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Smoked Chicken Legs with Bourbon Red Pepper Glaze

5 from 10 votes

Sweet, spicy, and smoky, these meaty Smoked Chicken Legs with Bourbon Red Pepper Glaze are a crowd-pleasing dish that’s so easy to make on your pellet smoker! With a glaze that’s finger-lickingly delish, this smoked chicken leg recipe is a keeper!

Smoked chicken legs with bourbon red pepper glaze

Who doesn’t love chicken legs? This is a flavor-packed recipe with a double whammy: not only are the legs smoked until tender and delish, but the glaze adds even MORE flavor. Made from red pepper jelly, sweet bourbon, and an added kick of spice, you will be hard-pressed to find more flavorful chicken legs.

And, when you make these chicken legs on your smoker, they’re easy! You don’t have to worry about the glaze burning, and by cooking the meat low-and-slow, you’re infusing it with a kiss of smoke that is the perfect combination with the glaze.

What you’ll love about Smoked Chicken Legs with Bourbon Red Pepper Glaze


  • Smoked chicken is so gosh darn good!
  • The glaze is sweet and spicy and smoky all at the same time!
  • Make these smoked chicken legs as spicy as you like!

Ingredients

  • Chicken legs – 2-3 pounds should do it. I used XX legs.
  • Olive oil
  • Rosemary – Dried or fresh.
  • Lemon juice
  • Garlic – Fresh is best.
  • Salt and pepper
  • Red pepper jelly – You can find this with the jams and jellies in your grocery store.
  • Bourbon – If you can drink it, you can cook with it!
  • Sriracha – Just a wee bit does the trick!

You’ll Also Need

  • Traeger pellet grill/smoker – or another smoker that can hold a consistent temperature.
  • Pellets – This is a quick smoke, so a blend is fine.
  • Chicken leg rack – This is a handy gizmo that holds the chicken legs upright so that the smoke can circulate, and with a drip pan, there’s less mess, too.
chicken leg rack for the smoker or grill
Chicken leg rack

Recommended

smoked chicken thighs
smoked chicken enchiladas
smoked chicken tortilla bites on a black plate

How To Make Smoked Chicken Legs with Bourbon Red Pepper Glaze

For a full list of ingredients and instructions, please scroll down to the recipe at the bottom of this page.

  1. Preheat your smoker to 225-F.
  2. Combine the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, rosemary, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.
  3. Toss the olive oil mixture with the chicken legs to coat them thoroughly.
  4. Secure the chicken legs in the chicken leg rack or set them onto the smoker.
  5. Smoke the chicken legs for about an hour or until they get to about 155-F.
  6. Meanwhile, melt the red pepper jelly in a bowl in the microwave then mix in the bourbon and the Sriracha.
  7. When the chicken legs hit 155-F, remove them from the chicken leg rack and toss them in the glaze.
  8. Turn the heat on the smoker up to 375-F and return the chicken legs to the rack, and put the rack back into the smoker.
  9. Smoke the chicken legs until they hit 375-F.
  10. Reheat the remaining glaze in the microwave until it boils (30 seconds or so) and serve it on the side with the chicken legs.
  11. Enjoy!

Chef Jenn’s Tips

  • The bourbon doesn’t really add much in the way of alcohol to this recipe. You can omit it if you like.
  • Adjust the spiciness of the glaze by adding more Sriracha if you like it spicy.
  • Save the extra glaze for dipping – but you’ll need to heat it through first if you dunked the mostly cooked chicken legs into it.
  • Alternatively, brush the glaze onto the legs – but adding the glaze to a large bowl and then tossing the chicken to coat is much faster and easier.
  • A chicken leg rack makes smoking chicken legs so easy, but it’s not necessary.
  • To get the skin on the chicken legs crispy, you need heat. Either turn your Traeger up to 375-400F or pop the legs under the broiler but watch the glaze doesn’t burn.

