Smoked Chicken Legs

7 reviews

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These Smoked Chicken Legs are a smoky, delicious way to enjoy chicken legs. They’re packed with flavor and can be enjoyed dry or with your favorite BBQ sauce.

smoked chicken legs on the smoker. Text overlay reads, "Smoked Chicken Legs."

Smoked Chicken Legs

I understand that sometimes you want to make a simple smoked chicken legs recipe, and this is that recipe, my friends! This is a true blue BBQ chicken legs recipe. No frills here! This classic, simple technique and method will help ensure you get juicy meat, crispy skin, and lots of flavor on your smoked chicken legs.

This is a basic recipe for smoked chicken legs that you can mess around with to make your own. You can play with the smoke flavor and seasoning to get it to your preferred taste. And lemme tell ya, the combinations are endless!

Another great bonus with smoking chicken legs? Drumsticks are cheap! I often see them in the grocery store for around 99 cents a pound. Talk about a BBQ deal! Chicken legs are a good way to get your legs under you when you’re just learning to smoke. It’s a great way to help you master your skills without spending a ton of money.

seasoned chicken legs on grill grates.

Smoked Chicken Legs Seasoning

First up when making our smoked chicken legs is the seasoning. I like to use a nice sweet rub for my smoked chicken legs. My Signature Sweet Rub is available for purchase from Patio Provisions, or you can make it yourself using this recipe for the Best Sweet Rub It’s a combination of 8 amazing ingredients, including brown sugar and smoked paprika. This sweet rub is well-balanced with a kiss of heat at the end.

Before seasoning these chicken legs with the sweet rub, make sure to drizzle with a good layer of olive oil first (this helps to prevent the skin from going too chewy and leathery as well as helping the seasoning adhere to the chicken).

How to Smoke Chicken Legs

Friends, chicken legs are some of the easiest things to make on the smoker. And, as mentioned above, they’re relatively cheap as well. I consider smoked chicken legs to be a great beginner cook when you’re just learning how to smoke. Oh, and for those of you veteran smokers, they’re the perfect thing to toss on the grill for a tasty weekday dinner.

Here’s the ins and outs on how to smoke chicken legs:

  1. Preheat. Get the smoker cooking at 275 degrees F. In addition to drizzling the chicken legs with olive oil, this temperature is key to preventing leathery skin from developing.
  2. Season. Drizzle the chicken legs with olive oil, and season on all sides with my Sweet Rub.
  3. Smoke. Smoke the chicken legs directly on the grill grates for approximately 1 1/2 hours. Target temperature for these chicken legs is 175 degrees F. If saucing your legs: Brush your favorite BBQ sauce (I have 3 amazing sauces to choose from on Patio Provisions!) when the legs reach 165 degrees.
  4. Enjoy. Before digging into your delicious chicken legs, allow them to rest for a few minutes.

As mentioned before, play around with these! Change up the wood used to smoke the legs. Try a different combination of seasoning or BBQ sauce. You can even divide up your chicken legs and try half with one rub/sauce combo and the other half with another. There is no right or wrong way to flavor these chicken legs!

smoked and saucy chicken legs in the smoker.

How Long to Smoke Chicken Legs

It takes approximately 90 minutes (one and a half hours) to fully smoke chicken legs, but this time can vary. It’s best to have a reliable meat thermometer on hand to keep an eye at temperature as you near this 90-minute mark (the ThermoWorks Mk4 is the best of the best, or try the ThermoPop if you’re on a budget).

Chicken legs need to be smoked until they reach an internal temperature of 175 degrees F. If you are smoking your chicken legs dry (without any sauce), pull the chicken off the smoker at 175 degrees. If you are wanting to add some of your favorite BBQ sauce to the legs, brush the chicken with sauce when the internal temperature reads 165 degrees F. Those last 10 degrees on the smoker with sauce will allow the sauce to tighten and caramelize. Quick tip: you can think out your BBQ sauce with a little apple juice to make it more spreadable on your chicken legs.

