Smoked Chicken Drumsticks are so easy to cook on a Traeger grill or other electric pellet grill. You’ll love how little prep is involved in this BBQ drumstick recipe and how inexpensive it is to serve a crowd!
Why You Should Make Smoked Chicken Drumsticks
Cooking chicken drumsticks on your pellet grill is a great way to infuse the juicy meat with rich smoky flavors. Plus, there is virtually no prep time involved in this chicken leg recipe, which makes it a great option when you need an easy chicken dinner idea!
These barbecue chicken drumsticks are also ideal for summer BBQs and cookouts, tailgating, or other sports viewing parties.
Tools Needed to Make Smoked Chicken Drumsticks
You’ll need a few kitchen tools to prepare this simple smoked chicken legs recipe. Here’s what I recommend having on hand before getting started:
- Small Bowl – to mix the seasonings in if you plan to make a homemade spice rub.
- Smoker Grill – we cook this smoked chicken legs recipe on our Traeger, but any pellet smoker should do the trick.
- Digital Meat Thermometer – to test the internal temperature of the chicken legs during the smoking process.
- Tongs – to transfer the drumsticks to and from the grill.
What’s in these Smoked Chicken Drumsticks?
This chicken drumstick recipe only takes a couple of ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need to have on hand:
- Spice Rub for Chicken
- Drumsticks / Chicken Legs
For the complete ingredient list and detailed instructions to make smoked chicken drumsticks, scroll to the bottom of this post for the FREE printable recipe card.
How to Smoke Chicken Legs
Drumsticks are one of the easiest meats to cook on the smoker! Here’s a quick overview of the process:
- Coat paper towel dried drumsticks in your favorite dry rub for chicken (or use my favorite recipe).
- Set the chicken aside and preheat the smoker to the “smoke” setting (on our’s that is 140 degrees F).
- Transfer the seasoned chicken to the pellet grill and place directly on the grill grates.
- Smoke for 30 – 60 minutes, depending on how much smoke flavor you want.
- Increase the temp to 350 degrees F and cook until and instant read thermometer reads at least 165 degrees F.
The above is simply a quick summary of this recipe. Check out the full recipe in the free printable recipe card at the bottom of this post for all the detailed instructions.
Tips for Smoking Chicken Drumsticks
- Pat the drumsticks dry before tossing in the dry rub for best results.
- Coat the chicken with the dry rub on all sides and season liberally!
- When using a meat thermometer, make sure to insert it into the thickest portion of the meat.
- After the drumsticks are finished cooking, let them rest for a few minutes before serving. This allows the juices to redistribute and results in more tender meat.
What to Serve with Smoked Chicken Drumsticks
We think these chicken drumsticks have plenty of flavor thanks to the dry rub, but if you’re a bbq sauce lover you might like to serve your favorite barbecue sauce alongside for dipping. Ranch dressing is another popular dipping sauce to use!
Here are a few of our favorite side dishes:
Summer Potlucks and BBQs don’t seem complete without a big bowl of this Classic Potato Salad. Creamy mayo, celery, onion, hard-boiled eggs, and of course plenty of potatoes make up this recipe. In our family’s opinion, it is simply the best potato salad recipe!
In this recipe for Creamy Jalapeño BBQ Coleslaw, your typical BBQ Coleslaw gets a makeover with the addition of jalapeño for just a bit of heat for your tastebuds!
Macaroni Salad is a classic summertime recipe that you’ll find at almost every picnic! This recipe has a basic macaroni salad base recipe along with lots of ideas for salad mix-ins. Keep it traditional, or get creative!
Smoked Chicken Drumstick Recipe FAQs
Got questions about how to make smoked chicken drumsticks? Here are the answers to a few commonly asked questions. Feel free to leave any other questions in the comments on this post and I’ll respond with answers.
What should I season drumsticks with before smoking them?
Any simple dry rub that is meant for chicken will do! You can make this recipe as homemade or as simple as you like, so feel free to use store bought if that’s what you like.
We like this BBQ Chicken Rub – it is a sweet and spicy rub with brown sugar in it.
