Smoked Chicken

Slowly smoked chicken legs have a rich smokey flavor and warm buttery texture that melts in your mouth.

Whole chicken legs, sometimes called chicken quarters, are a great choice when you’re cooking for groups.

The advantage chicken legs have is they’re fairly inexpensive, develop great flavor when cooked low and slow, and they come with a handle that makes them easy for people to eat at picnics and barbecues.

The spice rub for this recipe has a little sweet and a little heat that helps the chicken develop complex flavors as it smokes. If you like your smoked chicken spicer increase the chipotle by 1/2 tsp and reduce the brown sugar by 1/2 tsp.

For a delicious dinner try making this smoked chicken with our Cheesy Polenta and Grilled Asparagus.

Smoking Chicken

Smoked Chicken

4.13 from 8 votes
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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings: 4 servings


  • 4 to 6 whole chicken legs
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle powder


  • In a small bowl mix the brown sugar, smoked paprika, cumin, chili, garlic, and chipotle powders along with the salt and pepper.
  • Spread the rub on the chicken, taking the time to get it under the skin and around the legs.
  • Smoke the chicken at 250ºF for an hour and a half or so until the chicken has cooked all the way through and reached 165ºF.
  • Let the chicken rest for a few minutes before serving it with a good BBQ sauce for dipping.


We like to use Hickory when smoking chicken. Also, an easy way to make smoking easier is to get a wireless thermometer.
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