Easy Smoked Chicken Drumsticks Recipe

Last Updated on June 2, 2022 by Anne-Marie

This easy smoked chicken drumsticks recipe is made with a flavorful BBQ chicken rub. Enjoy this chicken legs recipe with your favorite BBQ sauces and sides.

Smoked chicken drumsticks on a wooden board with small bowls of BBQ sauce.

Why this recipe works

These smoked chicken legs are coated with a homemade spice rub mix made with simple ingredients. Then they're smoked until juicy and tender.

It's easy to get that fantastic smoky flavor in this chicken recipe with this simple recipe.

What type of smoker should you cook this on?

This Traeger chicken recipe was cooked on a Traeger pellet grill

Check out my The Best Smoker Grill Guide or my electric pellet smoker review for more preferred smokers.

Smoked chicken legs with on a wooden board with small bowls of BBQ sauces.

Ingredients

  • chicken drumsticks
  • olive oil

Smoked Chicken Rub Ingredients

  • dark brown sugar (or use sugar-free Swerve Sweetener, Brown)
  • coarse sea salt or kosher salt
  • smoked paprika
  • cracked black pepper
  • ground cumin
  • onion powder
  • garlic powder
  • cayenne pepper

How to make this recipe

This makes enough sweet rub for two chicken recipes. Reserve the remaining spice mix in an airtight container.

1. Preheat the smoker to 180° F.

2. Combine the chicken rub in a small bowl.

3. Pat the chicken legs dry with a paper towel.

4. Coat the drumsticks with olive oil and season generously with the spice rub.

5. Place drumsticks directly on the grill grate or smoker rack. Smoke for 30 minutes with the lid closed.

6. Increase the grill temperature to 375° F and cook for another 20-30 minutes or until the internal temperature of the drumsticks reaches 165° F.

7. Serve this simple smoked chicken legs recipe immediately.

8. Store leftover chicken legs in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

A gloved hand with tongs grilling up chicken legs.

FAQs

What’s the best wood for smoking chicken?

To get the best smokey flavor, here are the best wood chip or wood pellet options for gas grills or electric smokers:

Applewood pellet or chip

Hickory wood pellet or chip

Maple wood pellet or chip

Cherry wood pellet or chip

Pecan wood pellet or chip

What temperature do you smoke chicken drumsticks at?

First, you bring the preheated smoker to 180° F.

Smoke the chicken for 30 minutes with the lid closed.

Then you increase the grill temperature to 375 degrees F.

Cook for another 20 to 30 minutes until an instant-read thermometer placed near the thickest part of the drumstick reads at an internal temp of 165 degrees F.

Use a quality instant-read meat thermometer. That way, you don't over or undercook the chicken.

As long as you don't overcook your chicken, it will be moist and tender.

A white plate with two BBQ chicken legs with a bite taken out of one.

Can you make this with other cuts of chicken?

Yes, if you're a fan of dark meat, you can also make this recipe with chicken thighs. Just make sure to cook until it's done.

You can also make this with bone-in skin-on chicken breast as long as the meat is nice and thick. (Boneless, skinless chicken breasts would cook too quickly and dry out.)

Check out my Best Smoked Chicken Thighs Recipe.

Try this Smoked Chicken Leg & Thigh Quarters Recipe if you love to brine chicken.

For a great way to smoke a whole chicken, try this Easy Smoked Beer Can Chicken Recipe.

How do you get crispy chicken skin?

The secret to getting crispy skin during the smoking process is to smoke the chicken on indirect heat at 180 degrees F for 30 minutes.

You do a higher temperature sear for 20-30 minutes at 375 degrees to finish.

The result is crispy chicken skin, and juicy meat lots of people will rave about.

A board of BBQ chicken drumsticks with a plate in the background of chicken legs with bowls of BBQ sauce and Alabama BBQ sauce.

How to serve

Serve this chicken leg recipe with these sauces:

These delicious side dishes go great with BBQ chicken:

What's your favorite way to smoke chicken?

Yield: 8 DRUMSTICKS

Easy Smoked Chicken Drumsticks Recipe

Smoked chicken legs with on a wooden board with small bowls of BBQ sauces.

This easy smoked chicken drumsticks recipe is made with a sweet BBQ chicken rub. Enjoy this chicken legs recipe with your favorite BBQ sauce.

Ingredients

  • 8 chicken drumsticks
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Smoked Chicken Rub

  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tablespoons coarse sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tablespoons cracked black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (plus more to taste)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the smoker to 180° F.
  2. Combine the chicken rub in a small bowl.
  3. Pat the chicken legs dry with a paper towel.
  4. Coat the drumsticks with olive oil and season generously with the spice rub.
  5. Place the chicken drumsticks directly on the grill grate or smoker rack. Smoke for 30 minutes with the lid closed.
  6. Increase the grill temperature to 375° F and cook for another 20-30 minutes or until the internal temperature of the drumsticks reaches 165° F.
  7. Serve this simple smoked chicken legs recipe immediately.
  8. Store leftover chicken legs in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Notes

This makes enough sweet rub for two chicken recipes. Reserve the remaining spice mix in an airtight container.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 229Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 116mgSodium: 1679mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 1gSugar: 6gProtein: 22g

Nutritional information is automatically calculated per the ingredients list. Serving size may not be accurate. Please double-check with your preferred nutritional app for the most accurate information.

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