by TANNER JOHNSON
For this month I wanted to do a recipe that is in common rotation in our household, no matter the time of year. My favorite part of the chicken… the thighs! Chicken thighs are full of flavor, and have a little fat on them so they get nice and tender especially in the smoker. Thighs are very hard to dry out, unlike chicken breasts which must be cooked perfectly to avoid drying them out. These smoked chicken thighs can be eaten by themselves with any kind of sides, veggies etc. They can be shredded up and added to some tacos or in a delicious taco bowl with some rice. My favorite way to do this is to shred them up by hand and add to flour tortillas with guacamole, cilantro, jalapeno and some yellow onion or pico de gallo.
First, get a pack of chicken thighs (boneless & skinless or bone in) rub them all over with some hot sauce for a binder to allow the seasoning to stick better (my favorite is Cholula) then season them heavily all over with Hardcore Carnivore Tex Mex seasoning. I like to then let them sit in the fridge for a couple of hours so that the seasoning can really soak in.
Preheat the smoker to 225 degrees (or 250 if you want to cook a little faster). Once your smoker is up to temp, toss them in. They should take around 90 minutes, but could take longer depending on thickness. I usually flip them around 30-45 minutes and take the internal temp at this point too to see how much longer to expect.
Side Note: these can also be grilled on a regular grill with this same seasoning on medium/medium-high flipping every few minutes for a total of around 15 minutes (until 165 internal temperature)
Once they reach 165 degrees internal temperature (usually around 90 minutes in), they are good to come out, but I usually end up letting them cook until closer to 170. Next you’ll want to let them rest for at least 5 minutes, preferably 10. You want to rest so the juices will redistribute inside the meat and not all come flowing out once you cut them up or pull them apart.
Once they have rested, I use some nitrile gloves to shred them apart with my hands, if these are cooked correctly they will shred up very easily with no need for a knife. From here my favorite option is to load them on a tortilla with some amazing taco toppings like I mentioned above!