Smoked Chicken Legs with a quick dry rub are full of flavor and can feed a crowd. Smoking really doesn't get easier than this. Whether you are new to smoking or a seasoned veteran, Smoked Chicken Drumsticks are easy to make. Make sure you add this recipe to your repertoire.
Chicken legs are a grocery store staple because they are flavorful and one of the cheapest cuts of meat you can buy. It is hard to overcook poultry with dark meat so you can really concentrate on the flavor.
Smoking chicken is the easiest way to prepare juicy and flavorful chicken. Discover the easiest way to prepare smoked chicken on your Traeger pellet grill.
The beauty with smoked chicken legs and thighs is the dark meat that surrounds the bone stays moist and produces a juicy bite. Contrast that with the smoky seasoned bark of the chicken and this meal is a home run every time.
Make our Traeger Beer Can Chicken next!
Dry Rub for Chicken
You only need five simple ingredients and one minute to make the best dry rub for chicken and just about any other meat.
In a small bowl combine two parts of each of these spice ingredients: smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper. Add in one part of kosher salt. Mix well until thoroughly combined.
How to Make Smoked Chicken Legs
Step One: Take the chicken legs out of the packaging and remove any extra moisture by patting them with a paper towel. Place chicken legs either in a large bowl or on a large cooking sheet.
Step Two: Sprinkle the spice dry rub all over the legs. Using your hands or a pair of tongs, roll them around to ensure they all get evenly coated with the spice mixture.
Step Three: Once your smoker is preheated to 225°F place the seasoned drumsticks directly on the grill grate or smoker rack. Insert a leave-in meat thermometer to monitor the internal temperature and close the smoker. We used a combination of cherry, apple, and oak wood.
Cook them on the smoker for about 90 minutes or once the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. I will leave my meat probe thermometer set to 165°F and place it in a thick leg. Once the alarm goes off, I will quickly check the internal temp on each one to ensure they are all cooked thoroughly. Luckily with legs and other dark meat, even if you overcook them to 175 degrees, there are very forgiving and moist. It will be tough to overcook these guys.
Expert Tip: For crispy chicken skin you can grill them on high for a couple of minutes on each side when they hit 160.
These taste great the way they are with the crispy skin, the smoky flavor, and the spice rub.
BBQ Sauce - If you want to add some variety serve them with your favorite BBQ sauce. We all have a different favorite barbecue sauce in our house. From classic red sauce to Mississippi white sauce and yellow mustard-based sauces.
Spices - Swapping out the spices in the dry rub is a great way to keep this dish new every time. Add some ground chipotle pepper or cayenne pepper for heat or try a different variety of pepper such as ground white pepper.
Sweetness - If you like your dry rubs to be sweet mix in some brown sugar. Or rub honey on the chicken legs before adding the rub.
What Type of Wood Should I Use to Smoke Chicken?
For this smoke, I used a mix of hickory and pecan. I cooked these on the Traeger pellet grill and mixed the pellets about a pound of each. If you don't have a pellet smoker, and you are using charcoal or a propane smoker, pick your favorite wood chips. I wanted to have a nice strong smoke flavor.
How to Serve Smoked Drumsticks
Serve with a simple side dish for an easy meal. We served these with a garden salad that we dressed with a generous drizzle of olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and a sprinkling of salt and pepper.
Other great side options are:
Smoked Scalloped Potatoes - The scalloped potatoes are packed with cheese sauce and bacon. They are so rich and creamy and pair perfectly with chicken.
Grilled Delicata Squash - Grilled delicata squash with a dash of salt is a classic dish for the fall season.
Smoked Cauliflower - The smoky, charred cauliflower is the perfect accompaniment to anything from smoked drumsticks to a good old-fashioned steak.
How to Store Leftovers
Store any leftover chicken legs in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.
More Recipes for the Smoker
These smoker recipes are easy to make and require minimal preparation. They are a great addition to your weekly meal plan and will be loved by everyone in your family. If you love this smoked chicken legs recipe make sure to check out some of our other favorite smoker recipes:
- Traeger Chicken Thighs - Tender and succulent, these chicken thighs are another economical main entree choice.
- Smoked Duck Breast - This smoked duck has a delicious maple glaze.
- Traeger Smoked Salmon - It is so easy to make your own smoked salmon. This is one of our top recipes.
- Smoked Rack of Lamb - When you want to impress your dinner company this is the smoker recipe you need.
- Traeger Chicken Wings - Having a party? Try our smoked chicken wings.
- 3 lb chicken legs
- 2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Preheat your smoker to 225.
- Combine the ingredients for the dry rub in a small bowl.
- Pat the chicken legs dry with a paper towel. Coat them thoroughly with the dry rub.
- Place the seasoned chicken legs directly on the grill grate or smoker rack of the preheated smoker.
- Cook them for about 90 minutes or once the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.