Competition Style BBQ Chicken Thighs

BBQ Chicken Smoked with Sweet Paprika.
BBQ Chicken Smoked with Sweet Paprika.

Since BBQ competition season is right around the corner and Big Geek BBQ is planning their first competition, I thought it necessary to post a new recipe on cooking up chicken thighs competition style. What I’ve learned so far is that depending on the competition there are often awards categorized as just chicken or whole chicken. So after you try your hand a Smoked Whole Chicken, it’s time to pull out those boning and paring knifes to trim up some thighs.

As a side note, not all events will allow you to brine the meat ahead of time, so be prepared to use an injector as necessary.


  1. Rinse the thighs thoroughly under cold water. Using your fingers, pull back the skin from the thighs, but do not remove. Flip the thigh over, exposing the meat side close to the bone.
  2. Using a small knife, remove any veins and small chunks of bone left when the thighs were removed from the chicken at the butcher shop. Slightly cut the meat back on the bone so that it will easily pull later. Do not remove the bone (however, my family prefers the bone removed).Chicken thighs cut to size
  3. If you find any blood in the meat, rinse the inside of the thigh.
  4. Trim the sides of the thigh and the skin so that it will be uniformly in a rectangular shape.
  5. For six pieces of chicken, mix 6 tablespoons of butter with 1 Teaspoon of Better than Bouillon Chicken Base. Smear the butter mixture on the inside of the thigh (not the meat exposed to the skin).Chicken_Butter
  6. Lightly oil the skin and outer meat, and then sprinkle the chicken rub on the outside. Pin the loose part of the skin using a toothpick that has been soaked in water for at least 5 minutes.Chicken_Rubbed
  7. Set the smoker for 225° and cook for 2 hours or more, until the temp reaches a minimum of 165°.
  8. Finish the chicken by mopping with St. Louis Style BBQ Sauce and heat direct on a grill at 400° to crisp the skin. This will only take a couple minutes and be careful you don’t burn the meat!

Chicken Rub
Kosher Salt
Crushed Black Pepper
Sweet Smoked Paprika
Oregano, Thyme, Rosemary blend
Turbinado Sugar


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