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Smoky Parmesan Panko Chicken Thighs

Smoky Parmesan Panko Chicken Thighs

Remember those summer family barbecues where the aroma of grilled chicken filled the air and laughter of loved ones echoed around the table? This recipe is a tribute to those cherished memories, with a crispy twist that everyone will love. The secret lies in the unique combination of panko breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese, creating an irresistible golden-brown crust that complements the smoky flavor of Bear Mountain's Smoky Apple Whiskey BBQ Pellets. And the best part? It's a budget-friendly meal that's perfect for feeding a crowd, whether it's a weekend gathering with loved ones or a casual picnic under the sun. This recipe is brought to you by Bear Mountain ambassador Merry Graham.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 60 minutes

Serves: 6 (around 2 thighs per person)


  • 4 lbs chicken thighs, bone-in (10 chicken thighs)
  • 1 cup Italian salad dressing (can substitute seasoned buttermilk)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp spicy brown mustard or honey mustard
  • 1 1/2 cup panko crumbs
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • Bear Mountain Smoky Apple Whiskey BBQ Pellets, available exclusively at Walmart
  • Packaged salad or homemade coleslaw for platter (optional)


  1. Trim chicken of excess fat and scraggly skin. Leave enough chicken on to wrap the entire thigh.
  1. Place trimmed chicken thighs into a large mixing bowl. Pour Italian dressing over the chicken, and toss a few times. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight at most.
  1. Meanwhile, in a shallow bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, salt, paprika, onion powder, garlic, and coriander.
  1. After the chicken’s marination time, drain the salad dressing, wrap the loose skin tightly around the entire chicken thigh. It is not necessary to rinse the chicken nor pat the chicken dry. Roll the chicken in flour mixture, and place on a bakers rack to dry.
  1. In a shallow bowl, whisk the eggs and mustard until smooth. In another shallow bowl, mix the panko crumbs, parmesan and black pepper.
  1. Roll the floured chicken thighs into the egg mixture then press it into the panko mixture to coat thoroughly. Place the coated chicken thighs on a bakers rack to set.
  1. Fill the hopper with Bear Mountain Smoky Apple Whisky BBQ Pellets. Set the grill or smoker temperature to 400°F.
  1. Place the chicken thighs on to the grill’s upper rack for indirect heat, and smoke for 50-60 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 175°F-185°F. (see cooking tips)
  2. Take off the grill or smoker and allow chicken to rest for 10 minutes. Spread coleslaw on a serving platter and top with Smoky Parmesan Panko Chicken Thighs, fresh herbs and lemon slices.


  • The safe internal temperature for chicken is 165°F, but for optimal tenderness, aim for 175°F-185°F.
  • Make the recipe with whole chicken or chicken hindquarters.
  • If desired, open the flame broiler for direct cooking during the last 10 minutes. It is optional to rotate the chicken during the last 10 minutes.
Smoky Parmesan Panko Chicken Thighs

Pairs well with the following Bear Mountain Premium BBQ Pellets