How long to smoke chicken legs? Easy-to-make smoked chicken leg recipe

How long to smoke chicken legs? Easy-to-make smoked chicken leg recipe

How long to smoke chicken legs? Easy-to-make smoked chicken leg recipe

You’ve come to the right place if you’re looking for the answer to “how long to smoke chicken legs?” Smoking chicken drumsticks is simple, and they’re affordable for their quality.

In addition to this, it is typically very well received by children, which, as a parent yourself, you are well aware is a positive aspect. Be sure to check out Chris Novakovic‘s easy-to-make smoked chicken leg recipe when preparing an impressive meal for your family!

How long to smoke chicken legs?

How long to smoke chicken legs?

How long to smoke chicken legs?

Fully smoking chicken legs takes about 90 minutes (or one and a half hours), but the exact timing varies. It is best to have a reliable meat thermometer on hand to monitor temperature as you approach the 90-minute mark.

The internal temperature of chicken legs must be smoked until it reaches 175 degrees F. Pull the chicken from the smoker at 175 degrees if you are smoking your chicken legs dry (without any sauce).

Brush the chicken with barbecue sauce at 165 degrees Fahrenheit if you want it on the legs.

The sauce will thicken and caramelize during the final 10 degrees of smoking. Quick tip: To make your BBQ sauce easier to spread on your chicken legs, thin it out with a little apple juice.

How long do you smoke chicken drumsticks at 225 degrees?

With an additional 10 minutes on high heat for searing, chicken legs are smoked for about 60 minutes at 225 degrees F.

How to make smoked chicken skin crispy?

How to make smoked chicken skin crispy?

How to make smoked chicken skin crispy?

The key to crisp smoked chicken skin is to smoke it slowly and finish with a sear. After a 60-minute smoke at 225 degrees, the legs are seared at 400–500 degrees and rotated every few minutes. The chicken turned out perfectly, with tender meat and a golden crust.

Easy-to-make smoked chicken leg recipe

Easy-to-make smoked chicken leg recipe

Easy-to-make smoked chicken leg recipe

Seasoning options

  • The original purpose of this rub was to season chicken. It combines brown sugar and smoky chiles to produce a mild heat with a well-rounded flavor. Additionally, it enhances the color of the chicken.
  • If you’re looking for a flavor that leans more toward Mexican cuisine, this is it: Southwest Smoky Dry Rub. In comparison to other rubs, this one has a darker, earthier, savory, and significantly less sweet flavor profile.
  • Chicken pastrami is included in the spicy pastrami rub. Do not be misled; the chicken is not pinkly cured in this case! To enhance the savory flavors of the poultry, we’re taking some of the aromatics from a traditional pastrami rub and giving them a few twists.
  • The pumpkin spice BBQ rub’s cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, clove, and allspice flavors are worth ignoring the latte craze. Smoky chipotle and other ingredients make a delicious rub for smoked chicken drumsticks.

Sauces for BBQ

  • The tangy, hot, and sweet Maple Chipotle BBQ Sauce has a mustard base. It is made to be used for both dunks and basting while cooking.
  • Buffalo BBQ Sauce: To create a robust, kicking BBQ sauce, combine the traditional flavors of buffalo with ketchup, sugars, and aromatics.
  • Mexican Buffalo Sauce: This flavor fusion uses a hot, spicy Mexican hot sauce as the foundation. Prepare this fiery sauce and turn up the heat!
  • Thin Korean honey mustard is combined with apple cider vinegar to make glowing red drumsticks that will awaken your taste buds.
  • BBQ Teriyaki Sauce One of our favorite ways to glaze chicken drumsticks is with this sweet, thick sauce, which comes together quickly.

Getting the drumsticks ready

Give your chicken a lot of seasoning.

Because we are smoking the drums rather than grilling them, the sugar won’t burn. You are welcome to season it to your liking.

Rinse in dry form for drier skin.

Seasoning after letting the skin dry out in the fridge and letting the salt draw out moisture yields crispier skin. We advise seasoning the drumsticks and letting them rest for several hours or even overnight on a wire rack with a baking sheet.

A binder is not required.

Before applying the rub, you can bind it with hot sauce, mustard, or any other flavored liquid sauce. If you’re going to dry-brine, it adds another layer of flavor but does stop the skin from becoming as crispy.

Smoking process

To complete this process, all you need is a smoker or an indirect setup for your charcoal grill.

Step 1: Warm the grill up

Your smoker should be heated to 275°F. Creating a 2-zone setup with a warm zone and a cool zone is a good idea if you’re using a charcoal grill. The chicken drumsticks will be indirectly cooked by being placed on the cool side.

Consider the wood flavors you prefer and how they would go with your seasonings. Apple, mesquite, hickory, or maple wood would be my top choices for smoked chicken drumsticks. Utilize what you enjoy!

