Smoking Chicken Drumsticks – How Long Does It Take And What You Need To Know

Mmmmm, the smell of smoky chicken drumsticks cooking on the grill is enough to make your mouth water. But don’t just throw those drumsticks on the grill without knowing what you’re doing – you may end up with some subpar dinner!

In this guide, I’m here to show you all you need to know about smoking chicken drumsticks. From the equipment you’ll need, and how long to smoke them for perfection, I’ve got it all figured out for ya so that dinner can get served in no time.

So let’s get started: In this guide, we’ll cover:

  • What equipment do I need?
  • How long should I smoke my chicken drumsticks?
  • Tips and tricks for best results
  • Recipes and flavors to try

Are you ready to whip up some amazing smoked chicken drumsticks? Let’s dive in!

Preparing the Chicken Drumsticks for Smoking

Preparing chicken drumsticks for smoking is quite simple. First, you need to rinse the chicken in cold water and pat them dry with a paper towel. Next, it’s important to season the drumsticks. You can use any combination of herbs and spices that you like but make sure to include some salt and pepper – this will help bring out the flavor of the smoke.

Once seasoned, place the chicken in an aluminum tray or on a rack over a baking sheet and then pop it in the refrigerator for at least an hour before smoking. This will allow time for all those flavors to really set in.

When ready for smoking, remove from refrigerator and place directly into your smoker or grill then cook until golden brown with an internal temperature of 165F – about 2-3 hours depending on how hot you have your smoker running at.

Voila! And now you’re ready to enjoy some deliciously smoked chicken drumsticks.

When finished smoking, let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Selecting an Appropriate Wood for Smoking

Choosing the right wood for smoking can be a daunting task. I believe the best approach is to first understand the type of smoke flavor you’re looking for, and then choose a wood that will provide those flavors. I’ve found that different types of woods produce different levels of smoke intensity and flavor, so it’s important to consider your personal preferences when selecting wood for smoking.

You should also keep in mind how long it takes to heat up as some woods take longer than others to reach optimal smoking temperature. Fruitwoods such as applewood are milder in flavor while hardwoods like oak are stronger but still versatile enough to use with many meats.

For a sweeter taste, try using hickory or pecan wood chips; they’ll add more robust flavors without being overpowering.

Determining Optimal Smoker Temperature

When it comes to smoking, the temperature is key. The optimal smoker temperature depends on what type of food you are cooking. Generally, smoking at a low and slow temperature (225-250°F) works best for larger cuts of meat like ribs or pork shoulder, while a higher heat (275-325°F) works best for smaller cuts like chicken or fish.

You should also adjust your temperature based on how long you plan to smoke your food; if you need the food done faster, increase the temperature slightly.

It’s important to keep an eye on the smoker temperature throughout the cook as it can drop unexpectedly due to weather conditions or changes in dampers or wood chips.

It’s also important to make sure that all vents are open half way and that enough charcoal is lit before starting a cook to ensure you get consistent temperatures throughout the entire time your food is in the smoker. I

f having trouble getting consistent temps, consider investing in a thermometer with probes that can be placed directly into each piece of meat so you can monitor them individually from start to finish.

Temperature control is one of the most important aspects of smoking, so experiment with different settings until you find what works best for you and your setup.

Estimating Smoke Time for Chicken Drumsticks

Knowing the right smoke time for chicken drumsticks is essential for a delicious, juicy and succulent result. I’ve found that it usually takes about 2 to 3 hours to achieve optimal results when smoking these particular cuts of chicken. To ensure tenderness and flavor, the internal temperature should reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit before serving.

It’s important to keep an eye on your thermometer while smoking as temperature can vary depending on factors such as type of smoker or outdoor weather conditions. I believe using a digital thermometer is key in order to get an accurate readout of temperatures inside your smoker.

Additionally, some people like to add a few extra minutes just in case – but be careful not to overdo it, otherwise you’ll end up with dry pieces!

You may also want to consider basting your drumsticks with BBQ sauce or butter towards the end of cooking in order to add more flavor and juiciness.

Brining as a Pre-Smoking Option

Bringing has become an increasingly popular pre-smoking option for many people. I believe it is a great, healthy alternative to smoking and can even help reduce the desire to smoke when combined with other supportive strategies.

