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In my humble opinion, the best part of the chicken is the thigh. There is plenty of fat to keep it moist and of course the fat is where the flavor is. Unfortunately it is not the healthiest part so this should be a treat, not an everyday staple;-) These smoked chicken thighs are seasoned front and back with my original rub then stuffed with strips of fresh jalapeño and a good sized dollop of cream cheese.
To hold everything together, we wrap a single slice of thin bacon around the chicken thigh and smoke them until done. If you like, they can be glazed with my thick, tasty barbecue sauce to take them to the next level of delicious.
I'm not even going to tell you how many of these I ate.. they were SO good!
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Smoker Temp: 275°F
- Meat Finish Temp: 170-175°F
- Recommended Wood: Hickory or Pecan
- 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- Jeff's original rub
- 8 oz cream cheese
- 4 fresh jalapenos, cleaned, deseeded
- 8 slices of thin bacon
- ½ to ¾ stick of butter
- Muffin pan with at least 8 holes. Large rectangles are best.
- Jeff's original barbecue sauce
Clean and deseed the jalapeño peppers. Then cut them into strips that are about ¼ inch wide.
I got (6) strips out of each pepper.
Open the 8 ounce box of cream cheese and lay it on a cutting board. Use a knife to cut it in half, then cut the 2 pieces in half, then cut the 4 pieces in half. You'll end up with (8) pieces that are equal in size.
Set the peppers and cream cheese aside.
The thighs I purchased had a considerable amount of fat on them so I used some kitchen shears in tandem with a sharp knife to remove most of this.
Lay the thighs flat on a cutting board and season the inside liberally with Jeff's original rub .
With the seasoned thighs laying out flat, lay a piece of the cream cheese and 2-3 strips of the jalapeno pepper in the center.
Fold the thighs over the top of the “stuffing” and they are ready to wrap in bacon.
You will need a single slice of thin bacon for each chicken thigh. Stretch the bacon a little if you can to make it longer and this will give you more wrapping capability.
Hold the stuffed thigh in your hand and wrap a piece of stretched bacon around the thigh to hold it together.
As you finish wrapping the thighs with bacon, place each one in a hole in the muffin pan. This will help to hold it together and give it great shape.
If you do not have a muffin pan, carefully lay them on a Weber grill pan for easy transport to and from the smoker.
If you like, you can purchase this pan on Amazon.
Give them another good sprinkling of Jeff's original rub for great flavor.
Most who make these place a pat of butter on top of each one for flavor and moisture.. I rarely say no to butter ;-)
I just happened to have ¾ stick of butter in the fridge and I cut it into 8 equally sized pieces.
Setup your smoker for cooking at about 275°F with indirect heat. If your smoker uses a water pan, fill it up.
I recommend letting any smoker preheat for 30-60 minutes before using it as this allows all of the metal to heat up and that helps to maintain heat and to recover faster when you open the door or lid.
I used the Camp Chef Woodwind pellet grill for these chicken thighs but any smoker will work great as long as it can maintain the temperature adequately. You can definitely cook these at lower temperatures if you need to but it will take longer.
Once the smoker is preheated and ready to go, it's time to smoke!
The cooking instructions include (2) sub steps.. cooking them for about 40 minutes at 275°F then foiling them to tenderize and finish.
Place the muffin pan of wrapped chicken thighs on the smoker grate and leave them for about 40 minutes. This is to get them to about 145-150°F and to get some smoke on them.
After this, cover the muffin pan with a piece of foil to let the thighs tenderize and finish cooking. I recommend using a leave in thermometer such as the “Smoke” by Thermoworks to monitor them. This process will only take about 20-25 minutes tops for them to reach 170-175°F.
Once they finish, use a instant read thermometer such as the handy dandy Thermapen which reads in just 2-3 seconds to check each one and make sure they have reached at least 165°F with an optimum temperature of 170-175°F for tenderness.
Place the thighs back in the smoker at 275°F for about 10-15 minutes to set the sauce.
Bring them in the house and serve them up immediately.
Jalapeño Cream Cheese Stuffed Chicken Thighs
- Clean and deseed the jalapenos then cut them into ¼ inch strips. Cut the block of cream cheese into 8 equally sized pieces. Set aside.
- Clean the fat from the boneless, skinless chicken thighs. Lay them flat on the cutting board and season liberally on the inside with Jeff's original rub .
- Lay a piece of the cream cheese and 2-3 pieces of the jalapeno strips in the center of each thigh and fold over to close.
- Wrap a piece of stretched bacon around each chicken thigh to hold it closed. Place the stuffed and wrapped thighs into the holes of a muffin pan to help them hold their shape while they cook.
- Season the top of the thighs with Jeff's original rub and lay a small pat of butter on top of each.
- Preheat the smoker to 275°F using indirect heat and hickory or pecan for smoke.
- Once the smoker is ready, place the pan of chicken onto the grate of the smoker and let them cook for about 40 minutes.
- After 35-40 minutes, cover the pan with a piece of foil to tenderize the chicken and let them continue cooking for about 20-25 minutes or until they reach 170-175°F.
- Remove from the smoker and serve immediately.