My recommendation? Do a little bit of both! Leave some of your chicken legs dry and brush half with BBQ sauce for a perfect variety at dinnertime! Winner winner, chicken dinner!

Sauced and seasoned chicken legs on a plate.

More Smoked Chicken Recipes

Oh, baby, do I love smoked chicken. If you’re a fan of smoking your own chicken at home, check out these delicious recipes available on Hey Grill Hey. I guarantee they’ll all bring a smile to your face!

Smoked Chicken Thighs
Whole Smoked Chicken
Smoked Chicken Breast

Smoked Chicken Legs Recipe

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Smoked Chicken Legs

By: Susie Bulloch (
4.86 from 7 votes
Smoked Chicken Legs are a smoky, delicious way to enjoy chicken legs. They're packed with flavor and can be enjoyed dry or with your favorite BBQ sauce.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time1 hour 45 minutes



  • Preheat smoker to 275 degrees F. (This prevents leathery skin from developing)
  • Drizzle the chicken legs on all sides with the olive oil and season with the sweet rub.
  • Place the chicken legs on the smoker, close the lid, and smoke for 1 1/2 hours or until the internal temperature of the legs reaches 175 degrees F. Optional: At 165 degrees brush the chicken legs with your favorite BBQ sauce (you can thin out your BBQ sauce with apple juice to give you a nice glaze vs. a thick BBQ sauce).
  • Remove the legs from the smoker. Let them rest for a few minutes and enjoy!


Calories: 318.94kcal | Carbohydrates: 2.65g | Protein: 21.52g | Fat: 24.4g | Saturated Fat: 6.25g | Cholesterol: 120.22mg | Sodium: 109.66mg | Potassium: 287.71mg | Fiber: 0.42g | Sugar: 0.12g | Vitamin A: 216.23IU | Vitamin C: 0.7mg | Calcium: 48.45mg | Iron: 2.2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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Susie is the BBQ Brain behind the Hey Grill Hey website. Her passion for smoked meats and developing fun, new recipes have landed her on the Food Network, cooking turkeys with Shaq, and on a couple of Guinness World Records. When she’s not grilling, she is hanging out with Todd and their three kids, preferably outdoors!

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Recipe Rating

Reader Reviews

36 Reviews

  1. Richard Martins says:

    I soak my chicken legs in lemonade,soy sauce,garlic cloves and lemon slices overnight. Let them dry at room temp for an hour and smoke them. Try this and you will never come back!

  2. Todd says:

    Came out juicy and flavorful.

  3. Jason says:

    Wondering if I can crank up the heat to 425 at the end (like the chicken wing recipe on this site)? I love that wing recipe but wings are crazy expensive lately!

    1. Hey Grill Hey says:


  4. Ryan says:

    This is the only recipe I use when making chicken drummies. Works every time

  5. Tom says:

    I usually do skinless drumsticks marinated in extra virgin olive and different chicken seasoning 275 smoke 8 on my camp chef for about a hr and a half chicken is moist and juicy and an nice smoke flavor using competition blend hit it at the end with some sweet baby Ray’s btombq sauce

  6. Calvin 2 says:

    I do the legs on a hanging leg rack use the sweet rub and made your bourbon maple glaze as a bbq sauce turned out awesome, tks for all the tips, Calvin Griffith, Canada.

  7. Pam Jones says:

    How do you smoke the chicken legs if you have soaked them in brine over night??

    1. Mikey says:

      Same. Way. Out of the brine, I’d pat em dry, possibly put them on a wire rack in the fridge for a spell to dry, then pick up HeyGrill’s recipe with olive oil….

  8. Eric says:

    My grill has set point for 250 or 300. Which would you recommend for this?

    1. Hey Grill Hey says:

      Either should work fine. 300 will give you crispier skin.

  9. Leslie says:

    These are Drumsticks, Not Legs!!

    1. Rick Marshall says:

      Omg. Then what is a Drumstick .

      1. me says:

        bottom portion of leg with out the thigh silly

  10. Sharie says:

    Can this be done on a gas grill? Maybe indirect heat?