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Crispy Skin Smoked Chicken Thighs

Crispy Skin Smoked Chicken Thighs at

I love smoked chicken. The only downside has been the skin. If you smoke chicken at low temperatures you get a nice smoke flavour but the skin can be rubbery. You can ameliorate this by throwing it on a hot grill but that can cause too much charring. Or, you can cook the chicken over higher heat which crisps the skin but cuts the time for smoke flavour and often ends up with charred parts. I decided to do some thighs in my WSM Mini and try to get a crispy skin without charring it and still getting a good smoke flavour.

This was an experiment so I took six chicken thighs and did three thighs in two different methods in an attempt to get a crispy skin.

I started by brushing three thighs with melted butter and three with olive oil.

I sprinkled Cabela’s Chicken Rub over the thighs brushed with butter and a Cajun seasoning blend over the other three.

I fired my WSM mini with a full chimney of coals and two chunks of apple wood. I got the temperature up to 450 F. The reason I let the heat get that high was I intended to brush the thighs with oil or butter every ten minutes and when you open a smoker that often, there will be a drop in heat.

I put the thighs in skin side down, brushed the other side with oil or melted butter and put the cover on for 10 minutes.

Crispy Skin Smoked Chicken Thighs 1

Every ten minutes, I turned the thighs and brushed them with oil or butter. I cooked the thighs for a total of 40 minutes. By the time I had completed the smoke, the temperature inside the mini was down to 300 F.

Crispy Skin Smoked Chicken Thighs 2

I used my Thermapento make sure the internal temperature was higher than 165 F and took the thighs off the smoker.

Crispy Skin Smoked Chicken Thighs 3

The Verdict

WOW! The skin on this chicken was incredibly thin and crispy without being charred. It is the most perfect chicken skin I have ever accomplished. I will be experimenting with this to get great seasonings and sauces to go with it.

I found no particular preference between the olive oil and butter so I will likely go with the olive oil in the future. It is healthier and easier to use olive oil.

Please try this. It is great.

The Old Fat Guy

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8 Responses

    1. Thanks! Obviously it isn’t as strong as when you cook low and slow. However, there were smoke overtones. Next time I think I will use hickory instead of apple just because it has a stronger smoke flavour than the apple.

    1. Thanks, Chrissy! We have been having a long hot summer here in the Canadian Rockies. I could use some cold for a while.

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