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chicken in an electric smoker

Smoked Chicken Legs

Love chicken? Then you have got to try these smoked chicken legs. Smoked to succulent, juicy perfection using an electric smoker and my homemade dry rub. It's so delicious and a recipe that is easy to follow!
Course Main Entree
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 20 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 479kcal
Author Charla


  • 4 large chicken leg quarters cleaned/washed

To make the brine

  • 8 cups water (1.8 litres)
  • ½ cup coarse sea salt (146g)
  • cup coconut sugar (54g) or organic raw cane sugar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 8 sprigs thyme
  • 1 tbsp whole peppercorns (15g)
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes (5g)

Seasoning to smoke the chicken

  • 2 tbsp smoked paprika (30g)
  • cup coconut sugar (146g) or organic raw cane sugar
  • 3 tsp onion powder (15g)
  • 3 tsp garlic powder (15g)
  • 3 tsp thyme (15g) dried
  • 3 tsp oregano (15g)
  • 3 tsp parsley (15g)
  • 3 tsp black pepper (15g)
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper (10g) or to taste
  • ½ - 1 tbsp pink salt (15g) or to taste

The glaze

  • 3 tbsp of the leftover seasoning (44g) (see ingredients above)
  • ¼ cup dairy free butter (54g) melted


To make the brine

  • Place all of the ingredients listed to make the brine in a large saucepan.
  • Bring the water to a gentle simmer on medium heat until the coconut sugar and sea salt dissolve (this will take several minutes).
  • Turn off the stove and leave the brine until completely cold (very important).
  • Once the brine is cold, add the chicken legs making sure the chicken is completely submerged.
  • Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight.
  • Remove the chicken from the brine and rinse with cold water, pat dry, ready to season.

To smoke the chicken legs

  • Mix together the seasoning for the chicken in a small bowl then set aside, put 3 tablespoons of seasoning away separately as you will be using this to form a glaze.
  • Preheat an electric smoker to 250f/120c.
  • Add the wood chips (apple, hickory etc..) to the smoker box/tray.
  • Coat the chicken lightly with some oil then apply the dry rub (you may find it easier to lay the seasoning on a plate/bowl and press the chicken, both sides so the seasoning sticks) , make an incision to the skin of each piece of chicken leg so you can access underneath the skin to apply some of the rub.
  • Place the chicken legs inside the smoker and smoke for 2-2½ hours or until the thicker part of the chicken is 165f/75c. (you may need to replenish the wood chips during the cooking time so keep an eye on things).
  • Once the chicken done, mix together the reserved 3tbsp of seasoning with melted butter to form a glaze and coat the chicken then continue to smoke for another 10-15 minutes.
  • Serve accordingly.


  • Coat the chicken towards the end of the smoking period, helps to yield more moisture. This is an optional but recommended step.
  • When making the seasoning, do a taste test before using it, you may want to adjust some of the herbs/spices to suit, start with ½ tbsp of salt and add more if needed.
  • It's okay to add what herbs or additional spices you want to add to the brine.
  • It's best to use coarse salt i.e. coarse sea salt, pink salt and so fourth.
  • Make sure the chicken is cooked through, if it is your first time smoking chicken then use a thermometer to ensure its readiness.
  • From a health and safety perspective, make sure the brine is completely cool before dipping the chicken into it.
  • If you want to use lean cuts of meat instead i.e. breasts, go ahead and adjust accordingly.
  • Use what wood chips you prefer, I used Applewood. 
  • Any leftover chicken can be frozen or carried over as leftovers (keep refrigerated and consume within 3 days) for meal prep.


Calories: 479kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 111mg | Sodium: 16156mg | Potassium: 507mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 2609IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 117mg | Iron: 4mg