If you love camping dinner recipes that require very little prep work, try cooking spicy chicken drumsticks in a pellet smoker. These Smoked Chicken Legs are cooked low and slow with our easy spicy magic dust dry rub to create a smoky flavor with a bit of heat.
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Ways To Cook Chicken Legs
Chicken drumsticks are an inexpensive and moist dark meat which is great for creating a yummy main course while staying on a tight budget.
For traditional camp cooking, you can grill the meat using a campfire, propane or charcoal grill. An increasingly popular method is using a camping smoker portable pellet grill which is what we used for this smoked BBQ chicken recipe.
If you want to learn more about portable smokers, we have tips on finding the best tailgating and camping smokers to fit your style.
What Temperature To Cook Chicken Legs In Pellet Smokers?
You are going to preheat your pellet smoker to 225 F degrees.
While the smoker is pre-heating, you’ll sprinkle the chicken with your favorite dry rub.
The nice thing about making drumsticks in a smoker is the ease of scaling down if you are just making camping meals for two.
Dry Rub For Chicken Legs
We enjoy a little bit of heat on our pellet grill chicken meals.
Here is our simple spicy dry rub recipe that we used for these smoked drumsticks … it also works well on beef, pork and veggies.
How Long To Cook Chicken Legs In Smoker
Plan on smoking BBQ chicken legs for about 2 hours. You may need a bit more or less time depending on the size of the legs you are smoking.
You’ll need a thermometer to check the smoked chicken internal temp which should reach 165 F degrees.
Steps To Make This Smoked Chicken Legs Recipe
Step 1. Make your smoked chicken rub. Our spicy dry rub can be made a year in advance as long as you keep it in a cool, dry place. If you don’t want to make your own smoked chicken drumsticks rub, you can use an all-purpose barbeque seasoning blend.
Step 2. Warm up your pellet smoker for indirect heating grill cooking at 225 F degrees. The best wood to smoke chicken is a personal preference but really popular choices are pecan, mesquite, cherry, apple and hickory. So, you can use any sort of pellets, either one single type or a blend.
Step 3. Prepare the spiced chicken drumsticks. Place the legs on a platter, dab them dry with a paper towel and season them liberally on all sides with the dry rub. Let them come to room temperature while waiting for the smoker to come up to temperature. The pre-heat meat smoker times will vary but won’t be long enough to worry about the meat being non-refrigerated for an extended period of time.
Step 4. Smoke the chicken. Set the drumsticks on the cooking rack and turn them every 30 minutes or so throughout the cooking time. Cooking time will vary but should take about two hours to reach an internal temperature of 165 F degrees.
Camp Cooking Tip: Start spritzing the chicken legs with your favorite liquid mixture as soon as they begin looking dry. You’ll want to keep them lightly moist on the outside while you wait for the internal temperature to reach 165 F degrees. We like using equal parts of apple juice, apple cider vinegar and olive oil for our spritzing liquid.
Step 5. Add BBQ sauce, if using it. When the internal temperature of the drumsticks reaches about 150 F degrees, slather on your favorite barbeque sauce, like this Kansas City Style Homemade Old Fashioned Molasses BBQ Sauce, if you are using it. You’ll want to give it time to caramelize while the chicken finishes cooking.
Step 6. Serve with sides. There are tons of camping side dishes that pair well with this recipe. Here are a few ideas:
- This Potato Salad With Bacon And Chives is a real crowd-pleaser and can be made at home and kept refrigerated for a few days until you are ready to serve it.
- This Southwest Camping Salad is packed with flavor and protein. You don’t have to cook it and it can be made in advance for a quick side dish when you are ready to eat.
- If you have a campfire or grill going, just throw a few ingredients together to make these yummy Camping Potatoes In Foil.
- 5 types of canned beans, bacon, ground beef and a simple homemade sauce create tasty Dutch Oven Baked Beans.
More Chicken Recipes
If you like the idea of making chicken dinner easy camping meals, try these other delicious recipes.
- This Grilled Dijon Chicken With Garlic And Jalapeno is tangy, flavorful and only takes 5 minutes to prep!
- Looking for an exciting one pot chicken meal? This Dutch Oven Latin Campfire Chicken includes sweet potatoes and beans in the pot with the chicken.
Chicken legs are just the beginning when it comes to smoked food at the campsite! Try some appetizers, sides and main dishes like smoked queso cheese dip, corn on the cob, smoked jerky, smoked meatloaf and more!
These Smoked Honey Sriracha Chicken Drumsticks are sweet, spicy, sticky and crispy!
We especially love these Pellet Smoked Short Ribs when my husband and I are camping alone. The fall-off-the-bone tender, beef short ribs only use 6 simple ingredients (two of them are salt and pepper)!
These Chuck Roast Burnt Ends are a quick and inexpensive alternative to traditional brisket point burnt ends and they are YUMMY! That’s why this recipe is also called Poor Man’s Brisket!
If you have enough room in your smoker to do a side dish, try these Smoked Green Beans. The bacon, onion and garlic put them over-the-top and they smoke at 225 degrees F for about three hours.
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Smoked Chicken Drumsticks Recipe
- 2 pounds chicken drumsticks
- Approximately 1/2 cup spicy dry rub for chicken recipe link below
- Prepared spritzing liquid
- Approximately 1/2 cup prepared BBQ sauce optional
- NOTE: Special Equipment Required: Pellet grill smoker and pellets.
- Get pellet smoker preheated to 225 F degrees.
- Place the chicken legs on the smoker’s grill rack and turn them every half hour or so throughout the cooking time. Cook until internal temperature reaches 165 F degrees. This will take approximately 2 hours, depending on the size of the legs you are smoking. Camp Cooking Tip: The outside of the chicken legs will begin to dry before the internal temperature reaches doneness, so spritzing with your favorite liquid mixture is important. We like using equal parts of apple juice, apple cider vinegar and olive oil.
- If you are adding BBQ sauce, brush it on the chicken legs when their internal temperature reaches about 150 F degrees so it has time to caramelize while the chicken finishes cooking.
More Yummy Meal Ideas
Don’t cook the same thing all the time when you are camping. Get creative with your menu using our yummy recipes.