bacon-wrapped smoky chicken thighs.

Holy bajeezus.

Bacon-Wrapped Smoky Chicken Thighs

I have not felt so passionate about a recipe ever since I told you about this or this.


Thank you, Diane Sanfilippo, for introducing me to the magic of chicken thighs.


Chicken thighs are where it’s at. They’re more economical and they’re delicious. The darker meat stays moist so you don’t have to worry about it drying out the way  breast meat does.


I’ve adapted Diane’s recipe by brining the chicken in a salty bath before cooking, a process which I’ve come to use before cooking all of my chicken recipes as of late, which ensures the chicken is super-extra tender. I’ve also cut down on the salt in the spice blend.


This is currently my favorite dinner and the leftovers make crazy delicious breakfasts and lunches! Since each chicken thigh is packed with protein and flavor I find that all I need is one serving to be satiated.

Bacon-Wrapped Smoky Chicken Thighs

Take note that the spice blend is indeed quite spicy so go easy with the seasoning if you’re serving little ones.


peaches & cake

Bacon-Wrapped Smoky Chicken Thighs
Adapted from Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo
Yield: 6 bacon-wrapped chicken thighs

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  • 6  boneless, skinless chicken thighs (preferably organic free-range)
  • Water
  • 2 Tbsp. salt
  • Bay leaf (optional)
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled (optional)
  • 12 slices of bacon (preferably nitrate-free bacon, such as Applegate Farms or Wellshire)
  • Smoky Spice Blend, recipe below
  1. Place chicken thighs in a large Tupperware container, bowl, or large Ziploc bag. Fill with water until chicken is completely covered (several cups). Add 2 tablespoons of salt and mix everything around. Add bay leaf and garlic clove. Cover and refrigerate and let brine for 1-2 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  3. Remove chicken from refrigerator and drain water. Discard bay leaf and garlic clove, and pat chicken dry with a paper towel.
  4. Season the chicken thighs with a few teaspoons of the Smoky Spice Blend, then wrap each one in 2 strips of bacon.
  5. Place on a parchment or foil-lined baking pan and sprinkle the chicken all over with the Spice Blend until lightly coated (you may have a little left over which can use for vegetables, etc.).
  6. Bake for approximately 40 minutes or until cooked through. Serve with mustard or barbecue sauce on the side, if desired.

Smoky Spice Blend:

  • 1 Tbsp. chipotle powder
  • 1 Tbsp. paprika
  • 1 Tbsp. onion powder
  • ½ Tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. sea salt
  • ½ Tbsp. fresh ground black pepper

Combine all spices in a small bowl or container and cover until ready to use.

11 responses to “bacon-wrapped smoky chicken thighs.

  1. These look delicious! There is definitely something wonderful about how chicken thighs don’t dry out easily. And how inexpensive they are too! 🙂

  2. Wow, I can totally see why you would be excited about this recipe! What’s not to love??

  3. I’m slightly obsessed with my Practical Paleo cookbook! Nom nom!

  4. Great choice! I love the Wellshire Classic Sliced Dry Rubbed bacon – the flavor is incredible. And I love that you used chicken thighs instead of breast. Thigh takes the smokey flavor of the bacon SO MUCH BETTER! Great recipe Meg!

    • Meg

      Thanks! Yeah the Wellshire is pretty awesome. The butcher at Whole Foods recommended it and now I’m hooked.

      • Do they have the “Vermont Smoke And Cure” bacon at your whole foods? I am addicted to this stuff – it’s the best commercial bacon I’ve ever had (though the Wellshire is definitely close)!! I’m not sure if it’s regional – if they have it, you have GOT to try it!

      • Meg

        I do not recognize that brand from my store but I MUST get my hands on that stuff it looks amazing!! Thanks for the tip! I wish I had some of those “RealSticks” for my plane trip tomorrow, whomp whomp.

  5. Clare

    This was very delicious! In addition to the brine I added a few splashes of balsamic vinegar which added a lovely hint of flavor. When I fed it to my family I was met with silent, staring off into the distance chewing except the occasional “delicious” and “mmmmmmm” 🙂 Definitely will make again, Thanks for sharing:)

    • Meg

      Clare, this makes me grin from ear to ear! The balsamic vinegar addition sounds AMAZING! How did I not think of that before. I will just have to try that next time. Thanks for stopping by, and hope you find some other delicious recipes on my site. xo, Meg


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