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I love chicken thighs and think I do a pretty good job on cooking them. I have tried techniques that give crispy skin but have decided I like bite through the skin better. Skin that is not at all flabby, has a nice texture and doesn’t pull of the thigh when you bite it. I have come close but never got it quite perfect.

I have heard lots of techniques of taking the skin off, scraping the fat and putting it back on. I have resisted as it seemed like a Pain In the Anterior (PIA). Finally, I decided I had to give it a try to see if it would give me that perfect skin.

I started by taking the skin of the thigh and trimming any large pieces of fat off the thigh.

I used a very sharp knife almost parallel to the skin to scrape the fat off the skin.

I quickly learned that the fat forms a paste that coats the edge of the blade and you have to wipe it off frequently while scraping. You will rapidly develop a messy goo of chicken fat.

I sprinkled the skinned thigh with barbecue rub. I used my Basic BBQ Rub.

I wrapped the scraped chicken skin around the thigh.

I gave it a coating of SPOG (salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder).

Another PIA factor. To get really good skin, it is recommended you cook it in butter skin side down in a pan to render more fat from the skin. I am cheap and added some oil to the butter. I took a roasting pan and added melted butter 1/8 inch thick. Then I added another 1/8 inch of oil.

I put the chicken in, skin side down. I put it in a preheated 275 F smoker.

I smoked for 45 minutes and then turned the thigh over and dipped the non-skin side in the pan and put the chicken directly on the rack.

I smoked for about 45 minutes more to an internal temperature of 175 F.

I brushed the chicken all over with Koss Sauce. You can use the barbecue sauce of your choice.

I cooked for 10 to 15 minutes more and put the chicken under tented foil for 10 minutes.

The finished result.

Here it is on the plate.

I loved when I took my first bite. I bit through the skin and it didn’t pull off the thigh.

The Verdict

Darn it. This was perfect. The skin was tender and not flabby. It was a tasty coating on the meat, not a a rubbery covering. The taste was incredible with the rub under the skin and the SPOG on the surface.

Even though it is a PIA, I will need to make this my go to chicken thigh method. Sigh.

The Old Fat Guy

PIA BBQ Chicken

PIA BBQ Chicken


  • 8 chicken thighs
  • barbecue rub of your choice
  • 3 ml (1/2 tsp) salt
  • 3 ml (1/2 tsp) pepper
  • 3 ml (1/2 tsp) onion powder
  • 3 ml (1/2 tsp) garlic powder
  • butter to cover the bottom of your pan to 1/4 inch
  • oil to cover the bottom of your pan to another 1/4 inch
  • barbecue sauce of your choice


  1. Remove the skin from the thigh.
  2. Trim any large pieces of fat.
  3. Using a very sharp knife, scrape the fat layer off the skin.. You will need to remove the fat from your knife blade frequently.
  4. Apply barbecue rub to the chicken thighs.
  5. Wrap the chicken skin around the thigh..
  6. Sprinkle the skin with salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder.
  7. Put enough melted better in a roasting pan to cover it 1/4 inch deep.
  8. Add enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan another 1/4 inch.
  9. Put the chicken skin side down in the roasting pan.
  10. Put the pan in a smoker preheated to 275 F.
  11. Smoke for 45 minutes.
  12. Turn the thighs in the pan to coat with the fat in the pan.
  13. Put the chicken directly on the smoker rack, skin side up.
  14. Smoke to an internal temperature of 175 F, about 45 minutes.
  15. Brush the thighs with barbecue sauce.
  16. Smoke for 10 more minutes.
  17. Bring the chicken in and tent it in foil for ten minutes before serving.
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2 Responses

  1. Dave, you did a real nice job on this .. I would like to try this on some breasts ….. We are a bigger fan of white meat instead

    1. Thanks, Jeff! It should work on chicken breasts but you might need to use toothpicks to hold the skin in place when you put it back on. If you do try it, let me know how it turns out! Best wishes from a dark meat lover!

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