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smoked chicken legs featured image

Smoked Chicken Legs

Smoked Chicken Legs are easy to make, tender, and delicious! Full of flavor and some of the moistest, fall off the bone chicken you will ever have!
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 40 minutes
Brine Time 2 hours
Servings 13
Calories 290kcal
Author Lisa




  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup salt
  • 6 Cups Water*

Dry Rub

  • 1 tbs garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

Additional Ingredients

  • 5 lbs chicken legs
  • ½ cup olive oil


Brine the chicken

  • Combine brown sugar, salt, and 6 cups water in a bowl. Stir until sugar and salt are dissolved
    1 cup brown sugar, 1 cup salt, 6 Cups Water*
  • In a large resealable bag (or several) or a large bowl (or several), add your raw chicken legs and then divide the brine between the containers. Add additional water to the bowls or bags until the chicken is mostly covered by water.
    5 lbs chicken legs
    chicken after being brined
  • Allow the chicken to sit in the brine for at least 2 hours or up to 12 hours.

Prepare the dry rub

  • Combine all the dry rub ingredients in a small bowl.
    1 tbs garlic powder, 1 teaspoon chipotle powder, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon pepper, ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
    Seasoning for the rub

Prepare the chicken and your smoker

  • Once the chicken has sat in the brine for 2 hours, remove it from the liquid and pat dry.
    patting chicken leg dry
  • Pour the olive oil over the chicken and then rub with your dry rub mixture. I like to separate the skin from the meat just a little and get oil and seasoning in-between the two, as well as over every side.
    ½ cup olive oil
    chicken legs with dry rub on them
  • Get your smoker started smoking/heating up. I tend to use dry hickory wood chips, but you use whatever wood chips you like.
  • Once your smoker is hot, place the chicken legs on the racks and allow them to cook for 2-3 hours.
    adding chicken legs to smoker
  • The chicken legs need to get to an internal temperature of 165°F to be safe to eat. Once the chicken reaches 155°F I will usually remove them from the smoker and put them in a preheated 400°F oven for 5-10 minutes- or until it reaches 165-170°F. This allows the chicken skin to crisp up nicely wile reaching the final temperature.
    removing smoked chicken leg from smoker
  • Enjoy!
    smoked chicken legs on cutting board with parsley



Tips and Tricks
  • *The nutrition info doesn't include calories for the brine since I am not sure how much that changes the chicken's nutrition info.
  • Leftovers- If you have a bunch of leftovers either use them in tacos or enchiladas, or freeze them.
  • Freeze- I like to remove the chicken from the bone then place in a freezer safe Ziploc bag. Freeze for up to a few months! 


Calories: 290kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 13g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 92mg | Sodium: 93mg | Potassium: 220mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 225IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 15mg | Iron: 1mg