Smoked Chicken Drumsticks

Glazed chicken drumsticks on a smoking rack.

When it comes to making barbecue chicken, the drumstick is a great option being a self-contained meat delight. Though a bit messy to pick up, drumsticks are a great finger food.

This recipe is slightly complicated with two phases of cooking but makes it a good option when cooking for other people. The meat is effectively already cooked after the first smoking stage, meaning the second phase is just about adding an extra layer of flavor.

Eaters quickly become a fan of the flavor with the soft moist smoked base and the sweet glaze on the outside. Make sure to have plenty of napkins on hand, as eating these drumsticks can get a bit messy. 

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Glazed chicken drumsticks on the grill.
After smoking low and slow, the chicken drumsticks are glazed and cooked again.
Three smoked and glazed chicken drumsticks on a white plate.
Chicken drumsticks are a family favorite at barbecues, because you can pick them up and eat them without utensils.
Glazed chicken drumsticks on a smoking rack.
These smoked drumsticks are glazed with a barbecue and apple juice sauce.

Smoked Chicken Drumsticks Recipe

Glazed chicken drumsticks on a smoking rack.
When it comes to making barbecue chicken, the drumstick is a great self-contained option. A forgiving cut, this is a perfect recipe for those new to smoking chicken.
Preparation 10 minutes
Cook 2 hours
Ready in 2 hours 10 minutes
Servings 6 Servings
CourseMain Dish


  • 12 chicken drumsticks
  • favorite chicken rub
  • 8 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce


  • smoker
  • apple wood


  • Layout the drumsticks then sprinkle with the chicken rub.
  • Set the smoker to 220 degrees F (105 degrees C) and add a sweet fruit food chunk such as applewood.
  • Place the butter in a tray, then place it into the smoker to melt.
  • Place the seasoned chicken in the tray of butter then return to the smoker. Cook for 50 minutes.
  • Take the chicken drumsticks out and turn. Return to the smoker for 50 minutes.
  • Combine the BBQ sauce and apple juice, then gently heat.
  • Remove the drumsticks from the smoker and check the temperature, they should be cooked by this stage.
  • Dip in the preheated BBQ sauce, then return to the smoker for 20 minutes for the glaze to set.

Nutritional Information

Calories: 467kcalCarbohydrates: 22gProtein: 27gFat: 30gSaturated Fat: 13gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 179mgSodium: 769mgPotassium: 472mgFiber: 1gSugar: 18gVitamin A: 666IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 43mgIron: 2mg

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Portrait Photo of Saffron Hodgson cooking on a Camp Stove with a campfire in the background

About Saffron Hodgson

Outdoor cooking has been Saffron’s passion since she was young, often choosing to go camping and cook hearty meals over fire rather than stay inside, watch TV, and eat take-out. Today she is the driving force of Bush Cooking bringing the skills of cooking outdoors to thousands of people.

Learn more about Saffron Hodgson
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