Step 2: Smoke drumsticks.

The wings should be smoked for 80 to 90 minutes. Stay away from them! I’m confident they’ll manage just fine on their own.

Chicken should be cooked to 165°F. We’ve discovered that wings and drumsticks are best cooked further. The skin will be crisper and the meat will no longer be chewy if you cook them until between 180 and 185 degrees.

Step 3: Finish by adding sauce.

It’s optional to glaze the smoked chicken drumsticks with barbecue sauce, but if you’re going to, now is the time to do it. Add your sauce as soon as the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.

Add a little apple cider vinegar to thin out any BBQ sauce that is too thick. Instead of a thick, gloopy mess, it should have a nice glaze.

To get the wings to the right temperature, cook them for an additional 15-20 minutes.

Step 4: Take a break and serve

Yes, after cooking, even chicken needs a little downtime. Thankfully, it only takes 5 to 10 minutes, and then you can start. They are practically ready to grab by the time you have taken them off and brought them inside to set the table.

Smoking woods

We smoke chicken with mesquite or hickory. Hickory and mesquite wood chips add rich smoky flavor to the dry rub’s sweetness. Apple, maple, or pecan give dark meat a fruitier, lighter smoke flavor.

This recipe works with gas, pellet, electric, or charcoal smokers. If the smoker doesn’t have a water pan, place an aluminum foil pan filled with water below the drumsticks to keep them moist. Wood chunks and indirect heat can be used on a charcoal grill.

In a 350°F (177°C) oven, cook the drumsticks on a rack on a baking sheet for 45 to 55 minutes if you don’t have a smoker or if it’s raining. The rub will give them a good barbecue taste, but they won’t have the same deep smoky flavor as when smoked.

A few smoking chicken tips

  1. To remove any extra moisture, pat the surface dry using a paper towel.
  2. A dry rub is a fantastic way to enhance the flavor of smoked chicken!
  3. A chicken breast that registers 165 degrees Fahrenheit at its thickest point is considered fully cooked. Since it will continue to heat up a few degrees while it rests, I usually remove my chicken from the oven just before it reaches 165.
  4. A temperature of 225 degrees is ideal for smoking chicken. Most of your recipes use this temperature and then sear the chicken at the end to get the best of both worlds—that smoky flavor and that crispy skin.
  5. Sear: This step is frequently forgotten, skipped, or ignored. It’s not necessary, but it’s a fantastic way to make your smoked chicken taste better. Don’t skip this step, let yourself rest! It is crucial that those juices spread out.

Where there’s smoke, there’s well-flavored meat and poultry. Using a smoker is one method of imparting natural smoke flavor to large cuts of meat, whole poultry, and turkey breasts. This slow cooking technique keeps them tender, too.

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Serving suggestions for chicken legs

Serving suggestions for chicken legs

Serving suggestions for chicken legs

Drumsticks go well with a variety of side dishes. A creamy blue cheese dip and an ancho chili and honey barbecue sauce are two of our favorite sauces and dips for the legs.

For a dinner or picnic, serve the legs with this special Mac and Cheese, creamed corn, or grilled green beans with goat cheese.

Smoked chicken legs: storing and re-heating

Smoked chicken legs: storing and re-heating

Smoked chicken legs: storing and re-heating

For three to five days after being smoked, leftover chicken legs can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They taste pretty good cold, particularly when dipped in some BBQ sauce.

A medium-sized grill is the best place to reheat a smoked chicken leg. On medium heat, they typically need 10 to 15 minutes to fully warm. Turning the legs every 5 to 7 minutes will ensure that the skin crisps up.

On a baking sheet or in a roasting pan, they can also be warmed for 15 to 20 minutes in an oven set to 350°F (177°C).

FAQs How long to smoke chicken legs?

How long do chicken leg quarters need to smoke at 225 degrees?

You can expect to smoke your chicken quarters at 225 degrees Fahrenheit for 2.5 to 3 hours.

How long should chicken legs be smoked at 250?

Before starting the smoker, clean the grill grate and set the temperature to 250°F (121°C). Smoke the chicken legs at 250°F (121°C) for as long as necessary to reach 175°F (79°C) internally. Normally, this takes two hours.

How long does smoking chicken at 275 take?

At 250–275 degrees Fahrenheit, a chicken breast can be smoked for 4-6 hours to reach 165 degrees.

Can chicken legs be smoked at 300 degrees?

About one hour to 1.5 hours are needed to smoke chicken legs at 300 degrees (60–90 minutes).


Enjoy some chicken legs in a smoky and flavorful way with this recipe for smoked chicken legs. They are bursting with flavor and can be eaten on their own or with any barbecue sauce of your choosing. Thank you for visiting!

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