Traeger smoked chicken drumsticks

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Traeger Smoked Chicken Drumsticks – Try This Recipe!

Smoked chicken is an American classic that we all love. Bursting with smoky, spicy, and sweet flavors it’s sure to satisfy your barbecue cravings!

Unfortunately, it often falls victim to some pitfalls like being cooked unevenly or burned on the outside. Or what’s even worse, the thickest parts of the chicken might still be raw inside.

In this guide, I will give you step-by-step instructions for smoking chicken drumsticks with your Traeger pellet grill. I can guarantee that by following this recipe you will get juicy and tasty results every time.

Looking for more delicious recipes to cook on your Traeger? Check out my Traeger smoked trout recipe.

Why I Love Smoking Chicken Drumsticks on a Traeger

After smoking chicken drumsticks on my Traeger for the first time, I liked them so much that I started preparing this barbecue treat frequently. While there are many ways to cook tasty chicken legs, using a Traeger pellet grill must be one of the easiest ways to get them just right.

Traeger Smoked Chicken Drumstick

Here are 4 reasons why I frequently cook chicken drumsticks on my Traeger Pro 22 pellet grill:

  • Full of flavor and nice texture: Every time I cook Traeger smoked chicken they turn out delicious and full of that amazing barbecue flavor.
  • Easy to cook: Smoking some perfect chicken drumsticks with a Traeger is just so easy and straightforward — you don’t have to worry about anything going wrong!
  • The smoking time can be adjusted: If you are in a hurry you can cook the chicken at a high temperature in about 45 minutes. Or you can take your time and smoke them for several hours with a low heat.
  • Variety of wood pellets to choose from: Traeger currently has 10 different pellet flavor options to choose from and you can mix them to create your own blends for even more variety.

In addition to experimenting with different types of wood pellets and smoking temperatures, you can also try different dry rubs and sauces.

One option is to stick with classic American barbecue flavors and only do small adjustments. Or you could go crazy and try some exotic flavors like Cuban mojo or Jamaican jerk marinade!

Traeger Chicken Drumsticks Cook Time

I prefer to first cook the chicken at a quite high temperature (350 ˚F / 177 ˚C) to make the skin a bit crispy. Then I baste the chicken with barbecue sauce and lower the temperature to 250 ˚F (or 121 ˚C). This way the total cook time of the chicken drumsticks is a bit over one hour.

If you want more of that smoky flavor, you can also try cooking the chicken at a low temperature for several hours.

The exact cooking time depends on your smoking temperature and the size of the chicken drumsticks. I recommend using a meat temperature probe to make sure that the chicken is properly cooked inside.

What You Need – Equipment & Ingredients

This recipe is quite simple and you don’t really need any rare ingredients or fancy equipment. Except for the pellet grill, of course!

Equipment

The main thing needed for cooking this recipe is a Traeger pellet grill — I used my new Traeger Pro 22. Or you can also use another brand of pellet grill like Pit Boss for example.

In addition, you need some wood pellets. I used Traeger hickory wood pellets for that classic smoky American BBQ taste.

Most likely, you already have the other things needed in your kitchen.

Here is what you need:

  • Pellet Grill: Any Traeger pellet grill will do (or you can also use other brands).
  • Wood Pellets: I recommend Traeger hickory pellets for this recipe.
  • Knife: For peeling the onion and garlic.
  • Grater: This is optional but very handy for garlic and onion.
  • Bowls (or other containers): For mixing and marinating.
  • Saucepan: For making the BBQ sauce.

Ingredients

The ingredients needed for this recipe should be relatively easy to find in your local grocery.

If you don’t want to make the dry rub and/or BBQ sauce yourself, you can also use a ready-made dry rub mix and BBQ sauce from a bottle.

List of ingredients

Chicken:

  • 2 lbs of Chicken drumsticks (or legs)
  • 1 tbsp Muscovado sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 1 tbsp Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp of Garlic powder
  • 1 tsp of Onion powder
  • 1 tsp of Paprika powder
  • 1/2 tsp of Cayenne pepper

BBQ Sauce:

  • 1 tbsp Olive oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 3 tbsp Ketchup
  • 1 tbsp Muscovado sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 2 tbsp Cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Mustard
  • 1/4 tsp ground Black pepper
  • 1 grated/minced Garlic clove
  • 2 tbsp grated Onion
  • 1/2 tsp of Cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp of Chili powder

How to Smoke Chicken Drumsticks on a Traeger Pellet Grill

Follow these simple instructions to cook perfect and delicious chicken drumsticks or legs on your Traeger pellet grill.