By bringing, you inhale a herbal mixture that can contain ingredients like peppermint, chamomile, or lavender. The inhalation of this mixture is said to increase breathing capacity and relax your mind and body. Additionally, some have found bringing can provide relief from stress and anxiety.

I’ve found that bringing helps me develop a more mindful approach to my smoking habit; it allows me time to pause before reaching for cigarettes or any other forms of tobacco.

Instead of going straight into smoking, I take a few moments to practice deep breathing while enjoying the aroma of the herbs in my blend. Bringing is an excellent way to relax without having any adverse impact on your health!

Flavoring the Chicken During Smoking

Adding flavor to your chicken when smoking is a great way to make it even more delicious. One of the best ways to do that is by adding wood chips or chunks during your smoke. You can pick any type of wood you like, such as hickory, cherry, apple, or oak. The kind of wood you choose will affect the flavor of your chicken – so experiment until you find one that works for you!

You can also add herbs and spices to your chicken before smoking it. Coating the meat with a blend of rosemary, thyme, garlic powder and paprika will give it a delicious smoky taste. If you want an even bolder flavor profile, try marinating your chicken in Italian dressing overnight before smoking it. This will provide an incredibly unique flavor that’s hard to beat!

Another thing you can do is barding; which means wrapping the bird in fatty strips of bacon or pork fatback while cooking. This helps keep the moisture locked in and adds another layer of delicious smokiness! Now that’s something worth trying out.

Checking for Doneness in Smoked Chicken Drumsticks

When smoking chicken drumsticks, it’s important to check the doneness of the meat before serving. I’ve found that using a thermometer is the best way to ensure your chicken is fully cooked and safe for consumption.

Inserting a digital thermometer into the thickest part of the meat will tell you exactly when it’s ready. Your thermometer should read at least 165°F before removing your chicken from heat.

Additionally, you can use visual cues such as color or texture to determine if your drumsticks are done – they should be golden brown with slightly crisp skin and no pink in the middle.

If you want even more assurance, try cutting into one of the pieces to make sure there are no raw juices visible!


How long do you need to smoke chicken legs?

Smoking chicken legs typically takes 2-3 hours, depending on the size of the drumsticks and the internal temperature you are looking for. The optimal internal temperature for cooked chicken is 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

What type of BBQ sauce should be used for smoked chicken legs?

For a classic smoked chicken leg recipe, it’s best to use a traditional sweet and tangy BBQ sauce made with ketchup, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and seasonings such as garlic powder or onion powder. You could also make your own homemade BBQ sauce using the same ingredients.

How can I achieve crispy skin when smoking chicken legs?

When smoking chicken legs, achieving crispy skin requires two elements: high heat and a dry rub or glaze. To get the crispiest skin possible, preheat your smoker to 300 – 375 degrees F before adding your chicken drumsticks. Then apply a dry rub that contains brown sugar, salt and pepper before putting it in the smoker for about an hour until it reaches its desired internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Finally remove from smoker then brush with a glaze made with butter, bbq sauce and honey if desired to add an extra layer of flavor!

What ingredients do I need to create my own sweet rub for smoked chicken legs?

Creating your own sweet rub is easy and only requires some basic kitchen pantry ingredients like brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder and onion powder. You can also add cayenne pepper and other herbs/spices depending on how spicy you want it! Mix together 1/4 cup each of light brown sugar & dark brown sugar; 1 tablespoon each of paprika & garlic powder; 2 teaspoons each of onion powder & black pepper; 1 teaspoon each of chili powder & kosher salt; and optional 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper if desired!

What is a favorite barbecue sauce for smoking chicken?

A popular favorite for smoking chicken is a sweet and tangy barbecue sauce made with ketchup, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder and onion powder.

What is the difference between dark meat and white meat on a chicken?

Dark meat refers to the legs and thighs of a chicken which contain more connective tissues than the breast (white) meat. As such, dark meat takes longer to cook than white meat and has more flavor due to its higher fat content.

How do you pat chicken legs dry before applying rubs or sauces?

To properly dry the chicken legs before applying seasonings or sauces, place them onto paper towels and pat them gently until all excess moisture is absorbed. This will allow for better adherence of the rubs or sauces to the surface of the chicken legs when cooking.

What temperature should you smoke chicken at in degrees Fahrenheit?

Chicken should be smoked at an internal temperature of 250-275 degrees Fahrenheit until an instant read thermometer inserted into thickest part of a leg reads 160-165 degrees Fahrenheit.

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