Simple Smoked Chicken Thigh Tacos

If you're eager to smoke meat at home but might not yet have the chops to go for a large beef roast (or if you're a practiced pitmaster looking to add to your repertoire), the chicken thigh is a forgiving, relatively cheap, and utterly delicious target for this week's neighborhood barbecue. With relatively high fat content, thighs are able to absorb tons of flavor from any number of possible marinades, but the extra fat really shines in terms of moisture maintenance over the extended cook. Anyone who's left a roasting chicken too long in the oven (and had to endure a cardboard chicken breast for supper) will appreciate a low-temperature, low-stress chicken cook with almost-guaranteed success. For a little practice on the pit and a delicious meal on top, save your beef money and grab bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, with a simple West Coast street-style topping mix: cilantro, onion, and lime. 




  • Cilantro

  • 1 white onion, diced

  • 1 lime, sliced into wedges

  • Corn tortillas

  • Your favorite salsa or guacamole (optional)

Smoked Chicken Thighs

  1. Whatever style smoker you're using, build your fire (or turn the knob) and reach a stable temperature between 250 and 300℉.

  2. While your fire builds into a stable temperature range, rub olive oil to fully coat the chicken thighs and season with salt and a healthy dose of pepper.

  3. Lay your chicken thighs on the smoker rack and grab a beer. Be sure to keep a thermometer handy – everyone's setup is different.

  4. After about an hour, begin checking the internal temperature every 20 minutes or so. Consider rotating their position around this time to encourage even cooking. Check for an internal temperature close to 165℉ before pulling. Loosely tent and let sit 15 minutes.


  1. Just before pulling the chicken, wrap your tortillas in foil and place them in the oven set to the lowest temperature.

  2. Dice onion and cilantro and slice lime into wedges.

  3. Shred the thigh and serve on warm tortillas. Finish with a pinch of cilantro and white onion. Serve with a lime wedge and salsa or guacamole if preferred. Enjoy!

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