vinegar – Oil and red wine vinegar are used as the base of the chicken marinade. Red wine vinegar is particularly tangy and robust, making it a perfect choice for smoked chicken recipes.
- Lemon juice and zest – These add a vibrant and zesty flavor to the chicken and also act as a natural tenderizer.
- Garlic cloves
- Honey – This adds a subtle layer of sweetness and caramelizes around the outside of the chicken.
- Herbs and spices – You need a blend of dried oregano, onion powder, kosher salt, and black pepper.
I love the tangy-savory chicken marinade in this recipe but you can easily swap it for another option. Find some more marinade and seasoning ideas that go well with chicken thighs in the Variations section below.
How to cook chicken thighs on a Traeger grill
Whisk all of the chicken thigh marinade ingredients together in a medium bowl.
Place the chicken in a large ziploc bag or shallow dish and pour the marinade over top. Transfer the chicken to the fridge and let it marinate.
When it’s done, take the chicken out of the fridge and let it sit on the kitchen counter for about 20 minutes. Lay the chicken thighs on the preheated Traeger grill and grill until they’re cooked through.
Transfer the grilled chicken thighs to a clean plate, tent them with foil, and let them rest. Afterward, slice and serve!
Tips and tricks
- Let the marinated chicken rest on the kitchen counter for 20 minutes after taking it out of the fridge. This way, it’ll come down to room temperature and cook more evenly.
- Always let the chicken thighs rest for 5 minutes after they’re done smoking. This helps the juices in the meat settle and makes the chicken extra juicy.
- I recommend using hickory, apple, or mesquite wood pellets to give the chicken distinct smoky notes without overpowering its natural flavors.
You can easily put your own spin on this smoked chicken recipe using different sauces and seasonings. These ideas should help inspire you:
- Swap the marinade – Give the chicken a nice vibrant flavor with my Peruvian Chicken Marinade, Greek Chicken Marinade, or Pickle Juice Marinade.
- Baste the chicken – Brush the leftover chicken marinade over the chicken thighs as they grill so they soak in more flavor. My BBQ Sauce, Jerk Sauce, Peri Peri Sauce, and Lemon Butter Dill Sauce work well as bastes, too!
- Season with a dry rub – If you want to skip the marinade, you can rub my Chicken Dry Rub, Chicken Wing Dry Rub, Cajun Seasoning, Italian Seasoning, or Taco Seasoning over the chicken thighs instead.
Smoked chicken thighs are best served with a flavorful sauce. You can drizzle my Creamy Green Sauce, Chicken Gravy, Aji Amarillo Sauce, or any of these 25+ Delicious Sauces for Chicken on top or on the side.
To make them a part of a well-rounded meal, serve the chicken thighs with any of these wonderful side dishes:
I recommend marinating the chicken thighs for at least 30 minutes, although letting them soak overnight will give you extra flavorful and juicy results.
The total cooking time will depend on if you’re using bone-in or boneless chicken thighs. Boneless cuts will only take between 15 to 20 minutes to grill, while bone-in thighs will take a bit longer (about 30 to 35 minutes).
Use a meat thermometer for this part! Insert the thermometer in the thighs as they cook and when they reach a safe internal temperature of 165ºF, they’re done.
Store the leftover thighs in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 to 4 days or in the freezer for 3 to 4 months.
Wine pairings for smoked chicken thighs
You can pair the chicken with any of these Wine Pairings for Chicken but I particularly love the smoked thighs with a subtly sweet white wine, like a Riesling, Pinot Grigio, or Chardonnay.
More BBQ chicken recipes
More smoker recipes
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- 1 pound chicken thighs (bone in or boneless)
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 lemon (zested and juiced)
- 4 cloves garlic (grated or minced)
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1 Tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
In a medium bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the marinade ingredients.
Place the chicken in a large ziploc bag or casserole dish, and pour in the marinade.
Allow chicken to marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, up to overnight.
Once ready to cook, remove the chicken from the refrigerator and allow it to sit on the counter for 20 minutes.
Preheat your Traeger (or other pellet grill) to 400 degrees.
Grill boneless chicken thighs for 15-20 minutes, or bone-in chicken thighs for 30-35 minutes, until cooked through.
Remove from the grill and set aside to a clean plate. Tent with foil and allow to rest for 5 minutes before slicing and serving. Enjoy!
I recommend using a meat thermometer to test for doneness. Insert the thermometer in the thighs as they cook and when they reach a safe internal temperature of 165ºF, they’re done.
Calories: 394kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 18g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 111mg | Sodium: 962mg | Potassium: 294mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 96IU | Vitamin C: 15mg | Calcium: 26mg | Iron: 1mg
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