These Traeger Smoked Chicken Thighs are so moist, easy, and foolproof. After marinating, they cook in about an hour and a half, making them perfect for days when you don't have hours to babysit your Traeger.
Why We Love These Chicken Thighs
They're easy: We marinate our chicken thighs in a simple, four-ingredient marinade, throw them on the Traeger for an hour and a half, and serve them with vegetables and some kind of starch for a quick, easy, and delicious dinner.
They're inexpensive: Chicken thighs are a relatively inexpensive cut of meat—I can usually get 3.5 pounds for about $5 at our local grocery store. The ingredients in the marinade are things we usually already have in our pantry, so this meal comes together relatively cheaply.
They're foolproof: We've made these chicken thighs dozens of times and they always come out moist and delicious, even if we don't perfectly measure the marinade ingredients or forget to set a timer while they're on the Traeger.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
Chicken thighs: We use bone-in and skin-on chicken thighs. You can get big (~5 pound) packages of them at Sam's or Costco for a really good price. We usually go that route and freeze half of them for another date.
Frank's RedHot Sauce: Frank's is a cayenne-pepper based hot sauce that gives the chicken a great flavor without adding a lot of heat. Don't skip it!
Honey or Maple Syrup: We use honey or maple syrup as a sweetener in the marinade. They help the chicken caramelize while it's cooking and add a lovely flavor to the meat. You can use either—they both work great.
Soy Sauce: Substitute coconut aminos or tamari for gluten free.
Poultry BBQ dry rub (optional): We've made these chicken thighs with and without dry rub and they're great either way. If you like BBQ flavors, I recommend adding it; if you want more neutral chicken that can be used for a variety of different meals, I'd leave it off. I'd also leave it off if you're planning to discard the skin. If you're looking for a great dry rub, we love our Kansas City BBQ rub recipe and Kosmos Q Dirty Bird dry rub.
See recipe card for full ingredient list and amounts.
Step 1: Add chicken thighs, Frank's sauce, honey or maple syrup, soy sauce, and garlic to a gallon baggie and shake to combine. Place in the refrigerator to marinate for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours.
Step 2: Heat your Traeger to 225°F.
Step 3: Transfer the chicken thighs to a sheet pan or plate. Discard the marinade. If you're using BBQ rub, sprinkle a generous amount on both sides of the thighs and rub it in with your hands.
Step 4: Place the chicken thighs onto your preheated Traeger. Cook for 1 hour, flipping halfway.
Step 5: Turn the heat to 275 and cook for an additional 20-30 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F and the skin reaches your desired crispiness.
- Marinate the chicken as long as you have time to, up to 24 hours. The longer it marinates, the more moist and flavorful it will be.
- Try to keep the temperature on your Traeger steady for the duration of the cooking time. Minimize the amount of time you leave the lid open. If it's cold outside, try using a Traeger insulation blanket (or, as I call it, the Traeger coat).
- Allow your chicken to rest about 10 minutes before cutting into it. Otherwise, all the juices will flow out.
- You can make this chicken on any pellet grill (or a regular grill). Just follow the same instructions and stick with the same temperatures/times.
Frequently asked questions
Yes! Follow the same instructions, keeping the temperature of your grill/smoker around a constant 225°F for the first hour and 275°F for the last 30 minutes or so.
Store the leftovers in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. We like to reheat ours in our air fryer at 400°F for a few minutes or until warm and crispy.
Chicken thighs take about an hour and a half on the Traeger. We cook ours at 225°F for the first hour and crank it up to 275°F for the last half hour or so.
Side Dish Ideas
These side dishes pair perfectly with these Traeger smoked chicken thighs: