These Smoked Chicken Legs are perfect for summer! The chicken is coated with a homemade dry rub on the outside then cooked in flavorful smoke until you have juicy, tender chicken on the inside. The crispy, crackly skin is full of fantastic flavor that will have everyone coming back for seconds.
I based this recipe on Smoked Pork Loin Roast. It has a fantastic dry rub that adds such unique flavor to the meat. After all, we love a sweet and savory rub with a little bit of heat!
Do you know what is fantastic about chicken legs? They are relatively inexpensive! I buy them when they go on sale, and I can feed my family without breaking the bank in the process. They are economical when having a group of friends over for a barbecue, and everyone loves them!
See the step-by-step instructions in the recipe card below.
Tips & Tricks
- Anytime you smoke meat on the smoker, cook by temperature, not by time. We use this thermometer meat probe to keep a close watch on the temperature of the meat to ensure it is always cooked to the proper temperature. If the chicken sits on the smoker too long it will be dry and rubbery.
- Check and make sure your wood pellets are topped up before you begin. Check periodically while smoking to ensure you don't run out and top up if necessary.
You only need a few simple ingredients to make these delicious smoked chicken legs.
First up, the main ingredient is chicken legs (obviously 😉). If they are frozen, ensure that you defrost them first before smoking.
The other key ingredient for smoked chicken legs is a sweet rub. Again, I use a homemade rub, and you can make it yourself using this recipe for Dry Rub for Chicken. It is a combination of 8 everyday ingredients that are sweet, savory, and spicy. This rub leaves a beautifully caramelized crusty and crackly exterior.
Before covering these chicken legs with the sweet rub, make sure to drizzle with a tablespoon or two of olive oil first. The oil will help the dry rub stick to the chicken legs.
How to smoke chicken legs
Chicken legs are so easy to cook on the smoker. These are perfect for a weeknight dinner or on the weekend with your favorite summer side dishes.
- Preheat the smoker. Our smoker is the Pit Boss 8-in-1 grill and smoker. Set the temperature to 250 degrees F. Top it up with wood pellets of your choice. Our favorites are the Competition Blend and Hickory Blend.
- Season. Apply olive oil to the chicken legs with a brush or your fingers. Apply homemade spice rub liberally on the chicken. You can either place a couple of teaspoons on a plate and roll the chicken leg in the rub, or apply with a spoon or an electric salt and pepper grinder filled with the spice rub. Ensure it covers all parts of the chicken leg; top, bottom, and sides. Use your fingers to push the rub into the meat.
- Smoke. Once the smoker comes up to temperature, place the chicken legs directly on the preheated grill. Feel free to add a little more rub. Put your thermometer probes in, horizontally through each side into the thickest part of the meat. Make sure the tip of the probe is not touching the bone. Close the lid and smoke until the internal temperature of the chicken legs is 175°F. If you desire, brush with your favorite BBQ sauce the last few minutes of smoking.
- Rest. Remove the smoked chicken legs from the grill and place them on a serving tray. Cover with aluminurm foil and let rest for 5 minutes to allow the juices to reincorporate into the meat. Serve along with your favorite side dishes.
Smoker: Our pellet grill is the Pit Boss smoker 8-1. It uses 100% wood pellets as fuel instead of gas and propane. There is nothing better than food cooked on the smoker; it adds so much flavor!
High-quality temperature probe: This is a must-have item if you own a smoker. We use the ThermoPro Wireless Digital Cooking Food Meat Thermometer with Dual Probes; we love it!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
It takes about 2 hours at 250 degrees F to smoke drumsticks, or until the internal temperature reaches 175 degrees F.
Yes, you can. The chicken will end up dry, challenging, and rubbery. However, if cooked until the internal temperature reaches 175 degrees F, the chicken will be juicy and tender.
Wood chips that complement chicken are mesquite, cherry, and apple. Hickory is one of our favorites as it has a sweet taste that reminds me of bacon. The competition blend has a mixture of maple, cherry, and hickory.
What can I serve with Smoked Chicken Legs?
These smoked chicken legs go perfect with summer sides. Here are some of our favorites:
If you’ve tried Smoked Chicken Legs or any other recipe, please take a moment to rate the recipe and leave a comment letting me know how you liked it. I love hearing from you!
Please also sign up for my weekly newsletter to get my latest recipes!
Smoked Chicken Legs
- Electric Pellet Grill
- 2 pounds chicken legs
- 1-2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1-2 tablespoon Dry Rub for Chicken
- Preheat the smoker to 250°F. Make sure it is topped up with wood pellets.
- Drizzle the chicken legs on all sides with the olive oil.
- Apply the dry rub over the chicken legs and ensure it covers all parts; top, bottom, and sides.
- Once the smoker comes up to temperature, place the chicken legs directly on the preheated grill and put your thermometer probe in, horizontally through each side, into the thickest part of the meat without touching the bone.
- Close the lid and smoke until the internal temperature of the chicken legs is 175°F. This will take about 2 hours.
- If you like BBQ sauce, apply your favorite sauce the last few minutes of cooking time.
- Remove the smoked chicken legs from the grill and place them on a serving tray. Cover with aluminum foil and let rest for 5 minutes to allow the juices to reincorporate into the meat.