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smoking chicken legs and thighs

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by keny, Apr 21, 2006.

  1. keny

    keny Fire Starter

    Anyone with any tips on smoking chicken legs and thighs? My wife found some on sale, and I was wondering about smoker temp., time, and what meat temp to remove them? What about the skin-leave it on, or take it off? Any help would be appreciated! Thanks!
  2. bwsmith_2000

    bwsmith_2000 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Greetings KenY,
    I don't know how specific I can get but I'll try. My wife likes the dark meat better than the white. She says it's a lot more moist. Anyway, I found thighs on sale recently so I bought a couple of trays (about three lbs.). I brought them home and washed and dried them, pulled the skin off, rubbed them with olive oil and then sprinkled them with a little salt, lemon pepper and cayenne. I smoked them at 225* with hickory chips. I can't remember how long they were in the smoker but I do remember that I cooked them to 165* with my instant read thermo. Try leaving them in for an hour and take their temp. I suspect that about two hours will take care of it. I just don't remember. But what I do remember is that they were absolutely delicious. I'll definitely be doing them again.
  3. scott in kc

    scott in kc Meat Mopper OTBS Member

    Ken, brining is a good technique for chicken, although not as important for dark meat as light. 2 hours in the brine is good, 4 is better, but I wouldn't go much longer than overnight.

    Here's a link to some good basic brining info and recipes.


    If you're going to rub the chicken, put the rub under the skin, but leave the skin on. I dont usually eat the skin but it will protect the meat and help conserve moisture.

    Chicken will be very forgiving on temp. I usually cook chicken at 275-300 as it isn't tough and doesn't require the extended cooking to tenderize that other Q meats do. Anywhere above 225 will get it done.

    Have a great weekend and happy cooking!!
  4. We buy a lot of the family pack cuts of thighs and bone in breasts.I just season the meat a bit and then smoke for approx 2hrs at 225-250.I then chop some fresh onion and sprinkle some on a square of tin foil,add a few pieces of chicken,add my favorite sauce and wrap it up and place back in smoker for another hour or until done.Its not crispy this way but is always tender and moist.

  5. larry maddock

    larry maddock Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    i cure with tender quik by morton salt.
    they turn out great.

    chicken pieces might need 3 to 3 1/2 at 220 degrees.
  6. veener88

    veener88 Smoke Blower

    I have a very simple way of doing them. The night before I take some 100% apple juice and tent them. The next morning I get it up to about 225deg and about every hour I mope them. Depending on the size they will 2.5 to 4 hours with the quarters. It is very easy to do and the apple just adds a nice taste. I will use apple wood also.
  7. prplptcrzr2003

    prplptcrzr2003 Smoke Blower OTBS Member

    Hi KenY,

    We at our home absolutely devour legs and thighs cooked outdoors! But I don't really smoke them all the way, per say. Basically, you can use whatever dry seasoning you prefer; I use garlic powder, salt, black pepper, spanish paprika and then I stick them in a baggie and pour about a cup of "Mojo" (Goya makes this - you can find it in the ethnic section of your supermarket) and leave them marinating in the fridge overnight. I leave the skin on, and when I fire up the smoker/grill, I use hickory cooking them using the indirect method and let them smoke awhile, pretty much until they lose their "sheen" and the wood stops giving off alot of smoke. Then I start moving them little by little with tongs over the coals, which are white hot by this time and cook them in batches. They carmelize nicely while cooking, and I cook them until a piece comes off easily (I don't like using a thermometer because you have to poke them and that causes juices to run out and flare-ups - bad! bad!) I usually take one out that looks done and cut it open on a plate (hey if it's done, snack time!). You can then "gauge" the "doneness" of the others, based on how the 1st one you sampled looks. Makes sense? They always come out super juicy and tasty for me this way. Baste them with barbeque sauce (optional) like 10-15 min before taking them out so they can really carmelize! Give it a try....
  8. cheech

    cheech Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    What I do is brine the meat in:
    1 lbs of salt
    1 lbs of brown sugar
    and about 2 quarts of water
    boil those ingredients with a bottle of pickling spice.