Step 1: Make a Dry Rub and Prepare the Chicken

Traeger Chicken Drumsticks Dry Rub

Mix the dry rub ingredients together and sprinkle all over the chicken. I recommend doing this for at least a few hours before cooking the chicken and storing the chicken in a refrigerator after applying the dry rub.

Applying the rub several hours before cooking the chicken lets the flavors sink all the way to the bone. But if you forgot to do this in advance, you can just cook the chicken right after seasoning them.

Step 2: Start Smoking the Chicken Drumsticks

Smoking Traeger Chicken Drumsticks

Set your Traeger to 350 ˚F / 177 ˚C and once it reaches the target temperature put the chicken in the smoker.

You can also use a probe to monitor the internal temperature of the chicken. Insert the probe into the thickest part of the biggest drumstick.

Close the lid and cook the chicken drumsticks for 20 minutes. Then turn them over and smoke for another 20 minutes. You can prepare the sauce (step 3) while the chicken is cooking.

Step 3: Make the BBQ Sauce

Traeger Chicken Drumsticks BBQ Sauce

Heat the oil in a saucepan and cook the grated onion and garlic for a few minutes. Mix in the rest of the sauce ingredients and bring to a boil.

Remove the sauce from the heat and set aside.

Step 4: Finnish Smoking the Chicken

Traeger Chicken Drumsticks with BBQ Sauce

Lower the smoking temperature to 250 ˚F (or 121 ˚C) and baste the chicken with the BBQ sauce. Smoke for about 15 minutes.

Turn the chicken drumsticks over and baste them with sauce once more. You can save some of the BBQ sauce and serve it with the chicken.

Smoke for another 15 minutes or until you reach the desired internal temperature (at least 170 ˚F / 77 ˚C).

So how did the chicken turn out?

I think it was just perfect! And so did everyone else.

I served the chicken with rice, salad, and the rest of the BBQ sauce.

Traeger Chicken Drumsticks and BBQ Sauce

If you are looking for more dishes to cook, check out my Traeger smoked pork shoulder recipe.

Traeger smoked chicken drumsticks

Traeger Smoked Chicken Drumsticks Recipe

Try this easy recipe for cooking tasty barbecue chicken drumsticks with your Traeger pellet grill.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4

Equipment

  • Pellet Grill (Traeger or other brand)
  • Wood Pellets (Hickory or your own favorite)
  • Knife
  • Grater
  • Bowls or Containers (for mixing and marinating)
  • Saucepan (for making the BBQ sauce)

Ingredients
  

Chicken

  • 2 lbs Chicken drumsticks (or chicken legs)
  • 1 tbsp Muscovado sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 1 tbsp Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp Garlic powder
  • 1 tsp Onion powder
  • 1 tsp Paprika powder
  • 1/2 tsp Cayenne pepper

BBQ Sauce

  • 1 tbsp Olive oil
  • 3 tbsp Ketchup
  • 1 tbsp Muscovado sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 2 tbsp Cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Mustard
  • 1/4 tsp Black pepper
  • 1 Garlic clove (grated or minced)
  • 2 tbsp Onion (grated)
  • 1/2 tsp Cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Chili powder

Instructions
 

  • Mix the dry rub ingredients and apply the mix all over the chicken drumsticks. I recommend refrigerating the chicken for at least a few hours for the falvors to sink in.
  • Set your Traeger to 350 ˚F (177 ˚C) and when it reaches the target temp place the chicken in the pellet grill. Smoke for 20 minutes, turn the chicken over, and smoke for another 20 minutes.
  • Heat oil in a saucepan, add the grated onion and garlic, and cook for a few minutes. Add the rest of the sauce ingredients and bring to a boil while mixing it. Set aside to cool down.
  • Lower the smoking temperature to 250 ˚F (or 121 ˚C) and baste the chicken with the BBQ sauce. Then smoke for 15 minutes, turn the drumsticks around, and baste with sauce. Smoke for about 15 minutes or until the chicken reaches the desired internal temp (at least 170 ˚F / 77 ˚C).
Keyword BBQ Chicken Drumsticks, Traeger Smoked Chicken Drumsticks

About the Author

Hi, I’m Joonas!

As soon as I learned to walk, I started to assist my dad and uncles with grilling and smoking. I always loved helping them and later took over the role of the grill master in my family.

My goal is to cook tasty barbecue food, enjoy it with family & friends, and help others do the same!

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