Smoked Chicken Legs

Smoking chicken legs is an easy way to make your next backyard BBQ a hit
Smoking Chicken

Slowly smoked chicken legs have an almost buttery texture and taste delicious

by | Updated Dec 4, 2019 | 0 comments

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

How to Smoke Chicken Legs

There are a few things to keep in mind when your smoking chicken leg quarters. Smoking them at a lower temperature gives them time to develop layers of flavor and produces juicy chicken with better texture then higher temperatures. 

It also helps to use a spice rub that compliments the smoke. 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 with more heat increase the chipotle by 1/2 tsp and reduce the brown sugar by 1/2 tsp.

We recommend smoking chicken legs at 250ºF for an hour and a half or so until the chicken has cooked all the way through and its internal temperature has reached 165ºF.

Chicken Ready Smoker

Make sure to get the rub spread under the skin and around the legs

The best wood chips we’ve found for smoking chicken are hickory and mesquite.

One way to make smoking easier is to get a wireless thermometer. Using a wireless thermometer lets you lounge in the backyard with beer or get other things done without having to constantly check on the chicken.

Get Umami's best recipes, cooking tips, and stories delivered to your inbox!

Original Recipes, Cooking Tips, Kitchen Gear, Travel & More

What to Serve

Smoked chicken legs are easy to make for larger groups or backyard barbecues. The chicken has enough flavor that we usually serve it straight from the smoker. It can also be crisped up on the grill and coated with BBQ sauce. To finish it with BBQ sauce, use the Flip, Fire, and Paint technique.

Smoked Chicken

This chicken is delicious with grits and grilled veggies

If we’re serving the chicken for a BBQ, we like to pair it with Taco Salad and Grilled Corn on the Cob. When we’re serving it for dinner, we like to serve it with Cheesy Polenta and Grilled Asparagus.

Smoking Chicken

Smoked Chicken

4.13 from 8 votes
Print Pin Recipe
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.

Recommended Equipment

Like this recipe?Follow us @umami_site
Course: Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: American, BBQ
Keyword: BBQ, Grilling, Smoked Meat


Check these out for more:

Nutrition Facts
Smoked Chicken
Amount Per Serving
Calories 289 Calories from Fat 189
% Daily Value*
Fat 21g32%
Saturated Fat 6g30%
Cholesterol 120mg40%
Sodium 998mg42%
Potassium 286mg8%
Carbohydrates 3g1%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 21g42%
Vitamin A 665IU13%
Vitamin C 0.2mg0%
Calcium 12mg1%
Iron 1.4mg8%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Let us know what you think


More from Umami

Get Umami's Best
Delivered to Your Inbox


Original Recipes
Cooking Tips
Kitchen Gear
Travel & More

Send this to a friend