Easy Smoked Chicken Legs On A Pellet Grill With Simple Dry Rub Recipe!

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.

Smoked BBQ Chicken Legs by CampingForFoodies features chicken drumsticks cooked and ready to be served on a blue camping plate in front of a portable pellet smoker with text over the image that reads smoked chicken legs.

Psst we’re compensated…see our disclosures.

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.

Green Mountain Davy Crockett Sense Mate Electric Wi-Fi Control Foldable Portable Wood Pellet Tailgating Grill with Meat ProbeGreen Mountain Davy Crockett Sense Mate Electric Wi-Fi Control Foldable Portable Wood Pellet Tailgating Grill with Meat ProbeGreen Mountain Davy Crockett Sense Mate Electric Wi-Fi Control Foldable Portable Wood Pellet Tailgating Grill with Meat Probe


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.

Spicy Hot Dry Rub by CampingForFoodies features a mixing bowl filled with piles of spices that are ready to be mixed to create a dry rub for cooking including brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, salt, black pepper, onion powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, dry mustard and chili powder with text over the image that reads spicy dry rub.

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.

Bad Byron's Butt Rub Barbeque Seasoning BBQ RubsBad Byron’s Butt Rub Barbeque Seasoning BBQ RubsBad Byron's Butt Rub Barbeque Seasoning BBQ Rubs


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.

Wood Smoking PelletsWood Smoking PelletsWood Smoking PelletsPellet Blend MixPellet Blend MixPellet Blend Mix


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.
Pellet Grill Smoked Drumsticks by CampingForFoodies features a plate of food including smoked chicken legs, mashed potatoes and mixed vegetables ready to be served, sitting on a rack on a portable pellet grill set next to a camp chair at a campsite in the desert with mountains in the background with text over the image that reads pellet grill smoker drumsticks.

More Chicken Recipes

If you like the idea of making chicken dinner easy camping meals, try these other delicious recipes.

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!

Print This Smoked Chicken Drumsticks Recipe

Prep Time 5 minutes

Cook Time 2 hours

Total Time 2 hours 5 minutes


  • 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.

      1. Get pellet smoker preheated to 225 F degrees.
      2. Cover chicken legs generously on all sides with dry rub, we used our simple spicy dry rub. https://www.campingforfoodies.com/spicy-dry-rub/ Let the drumsticks sit out at room temperature while the pellet grill is heating up to temperature.
      3. 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.
      4. 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.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 552Total Fat: 25gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 320mgSodium: 609mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 0gSugar: 12gProtein: 63g

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