    Then once it is cool at the meat to it and add enough water to cover and then let sit over night

    Smoke at about 225F and enjoy
  9. bankerman32

    bankerman32 Newbie

    If you want to Blow everyone away soak overnight in Texas Pete's. I've done 275 for 2 hours and low and slow at 165.. The higher seems to work better and drys out less. I did 50 legs for our block party... Gone in 15 minutes. Halfway through do a Texas Pete dip and switch racks top to bottom, have fun with it is a huge hit here in Charlotte!
    bikercowboy likes this.
  10. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Legendary Pitmaster OTBS Member

    There is a lot of discusions about the Best" way to do Chicken. I like too do mine at around 300*F and skin-on to get the flavor , then discard at the table if you want (I like limp , greasy , , fat of the skin and eat it all.[​IMG].You cou;d do all the Brining(which is a good thing by the way) , then drying ,setting in the Fridge , and doing a compound Butter under the skin to help vrisp it up , but all that is sibjective.

    The temp. you cook at can vary from 250*F to 375*F , depending if you did the other steps to have a chance at more crispy skin . What you need to watch is the temp. of the Meat. A 165*F leg or Thigh is good , more if you like it drier. The meat may look a bit 'pinkish' but it's done... the heat and smoke chemistry doe that , it's done at 165*F ( check your therm. before cooking)

    As I said before , the skin is a subjective thing , do what makes you feel better.

    I know I re-stated everyone elses suggestions , however , We want you to be safe and follow the Temp. rule to the letter . Your Pride is riding on it [​IMG].

    Have fun ,Happy Holidays and as always  . . .
  11. Smoking some legs and thighs today, leaving the skin on.  Was wondering when I place them on the smoker is it better  place skin side up or skin side down.
  12. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

     I always do skin side up.

    Pulled from smoker

    Finished on a hot grill to crisp up the skin........not that I should be eating it.  [​IMG]
  13. Flash, those chicken quarters look great.

    I did the skin side up at 250 for about 2 hours till they got to 167 F,  then cranked up to smoker to 325 for about 15 minutes to try to crisp up the skin.  Chicken came out good, but I am sure not as crispy as hitting them with some direct heat at the end on the grill.

  14. raastros2

    raastros2 Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    yummy....the thighs are my favorite part of the chicken
  15. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Correct, the last time I tried just using the smoker, I raised temps around 160 and took them to 180 (my wife wants chicken DONE) and they still did not get crispy enough. Next time I will try starting at 150º.
  16. atomic dog

    atomic dog Fire Starter

    For what it's worth this is how I do turkey/chicken thighs and legs...

    Brine with apple juice(or water), sugar and salt in a pot.  Enough to make the brine as salty as sea water and sweet enough to detect it as sweet and salty.  I add a pinch of allspice and ground clove -just a pinch and a bay leaf.  I brine them overnight in a pot for 12 to 24 hours ...and prefer 24 hours.  Smoke with a modest amount of dry mesquite a few times while cooking at 235 for a few hours until meat thermometer says 165.  This is just how we have always done it, and it comes out good to our taste buds.
  17. brad t

    brad t Newbie

    Has anyone smoked boneless, skinless thighs? I was planning to marinate with apple juice, water, sea salt and then lightly season before smoking them. Thanks!:grilling_smilie:
  18. Usually when I do thighs , I do 20lbs at a time. I brine over night in sugar , salt , water and some garlic powder. Smoke at 225° -270°for about 2 hours. I dip them in white sauce and smoke for another 15 minutes. Let rest and I pull them for sandwiches, tacos and spaghetti. I don't worry about crisp skin, the Doberman and the Manchester don't care either way.
  19. ugreganddonna

    ugreganddonna Newbie

    Hi there, I brine my chicken legs in simple poultry brine, 3/4 cup salt and cup of sugar,( I use cup of honey instead), I add bay leaves, and garlic, (whatever kind of spices you like).  Brine for 24 hours, smoke for 6 hours at 225 in Mastercraft smoker, easy.  Turn out great. Pulled the skins off before brining this time to see how they would turn out.  Make sure the meat is patted dry before smoking. Good luck, experiment and you will have success.  Firechild