Hot and Fast Chicken Drumsticks

Glazed chicken drumsticks sitting on a round grill rack.
This recipe is sponsored by Gateway Drum Smokers

When cooking chicken it is important to cook quickly, such as with these hot and fast chicken drumsticks, to get perfect skin. Too low and the skin will become rubbery and too hot and the skin will be cooked while the meat will still be raw.

Known as hot and fast smoking, this uses a higher temperature in the range of 300 to 325 degrees F to cook. This is higher than a traditional smoking temperature but can still create similarly, or arguably better, flavors.

The brine is a basic version that is easy to remember and easy to execute. Don’t be tempted to brine for longer than 2 hours otherwise, the chicken can start to get rubbery. The rubs and sauces are a personal choice and can be picked based on your preferred flavors.

Swipe to see all photos
Chicken Drumsticks cooking in a round smoker.
This recipe works well on smokers set-up for the hot and fast cooking style.
Looking at chicken drumsticks sitting on a grill grate.
Space the drumsticks so there is plenty of space for the hot air to flow around them.
Rub-coated raw chicken drumsticks resting in a foil pan.
Evenly coat the chicken drumsticks with the rub.
Glazed chicken drumsticks sitting on a round grill rack.
A thin BBQ sauce creates a shiny glaze that doesn’t overwhelm the flavor.

Hot and Fast Chicken Drumsticks Recipe

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This recipe is sponsored by Gateway Drum Smokers.
Rub-coated raw chicken drumsticks resting in a foil pan.
When cooking chicken it is important to cook it quickly, such as with these hot and fast chicken drumsticks, to get perfect skin.
Preparation 20 minutes
Cook 1 hour 20 minutes
Ready in 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings 12 Servings
CourseDinner
DifficultySeasoned
MethodSmoke

Ingredients

  • 12 chicken drumsticks

Brine

  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 pound ice
  • 1 quart cold water

To Cook

  • 2 tablespoons sweet and savory style rub
  • 1/4 cup traditional style BBQ Sauce

Equipment

Directions

  • Check each chicken drumstick and pull the skin smooth over the meat. Cut away the excess skin.

Brine

  • Add to a pot the salt, brown sugar, and 2 cups of water. Warm over low heat until all the ingredients are dissolved.
  • Add the warm liquid to a large bowl then add the ice and cold water, stir to combine then add the prepared chicken legs. Leave to brine for 2 hours.

To Cook

  • Preheat the smoker, such as a Gateway Drum Smoker, to 325 degrees F (163 degrees C).
  • Remove the chicken from the brine and pat dry with a paper towel. Season both sides generously with your rub.
  • Place the chicken evenly with space for airflow on the preheated smoker. Close the lid and leave for 30 minutes.
  • After the first 30 minutes, turn the chicken over and cook for an additional 30 minutes.
  • Take the barbecue sauce and slowly heat it, the sauce should be a nice coating thickness. If too thick add some water or apple juice to thin it out. The sauce should be warm but still cool enough to touch.
  • Remove the chicken drumsticks off the smoker and completely dip them in the BBQ sauce to create an even glaze all over. Return to the smoker and cook until the glaze is set, about 5 minutes. Serve straight away.

Nutritional Information

Sodium: 2510mgCalcium: 50mgVitamin C: 1mgVitamin A: 113IUSugar: 14gFiber: 1gPotassium: 216mgCholesterol: 70mgCalories: 185kcalTrans Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 2gFat: 7gProtein: 14gCarbohydrates: 16gIron: 1mg

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About Brad Leighninger

After starting competitive barbecue in 2012 Brad has had a string of successes from the American Royal and Jack Daniels, to Memphis in May to King of the Smoker, these combing to be 3 times KCBS team of the year (2021, 2020, & 2018).

Learn more about Brad Leighninger
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