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Smoker Tandoori Chicken Recipe

Take the complication out of cooking! You don't have to be a master chef to cook great food. Relax, have fun, and put some love into it.

This dish can be done in a smoker or oven, so let's get going and make some delicious Indian food!

This dish can be done in a smoker or oven, so let's get going and make some delicious Indian food!

Spice Is Where It's At

Having the opportunity to travel abroad for work and pleasure, I have developed a liking for using spices and spicy foods. Whether it's in spicy Indian foods or foods from Thailand and Vietnam, I just love spice. That doesn't take away from all the other foods I like, but I can surely see how wars were fought over spices. Here's my take on tandoori chicken. This dish can be done in a smoker or oven, so let's get going and make some delicious Indian food.

A few fun facts about this food and spices for your reading pleasure:

  • Chicken is used in India and is regarded as a special occasion food, served at weddings, birthdays, and festivals.
  • Indian spice mixtures have a delightfully vibrant, and at times a mystical, smell and feel about them.
  • The aromatic spices like masalas vary from mild to hot and spices like garam masala are widely used as a condiment.

In this recipe, I used garam masala and a store-purchased tandoori spice mix. Having access to a really great spice store in Princeton, New Jersey is a blessing to a chef like myself and has made my job easier.

So let's journey into India and believe we are at a large wedding, filled with great spicy foods, vibrant smells, colors, and festive people.

I serve my chicken tandoori with basmati rice, naan bread (Indian bread), and usually some other type of curry dish, such as my creamy curry lentils. It's always nice to have a great side dish other than just rice.

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

1 hour

1 hour 30 min

2 hours 30 min

Serves 6 people


  • 3 pounds chicken thighs, skin removed
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt, plain
  • 2 tablespoons garam masala, powder
  • 2 tablespoons tandoori powder, or Vindaloo paste
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or butter, melted
  • 2 limes
  • 2 drops red food color (optional)

Smoker Tandoori Chicken

  1. Remove skin from chicken thighs and make 3 cuts or slices in the meat down to the bone.
  2. In a large bowl, add 1 cup of plain yogurt.
  3. Next, add all the spices to the yogurt and mix well. 1) Garam Masala (2 tablespoons) 2) Tandoori Seasoning (2 tablespoons) 3) Red Food Coloring (2 drops) Optional 4) Crushed Garlic
  4. Next, it's time to get messy. Place your chicken thighs in the yogurt & spice mixture and massage the mixture into the meat.
  5. Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours.
  6. Once the meat has marinated in the yogurt & spice mixture, it's ready for the oven. Set your oven (or smoker) to 375°F. Place the chicken on a foil-lined baking pan that has the melted ghee or butter on it, and place it in the oven for one hour to cook. I smoked my chicken with hickory wood for 40 minutes at 350°F and finished them off in the oven at 375°F for 20 minutes for added flavor.
  7. 10 minutes before the chicken is done, squeeze some lime on each piece and let cook until done.
  8. Once the chicken is out of the oven, squeeze some more lime juice on each piece and lightly salt and sprinkle a little of the garam masala on each piece as well.
  9. Serve with some basmati rice and naan bread (Indian bread) and use the garam masala spice as a condiment.

Questions & Answers

Question: On what special occasion would you have tandoori chicken in India?

Answer: There are no special occasions for making Tandoori Chicken in India but many dishes are used for large gathering like weddings.