Can I add BBQ sauce to my smoked drumsticks?
Yes – you can baste the drumsticks in your favorite BBQ sauce during the last 5 minutes of cooking. Or, serve the smoked chicken legs alongside BBQ sauce for dipping.
How long does it take to smoke chicken legs?
Approximately 60 – 80 minutes using this method. You’ll cook them for 30 – 60 minutes on the “smoke” setting followed by 20 – 30 minutes at 350 degrees F.
What temperature should I set my smoker for drumsticks?
We set our smoker to “Smoke” (on ours that is 140 degrees F) to infuse the drumsticks with delicious smoky flavor. Then, switch it to 350 degrees F to grill after they’ve smoked.
How do I prevent rubbery chicken skin when smoking chicken?
You need a higher temperature to get crispy chicken skin. So, you’ll need to increase the heat to at least 350 degrees F for a portion of the cook time to get crispy skin on your smoked drumsticks.
Alternatively, you can transfer the smoked chicken drumsticks to a hot grill for a few minutes after smoking.
How do I know when drumsticks are done?
Drumsticks are safe to eat once the internal temperature of the meat (when taken at the thickest part of the drumstick) registers 165 degrees F. However, the dark meat is more tender when cooked to 175 – 190 degrees F.
Make sure you cook at least to 165 degrees F. Anything higher than that is fair game according to your preferences.
Can I use a different cut of chicken for this recipe?
Sure! You might like to try bone-in skin-on chicken breasts or chicken quarters for this recipe. Just make sure that you use a meat thermometer to gauge doneness according to the internal temperature of the chicken.
Can I make smoked chicken drumsticks ahead of time?
I don’t recommend it because the chicken skin will lose its crispiness when stored in the refrigerator.
However, you can add the dry rub the night before and store the seasoned drumsticks on a baking sheet in the refrigerator until you plan to smoke them.
Tip: leave them uncovered so the skin can dry out overnight – this will help the skin crisp up when cooked.
How should I store leftover Traeger chicken drumsticks?
The best way to store leftover chicken legs should is in an airtight container in the refrigerator. You can freeze them, however I don’t recommend it as the skin will not stay crispy after freezing and thawing.
Try this Recipe for Smoked Chicken Drumsticks!
Next time you’re looking for an easy chicken drumsticks recipe, give these Smoked Chicken Drumsticks a try!
Did you love the delicious smoke flavor paired with the spice rub and dark meat chicken? Leave a star rating and comment below and give it a review for others to see what you thought of this simple recipe.
On Instagram? Share your photo and tag me with @goodlifeeats and #goodlifeeatsrecipes. I’d love to see a photo of your BBQ chicken drumsticks!
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Don’t see what you’re looking for here? You can always head over to check out the recipe index to look for more recipes.
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Do you like smoked drumsticks?
- 2 pounds Chicken Drumsticks
- Your favorite dry rub for chicken
- Pat the drumsticks dry with paper towels. Then, coat the drumsticks on all sides with a dry rub for chicken, seasoning liberally. Set aside.
- Preheat the smoker to the "smoke" setting (on our Traeger that is 140 degrees F.)
- Transfer the seasoned chicken drumsticks to the preheated grill, placing the chicken directly on the grill grates. Use caution when adding meat to a hot grill so you don't burn yourself. Use tongs to transfer the meat for an extra precaution.
- Close the lid of the Traeger and smoke the chicken legs for 30 - 60 minutes. Minimum 30 minutes, but you can smoke for up to 60 minutes if you want extra smoke flavor.
- After smoking, increase the temperature of the grill to 350 degrees F. Continue cooking the chicken until the internal temperature of the meat reads at least 165 degrees when tested at the thickest portion using an instant read thermometer.
- Remove the chicken from the grill and transfer to a clean baking sheet or a serving tray. Let the chicken rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 417Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 288mgSodium: 222mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 55g
GoodLifeEats.com offers recipe nutritional information as a courtesy. This provided information is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although GoodLifeEats.com makes every effort to provide accurate information, these figures are only estimates.