Smoked chicken legs are great to kick start for the newbies in the grilling and smoking world. You can play around it and try your own recipes every time you are willing to cook.
Smoked chicken legs and drumsticks
Using chicken drumsticks is an excellent option for not only the learners but also everyone. Chicken Drumsticks are as cheap as 99 cents per pound and give a fabulous taste as compared to chicken legs.
Chicken drumsticks and legs are easiest and one of the most popular things everyone tries on their smokers. Whenever I cook chicken Drumsticks on my smoker, I keep end up with the empty plates as my family go nuts over them.
Though the term ‘smoked chicken legs’ looks easy and simple, there are endless possibilities and combination that you can try and mess up with. I probably use applewood chips but you can choose whatever you like. You can play around different flavours of rubs and seasonings, drying the pieces in the refrigerator overnight and smoking over a high temperature and not what!
Seasoning for Chicken legs and drumsticks
The very first thing that I always take care of is the seasoning. It is an excellent way to bring out the natural flavour of the chicken legs and drumsticks without messing up things. I use different types of rubs every time to check out the taste and to try out something new but sweet rubs are always my favourite.
You can check the best rubs that we have found out for you. Though it is not necessary to buy rubs as you can create a one yourself, It is best practice to have a rub of different flavours so that you can mess around them and it also gives an excellent flavour. Or, you can just add paper, salt and acids like lemon juice.
It is recommended that the legs and drumsticks should be drizzled with a layer of olive oil so that it help seasoning adhere to the chicken and it also prevent it from going too chewy.
How to smoke chicken legs/drumsticks
As I said, I usually keep my chicken legs and drumsticks overnight in the refrigerator for it drying out and this period ranges from 8 to 9 hours.
Though chicken legs and drumsticks look quite similar, they are totally different. Drumstick is the darker part of the leg and because of the bone, it takes slighly long to cook.
The overall recipe takes about 10-11 hours which include the preparation time, cooking time as well as serving time.
You can finish up with grilling the drumsticks if you want the skin crispy. Though many don’t prefer it, I personally love the combination of smoke and grilling effect on my chicken drumsticks.
Below, I am sharing my personal recipe for the smoked chicken legs and drumsticks. I will also share some ins and outs for both the chicken legs and drumsticks, what you should follow and what to skip.
The following recipe is for 12 drumsticks, you can change your ingredients accordingly.
Here are the ingredients and the steps for how you can cook smoked legs or drumsticks:-
- 12 chicken drumsticks
- 3 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1/3 Cup BBQ rub as per your flavour
Recipe for smoking the chicken legs/drumsticks
- First, air dry the legs and drumsticks overnight for approximately 8 hours by placing them in drip tray or baking sheet.
- Get your smoker heat up to 275 degrees F. Add wood chips in it. Maple, pecan, oak are some of the widely used wood for the smokers but I always like to use applewood chips which gives the chicken an excellent smoky flavour.
- Apply the vegetable oil on your drumsticks or legs lightly by brush. Spread the season on every side of it and toss to coat evenly. Make sure seasoning gets covered everywhere on the chickens’ pieces, so that effect takes place evenly.
- Now, place the legs or drumsticks in the smoke. Cook for approximately 2- 2 1/2 hours until the temperature goes up to 175-180 degrees F.
- After trying this recipe couple of times, I got to know that drumsticks take quite longer than chicken legs to get a perfect smokey and juicy effect.
- Now, you can give a kiss of grilling to the chicken drumsticks and legs if you want a crispy skin else you can directly serve it.
Enjoy the smoked chicken legs and drumsticks with the BBQ sauce or you can have it as dry.
How long should I smoke the chicken?
See, there is no standard time for how long one should smoke the chicken legs or drumsticks. It takes me usually up to 2 hours to perfectly cook the chicken drumsticks whereas it takes couple minute less for the chicken legs.
Smoking chicken is not a big deal, you can mess around anything and surely will end up with something crazy, sometimes tasty, sometimes not.
Keep in mind that while using the BBQ Rub and Sauce for smoking, brush the pieces with the sauce not before the internal temperature reaches 160-165 degrees F. It help sauce to tighten and caramelize.
And again, you can end up with the quick finishing of grilling effect on the legs or drumsticks for sure.
Winner winner, chicken dinner!