Skip to Content

How Long to Smoke Chicken Legs at 225

How Long to Smoke Chicken Legs at 225

Smoking works wonders for chicken legs. It imparts a smoky flavor to the chicken legs, but they are also moist and tender, creating a triple threat.

However, the trick to smoking the perfect chicken legs is knowing how long to smoke them. You must also know which temperature to smoke the chicken legs. Smoke your chicken legs at 225°F for 60-70 minutes. 

What’s the Best Wood for Smoking Chicken Legs?

The preferred choice for smoking chicken legs is hickory. Hickory wood chips give the chicken legs a traditional BBQ flavor. The chicken gets a subtle tangy flavor that compliments the savory and sweet notes in the BBQ rub perfectly.

Typically mesquite wood is not used for chicken. However, you can use it to smoke chicken legs.

It will also give them a rich tangy flavor. You can also mix mesquite with other woods like hickory or apple wood to help dilute its flavor.

Apple, maple, or pecan woods also work well with chicken legs. It will give the legs a light smoky flavor with sweet hints of fruit.

How Long Does to Smoke Chicken Legs at 225

How long to smoke chicken legs at 225°F depends on the size of the chicken legs. It also depends on how much the smoker’s temperature fluctuates.

Generally, it takes about 60-70minutes to smoke chicken legs at this temperature. However, if you sear the chicken, remove it from the smoker after 60 minutes.

After an hour, the chicken legs should have a temperature of 160°F. The chicken legs will finish cooking when you sear them.

How Do You Get Crispy Smoked Chicken Legs

Most people remove the skin when they are smoking chicken. However, removing the skin from chicken legs is time-consuming. Therefore, it may not be an option.

Luckily you can easily crisp the skin of smoked chicken legs. To get crispy skin, smoke the chicken legs first, then sear them at the end.

For example, if you are using a grill, smoke the chicken legs at 225°F on the indirect heat side of the grill. Next, transfer the smoked chicken legs to the hot side of the grill when they have a temperature of 160°F.

The direct heat side of the grill should have a temperature between 400°F and 500°F. Sear the chicken legs for 2-3 minutes per side until they are crisp and slightly charred.

If you are using a smoker, you can fire up the grill to sear your meat. However, you can also use your broil.

Remove the chicken legs from the smoker when they have a temperature of 160°F. Place them into a wire rack set on top of a baking sheet.

Put the chicken legs on the center rack of the oven. They will burn if you place the chicken legs too close to the broiler.

Once you put the chicken legs in the oven, do not walk away from them. The broiler cooks food really fast, so the chicken can burn easily.

Broil the chicken legs for 1-2 minutes per side until they are crisp and slightly charred.

Ultimately, whether you grill or broil your smoked chicken legs, you will end up with crispy chicken.

How to Smoke Chicken Legs

All this talk about smoking chicken legs is making me hungry. So let’s talk about how to smoke chicken legs.

Smoking chicken legs is relatively easy. First, you must prepare the chicken legs.

Remove the chicken legs from the fridge 20-30 minutes before you plan to season them. Next, make your dry rub. Most BBQ ribs consist of sugar, garlic powder, paprika, onion powder, chili powder, salt, and pepper. However, you can also use your favorite store-bought BBQ rub.

Dry the chicken legs with paper towels. Season them generously with the BBQ rub. You can also add 2-3 tablespoons of oil to help the seasoning adhere to the chicken legs.

Massage the seasoning into the chicken legs, so it penetrates the chicken. You can marinate the chicken legs for a few hours or overnight in the fridge.

Next, set up your smoker. You can smoke chicken in a propane, electric, offset, or charcoal smoker. If your smoker does not come with a water pan, place an aluminum pan filled with 1-2 inches of water beneath the cooking grate.

The water will keep the chicken legs moist. It will also help the smoker maintain a stable ambient temperature.

You can also use your grill to smoke the chicken legs.

But be sure to set up indirect and direct cooking zones. You will be able to smoke the chicken and then sear it, as I mentioned above.

You can also use wood chips if you are smoking the chicken on the grill. Place the wood chips into a foil and fold it into a packet. Pierce a few holes into the packet and place it directly above the heating unit.

The chicken legs will still have a smoky flavor from the BBQ rub and wood chips. However, the smoky flavor will not be as intense as if they were smoked.

Once your smoker or grill is set up, fire it up. Let it preheat to 225°F.

Remove the chicken legs from the fridge. Let the chicken legs sit at room temperature while the smoker heats up.

Place the chicken legs onto the smoker and close the smoker. If you are smoking the chicken legs on a grill, place them in the indirect cooking zone.

Smoke the chicken legs for 1 hour until they have a temperature between 160°F and 165°F. If the chicken legs are not cooked, smoke them for an additional 30 minutes, checking their temperature every 10-15 minutes.

Remove the chicken legs from the smoker and sear them if desired.

Let the smoked chicken legs rest for 5 minutes. Even though they are smaller than the breast, they still need to rest to allow the juices to redistribute. Next, enjoy your smoked chicken.

Final Thoughts

Smoked chicken legs are a delicacy. If you want the best smoked chicken legs, smoke them at 225°F for 60-70 minutes.