Take your BBQ smoking to the next level with this easy Smoked Stuffed Chicken Thighs with Cheese and Ham recipe from Steven Raichlen’s Project Smoke cookbook!
Hi there, y’all! I’m back after being MIA with posting the last 2 weeks on TEA. I took a much needed break to spend a little down time with family and friends, which meant lots of grilling and chilling, like this BBQ pork belly (and this recipe for stuffed chicken thighs with cheese). Truth: that BBQ pork belly was one of the best things I’ve ever put in my mouth! I’ll be making it again very soon, so be on the lookout for it to appear on here as a summer blog post.
The last 2 weeks, I’ve been cooking a bunch of recipes out of my Steven Raichlen’s Project Smokecookbook, and this smoked chicken recipe is one of my favorites. After what seemed like a month of crappy, cold, rainy weather here in New England, finally the clouds parted, the sun came out, and I was able to get my grilling and smoking on again.
Smoked Stuffed Chicken Thighs With Cheese and Ham
Let me tell you how much I loved making these delicious bbq chicken thighs. When I first got my book, I thumbed through it and earmarked this recipe immediately because it has ham, swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard in it….all the flavors of a delicious Cuban sandwich, which happens to be one of my all-time FAVORITE sandwiches in the whole world!!
Stuffing anything always seems so time consuming and difficult, but buying boneless chicken saves a ton of prep time. One extra step I like to do when smoking any kind of skin-on poultry is to remove the excess fat from the skin. Usually I take the skin off of each piece, then scrape off any fat with a knife, then I wrap the skin back over the chicken.
Yes, it takes a little extra time to do this but removing the fat allows the skin to really crisp up, instead of being flabby after smoking. You can also finish the smoked chicken on a hot grill to make the skin extra crispy.
Smoked stuffed chicken thighs are wonderful to make for a party (hello there Memorial Day cookout!) because they can be made ahead of time. Store them covered in the refrigerator until ready to cook…or smoke.
Want to make stuffed chicken thighs but no Smoker? No Problem!
For all the non-smokers out there, these smoked stuffed chicken thighs with cheese and ham can easily be baked in a preheated 400F degree oven, for about 40-45 minutes. Make clean up super simple too by lining the baking sheet with foil. No pans to wash is always a win-win in my household!
When I made this recipe, I didn’t change much from the original. Just little things like, I left the ham slice whole instead of strips, and, I cut a whole pickle into strips instead of slices. I also changed the name of the recipe for a better blog post title (it’s called Bacon, Ham, and Cheese Chicken Thighs in the cookbook).
Go ahead and get the smoker out this weekend and smoke up these stuffed chicken thighs with cheese…or just roast them in the oven. Either way you cook them, enjoy and don’t forget to check out Steven Raichlen’s Project Smoke. I also own his Barbecue Bible and the Franklin Barbecue cookbooks below and both have helped me step up my smoking and grilling game.
Check out a few of most popular smoking recipes on the blog right now: Smoked Jalapeño Poppers with Bacon, Apple, and Brie, Smoked Porchetta Pork Loin, and Smoked Meatloaf
- 8 large skin-on boneless chicken thighs , about 6 ounces each
- 8 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 8 ounces Gruyère cheese , cut into matchstick slivers
- 8 ounces good quality sliced smoked ham
- 16 dill pickle slices
- coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 16 slices thin sliced artisanal bacon , about 1 pound
- butcher's twine
- apple wood chips
Remove as much fat as possible from the chicken thighs, then place thighs skin side down on a cutting board and slightly flatten out. Spread 1 tablespoon of mustard on the meat, top with a piece of the ham, the cheese, and the pickles, then roll up the thighs tightly to encase the stuffing. Season the outside of each with salt and pepper. Wrap each thigh with a strip of bacon, then wrap another strip around the opposite side, and tie each with a piece or two of butcher's twine.
Preheat your smoker to 300F degrees and add the wood as specified by the manufacturer.
Place the prepared chicken thighs skin side up on the smoker rack. Smoke the chicken for about 1 1/2 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 165F degrees, and the outside is browned. Remove the twine before serving.
To crisp the skin: Grill each thigh over medium high heat until crispy on all sides, about 3-5 minutes each side.
Oven baked method: Preheat oven to 400F degrees. Place chicken thighs skin side up on a baking sheet and bake until the internal temperature reaches 175F degrees, about 40-45 minutes. Remove twine before serving.