Jalapeño Cream Cheese Stuffed Chicken Thighs

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 (purchase recipes here) 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 (purchase recipes here) 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!

Helpful Information
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Smoker Temp: 275°F
  • Meat Finish Temp: 170-175°F
  • Recommended Wood: Hickory or Pecan
What You’ll Need
IMG 0492 1000x715Please note that my rubs and barbecue sauce are now available in 2 formats– you can purchase the formulas and make them yourself OR you can buy them already made, in a bottle, ready to use.

Step 1: Prepare Peppers and Cream Cheese

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.

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Step 2: Clean up and Season the Thighs

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.

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Lay the thighs flat on a cutting board and season the inside liberally with Jeff's original rub (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub).

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Step 3: Stuff the Thighs

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.

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Fold the thighs over the top of the “stuffing” and they are ready to wrap in bacon.

Step 4: Wrap Them Up

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.

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Step 5: Into the Muffin Pan with Butter

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.

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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 (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub) for great flavor.

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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.

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Step 6: Set up the Smoker

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.

See my review on the new Camp Chef Woodwind WiFi

Once the smoker is preheated and ready to go, it's time to smoke!

Step 7: Smoke Cook the Stuffed Chicken Thighs

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.

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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.

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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.

Step 8: Sauce Them Up (Optional but recommended)

Remove the chicken thighs from the muffin pan with a fork and lay them on a Weber grill pan, cooling rack or even a cookie sheet.

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Coat each piece of chicken liberally with my original barbecue sauce (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled sauce) using a basting brush. You can also dip the thighs in the sauce if you like.

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Step 9: Finish and Serve

Place the thighs back in the smoker at 275°F for about 10-15 minutes to set the sauce.

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Bring them in the house and serve them up immediately.

Order Jeff’s Rubs and Barbecue Sauce TODAY!
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You can also order the formulas for my rubs and sauce and make these yourself at home. Grab those HERE and download immediately.

Jeff’s Smoking Meat Books

smoking-meat-book-coverSmoking Meat: The Essential Guide to Real Barbecue – The book is full of recipes and contains tons of helpful information as well. Some have even said that “no smoker should be without this book”!

With more than 1000 reviews on Amazon.com and a rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars, it comes highly recommended and is a Bestseller in Barbecuing & Grilling books on Amazon.

AmazonBarnes & Noble | German Edition

smoke-wood-fire-book-coverSmoke, Wood, Fire: The Advanced Guide to Smoking Meat – Unlike the first book, this book does not focus on recipes but rather uses every square inch of every page teaching you how to smoke meat. What my first book touched on, this second book takes it into much greater detail with lots of pictures.

It also includes a complete, step-by-step tutorial for making your own smoked “streaky” bacon using a 100 year old brine recipe.

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Printable Recipe

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Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Jalapeño Cream Cheese Stuffed Chicken Thighs

These smoked chicken thighs are first stuffed with strips of jalapeno and a healthy dollop of cream cheese then wrapped in bacon and smoke cooked to complete.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time1 hr 10 mins
Servings: 8

Ingredients

  • 8 boneless ((, skinless chicken thighs))
  • Jeff's original rub recipe (((purchase recipes here)))
  • 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 (((purchase recipes here)))

Instructions

  • 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 (purchase recipes here).
  • 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 (purchase recipes here) 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.
  • When they are finished, remove from the pan and lay them on a cooling rack, cookie sheet or Weber grill pan. Coat with Jeff's barbecue sauce (purchase recipes here) and continue cooking for about 10 minutes to let the sauce set.
  • Remove from the smoker and serve immediately.

14 Comments

  1. Beth L Van Prooyen July 18, 2021 at 5:21 pm - Reply

    Are these your original recipe? I don't remember using a pan in the past. I used to make the stuffed jalapeno popper thighs wrapped in bacon for the guys I worked with and I just cooked them on the smoker grate. That is how I cooked them tonight but also added a chunk of cheddar in with it!

  2. Martin April 17, 2020 at 9:05 pm - Reply

    5 stars
    Jeff,
    These were great! I followed the recipe to the T. Only thing I had a question on was once I foil covered, it seemed that all the cream cheese just melted away. Did I foil for too long?

    I will definitely add this to my regular rotation.

  3. James January 27, 2020 at 9:50 pm - Reply

    5 stars
    Awesome and easy… Made this for dinner yesterday/Sundays, family loved it. Easy fast taste Great.

  4. Edward Champion December 31, 2019 at 9:04 am - Reply

    The thigh is also my favorite piece and I will definitely try this recipe. If I use a fine grate or rack to smoke on, would I still need to wrap the chicken after attaining 150 degrees? I'll be using my Masterbuilt electric smoker.

    • Jeff Phillips December 31, 2019 at 10:33 am - Reply

      Wrapping in foil is optional and it will work just fine even if you choose not to cover it.

  5. JAMES DELLO-IACONO August 9, 2018 at 2:49 pm - Reply

    Made this last night, used maple wood best chicken I have ever had!

  6. Kevin Uznanski May 26, 2018 at 9:15 pm - Reply

    Great recipe and very easy to make. My guests were impressed

  7. Allen Carroll May 24, 2018 at 5:58 pm - Reply

    This looks great, I'm going to cook this for Memorial Day. One question, Do you not brine the chicken? Every time I've smoked chicken with one of your recipes it says to brine before smoking.

    • Jeff Phillips May 25, 2018 at 1:57 pm - Reply

      Allen,

      You are correct and I generally do.. I chose to not do that in this recipe since chicken thighs have lots of fat in the meat and brining doesn't benefit them as much as it does the leaner pieces. Having said that, as a general rule, it never hurts to brine chicken regardless of what cut it is.

      If you choose to brine these beforehand, do so for about 3 hours in the fridge then rinse and season them up.

  8. Greg January 27, 2018 at 2:42 pm - Reply

    This is a great recipe. My wife doesn't think she likes smoked meats, and has asked me to make these several times since I first made them for New Years Eve.

  9. Danny October 27, 2017 at 8:21 am - Reply

    This recipe reminds me of a café in Waco Texas that has an almost identical item. Every time we are there we order some for an appetizer. They are great and I am looking forward to preparing your version.

  10. Joe Vernice October 25, 2017 at 11:59 am - Reply

    I just made these last night (minus the bacon) and they were so awesome!!!

    I used mesquite and pecan.

    I used a disposable cup cake tin for easy cleanup.

    I was skeptical about the BBQ sauce, but it added that bit of sweetness that complimented the rub.

    It did take longer than 1 hour to get to temperature. Always use a thermometer to check meat temp.

    BRAVO!!!! Great recipe.

  11. Paul Fischer October 19, 2017 at 5:29 pm - Reply

    Jeff I really want to try the Jalapeño Cream Cheese Stuffed Chicken Thighs. I would like to find some muffin tins like the ones pictured but cant seem to find any. Do you know where I can order some? Thanks.

    • Pudge December 23, 2017 at 7:32 pm - Reply

      Hey Paul. I found rectangle shaped muffin pans on Amazon.com. You may have as well since this is 2 months after your post … in any event, Amazon is where I first check for a lot of things I can't find elsewhere. This recipe is simply outrageously good.

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