Make It A Meal

Wondering what to serve with your Smoked Chicken Legs with Bourbon Red Pepper Glaze? This smoked chicken leg recipe pairs so well with so many dishes, but here are a few of my favorites:

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to smoke chicken legs?

That depends on the temperature of your smoker and how cold the chicken was when it went into the smoker. For a general estimate, give yourself between 90-120 minutes at 225-F to cook the chicken legs thoroughly.

How do you get crispy chicken skin in a smoker?

Heat. In order to get the skin crispy, you need to turn the heat up on your Traeger pellet grill to about 375-F. That will crisp up the skin. Alternatively, you can pop the chicken under the broiler to crisp the skin but watch the glaze doesn’t burn.

Are smoked chicken legs on a pellet grill easy?

Yes! This is an easy recipe to make, and it is bursting with flavor! Season the chicken, smoke it most of the way to cooked, glaze it, and finish it in the Traeger to crisp up the skin – that’s it!

Step By Step Process

smoked chicken legs with bourbon red pepper glaze
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5 from 10 votes

Smoked Chicken Legs with Bourbon Red Pepper Glaze

Sweet, spicy, meaty, and smoky, these chicken legs are bursting with flavor! Adjust the spiciness of the glaze to just where you like it, then pass the napkins and dig in!
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword chicken, chicken legs, smoked, smoked chicken legs, smoked chicken legs with bourbon red pepper glaze, smoker
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 474kcal
Author Chef Jenn

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds chicken legs
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the glaze:

  • 3/4 cup red pepper jelly
  • 3 tablespoons bourbon
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha

Instructions

  • Preheat your smoker to 225-F.
  • Combine the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
  • Toss the chicken legs in the olive oil mixture to coat.
  • Secure the chicken legs in the chicken leg rack or set them onto the smoker.
  • Smoke the chicken legs for about an hour or until they get to about 155-F.
  • Meanwhile, melt the red pepper jelly in a bowl in the microwave then mix in the bourbon and the Sriracha.
  • When the chicken legs hit 155-F, remove them from the chicken leg rack and toss them in the glaze.
  • Turn the heat on the smoker up to 375-F and return the chicken legs to the rack and put the rack back into the smoker.
  • Smoke the chicken legs until they hit 375-F.
  • Reheat the remaining glaze in the microwave until it boils (20 seconds or so) and serve it on the side with the chicken legs.

Notes

Chef Jenn’s Tips

  • The bourbon doesn’t really add much in the way of alcohol to this recipe. You can omit it if you like.
  • Adjust the spiciness of the glaze by adding more Sriracha if you like it spicy.
  • Save the extra glaze for dipping – but you’ll need to heat it through first if you dunked the mostly cooked chicken legs into it.
  • Alternatively, brush the glaze onto the legs – but adding the glaze to a large bowl and then tossing the chicken to coat is much faster and easier.
  • A chicken leg rack makes smoking chicken legs so easy, but it’s not necessary.
  • To get the skin on the chicken legs crispy, you need heat. Either turn your Traeger up to 375-400F or pop the legs under the broiler but watch the glaze doesn’t burn.

Nutrition

Serving: 2legs | Calories: 474kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 15g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 120mg | Sodium: 571mg | Potassium: 294mg | Fiber: 0.3g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 134IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 23mg | Iron: 1mg

A Note on Nutritional Information

Nutritional information for this recipe is provided as a courtesy and is calculated based on available online ingredient information. It is only an approximate value. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site cannot be guaranteed.

Want More Delicious and Easy Recipes?

smoked chicken legs with bourbon red pepper glaze in a serving dish
By Chef Jenn

6 thoughts on “Smoked Chicken Legs with Bourbon Red Pepper Glaze”

  1. 5 stars
    Thank you for the recommendation of the leg rack! I have never seen one of these so I had to get a rack. OMG, this is a game changer and I love, love, love this chicken leg rack!! With your step-by-step instruction, your chicken legs recipe turned out amazing and was a huge hit with my family!!

    Reply

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