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Brown Sugar Smoked Chicken Thighs

Brown Sugar Smoked Chicken Thighs are incredibly delicious and easy to prepare in your own back yard. A quick brine keeps this chicken moist and juicy and the brown sugar and garlic rub adds amazing flavor to the smoked chicken. 

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Smoked chicken thigh, sliced over fried cabbage on a white plate, blue check napkin and glass of iced tea

Today we are sharing a great way to smoke chicken on any charcoal or wood fired grill using the classic Weber Kettle Grill. It’s a recipe that is guaranteed to please!

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Smoked Chicken Thighs on grill - collage

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How to Make Brown Sugar Smoked Chicken Thighs:

Brining chicken thighs and seasoning with brown sugar rub for grilling

  • Mix the brine by combining warm water, kosher salt, peppercorns, fresh garlic cloves and half of a lemon in a large bowl or dutch oven pan.
  • Add your chicken pieces, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour. 
  • Remove chicken from brine and pat dry with paper towels. 
  • Whisk together olive oil, balsamic vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. Brush over chicken.
  • Mix brown sugar dry rub in a small bowl. 
  • Sprinkle over chicken and set aside while you prepare your grill fire. 

Building a wood fire in a weber kettle grill

  • Use hickory, oak or pecan and start a wood fire in your
    • Place chicken over indirect heat on the grill. Cover and cook for 15 minutes. 

    Brown sugar chicken thighs on a grill

    • Check chicken with a digital thermometer and continue to cook until internal temperature reaches 165°.
    • Remove from grill and allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving. 

    Close up of smoked chicken thighs on a sheet pan

    We used bone-in chicken thighs for this recipe. Any cut of chicken will work. If you are using boneless chicken, follow the same instructions. Cooking time will be less but all chicken pieces should be cooked to 165°. 

    Chicken thighs with brown sugar rub over fried cabbage

    Serve smoked chicken thighs with Fried Cabbage, Grilled Asparagus or our favorite garlic butter Grilled Corn on the Cob for a delicious meal. 

    Why You Should Brine Chicken Before Grilling:

    I highly recommend brining chicken no matter how you are cooking it. It adds flavor and also makes the chicken tender and juicy. 

    Don’t over brine it! I usually brine whole chickens for a few hours but chicken pieces, only 30 minutes to an hour is sufficient. Over brining will make your chicken too salty. 

    You can also add fresh herbs like rosemary to your brine for extra flavor. 

    Must Try Grilled Chicken Recipes

    Must try chicken recipes to make on the grill for dinner.

    Grilling or smoking a double batch of chicken is a great way to meal prep for the week. Use it to make sandwiches, salads, soups or your favorite casseroles. 

    How to Store and Reheat Smoked Chicken:

    Store cooled chicken in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 3 days or in a zip top freezer bag up to 3 months. 

    To reheat, remove from bone, chop or shred and place in a skillet with 2- 3 tablespoons of chicken broth, water or barbecue sauce. Heat over medium heat 5- 8 minutes or until heated through.

    Plate of chicken and fried cabbage, blue check napkin, glass of iced tea

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    Brown Sugar Smoked Chicken Thighs on the grillBrown Sugar Smoked Chicken Thighs are incredibly delicious and easy to prepare in your own back yard. A quick brine keeps this chicken moist and juicy and the brown sugar and garlic rub adds amazing flavor to the smoked chicken. 
    Yield: 6 servings

    Brown Sugar Smoked Chicken Thighs

    Prep Time: 1 hour
    Cook Time: 30 minutes
    Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

    Brown Sugar Smoked Chicken Thighs are incredibly delicious and easy to prepare in your own back yard. A quick brine keeps this chicken moist and juicy and the brown sugar and garlic rub adds amazing flavor to the smoked chicken. 

    Ingredients

    • 6 chicken thighs
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
    • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

    brine

    • 4 quarts warm water
    • 1/2 cup kosher salt
    • 2 fresh garlic cloves
    • 1/2 fresh lemon, sliced
    • 1 tablespoon peppercorns

    brown sugar rub

    • 4 tablespoons brown sugar
    • 2 tablespoons granulated garlic
    • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
    • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
    • 1 tablespoon black pepper

    Instructions

    1. Mix brine in a large bowl by combining warm water and salt until salt is dissolved. Add garlic, peppercorns and lemon.
    2. Place chicken in brine, cover and refrigerated 30 minutes to 1 hour.
    3. Remove chicken from brine and pat dry with paper towels. Place on a clean baking sheet.
    4. Combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. Brush over chicken.
    5. Make the brown sugar rub by combining brown sugar, garlic, smoked paprika, salt and pepper.
    6. Sprinkle rub all over chicken and press into chicken.
    7. Prepare your grill with hickory, oak or pecan wood with an off set fire to about 300°.
    8. Place chicken over indirect heat and cook with grill lid closed.
    9. Cook for 15 minutes and check with digital thermometer. Continue to cook until chicken reaches 165° internal temperature.
    10. Remove from grill and allow to rest 10 minutes before serving.

    Notes

    Store leftover chicken in an airtight container in refrigerator for up to 3 days. Can be frozen in a freezer bag for up to 3 months.

    To reheat, remove from bone and heat with 2- 3 tablespoons water or chicken broth in a skillet over medium heat for about 8- 10 minutes.

    Nutrition Information:

    Yield:

    6

    Serving Size:

    1

    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 369Total Fat: 23gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 166mgSodium: 1318mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 1gSugar: 8gProtein: 31g

    Nutritional information is estimated and may not be accurate.

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