Easy And Delicious BBQ Chicken Legs Recipe

BBQ chicken legs are about as traditional as you can get at a weekend cookout. While that is true, I always find myself doing up ribs, pork butts, briskets, etc. I don’t know why that is because BBQ chicken is freaking delicious!

Bbq chicken legs on a baking sheet.

At the time of this writing, meat costs are through the roof. That is why I decided to do a deep dive into bbq chicken legs. They’re very affordable and dark chicken meat, done right, is so tender and moist.

And, I’m not gonna lie, I wanted to take a huge bite of some grilled chicken legs and have that barbecue sauce sticking to both sides of my face.

Getting BBQ chicken cooked correctly isn’t hard, but there are some steps. Everybody wants that sticky barbecue sauce, crispy skin, and moist, delicious chicken meat. Yes, it can be done, and it’s not hard at all.

You need to run the grill at medium-high heat (375-450 degrees Fahrenheit). You need to apply a good barbecue sauce with some sugar content (for the sticky!) right before it’s done. Then re-apply additional sauce when it’s done. That’s it!

barbecue chicken legs on a baking sheet.

With that said, sauce matters. Also, adding some smoke to the party always increases the flavor to a whole new level.

These smoked chicken legs taste amazing. That is enough to say and reason enough to cook them. But the beauty of this recipe is that it uses inexpensive meat and is readily available.

This will save you in the wallet while still serving up a plate of delicious BBQ. That’s a win-win in my book!

Ingredients Needed

Nothing to this. A few spices for a rub, and a favorite barbeque sauce. Nothing beats a homemade sauce so you may want to check out our own sauce. It’s soooo good!

  • 8 Chicken legs – This recipe calls for a standard package. Feel free to adjust (gotta love Costco)
  • Kosher salt
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Black pepper
  • Olive Oil – Vegetable oil works too.
  • Your favorite BBQ sauce (check our homemade Bourbon Chipotle BBQ sauce)

How To Grill Chicken Legs

Step 1: Preparing The BBQ Chicken Legs

Remove the chicken legs from their package and dry with paper towels.

In a small bowl or ramekin, mix together the kosher salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder.

On a large tray, spread all the chicken legs out. Pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the chicken legs, coating evenly over the entire surface.

raw chicken legs with a light rub applied.

Sprinkle half the rub over one side of the chicken legs. Turn them over and apply the remaining rub on the other sides.

Allow the chicken legs to rest for at least an hour.

Step 2: Grilling The Chicken Legs

When you’re ready to cook, get the grill to medium-high heat, somewhere between 375 and 450. For this recipe, I ran my pit at 425.

When the grill reaches temperature, place the chicken legs in on indirect heat. Add your favorite wood chips to the fire and allow to cook until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit., about 30 minutes.

BBQ chicken waiting for the sauce to be applied.

The skin should be nice and crispy at this point and very close to done.

note

A note on wood. If you’re not sure what to use, go with pecan or oak. Both offer a good smokiness without overpowering the meat.

If you like a bit more aggressiveness with the smoke, go with hickory. That’s my favorite!

Applying bbq sauce to some grilled chicken.

Step 3: Applying BBQ sauce To The Grilled Drumstick

Remove the chicken legs from the grill and apply the barbecue sauce liberally over the chicken legs and place them back. Continue to cook for an additional 10 minutes until, using an instant read thermometer, the internal temp reaches 170 degrees F.

BBQ chicken legs right off the grill.

Step 4: Serve And Enjoy

Remove the chicken legs and apply/drizzle additional bbq sauce over the chicken legs. Allow to set up for about 5 minutes before serving.

Conclusion

Grilled chicken legs sauced up with some good barbecue sauce is a great way to start your backyard BBQ legacy if you’re also relatively new to the game. The meat is inexpensive, and the cooking time is about an hour from start to finish.

And does anything scream cookout more than biting into a deliciously cooked bbq chicken leg? With the heat of the grill running pretty high, you get crispy skin. The BBQ sauce marries well with the smoke. And the meat is tender and moist.

bbq chicken legs on a baking sheet.

It’s the perfect bite, over and over!

bbq chicken legs on a sheet pan.

Yes, by all means, we love the ribs, we love the pork butt, we love the brisket. But getting a bite of sticky-sweet, spicy, smokey chicken will make you forget that for a good long while.

And serving up a tray full of bbq chicken drumsticks and seeing the smiles on everybody’s face has its own rewards.

Remember, take a look at our homemade Bourbon Chipotle Barbecue Sauce. It is sooo good! Works perfectly with this. You’ll come off as a PRO making your own homemade bbq sauce. Super easy, and super delicious! Store bought doesn’t compare.

Questions

How long does it take to make BBQ (barbecue) chicken legs?

About 5 minutes to prep the chicken legs. Approximately 3o minutes for grilling over indirect heat. After applying the bbq sauce, another 10 minutes on the grill to allow the sauce to set up.

How do you get crispy skin on grilled chicken legs

Cook the chicken legs at high heat (375-425 degrees F) over indirect heat for approximately 30 minutes. This will produce a nice, crispy skin without burning the chicken legs. Please note that applying bbq sauce will lessen the crispiness.

Other BBQ And Grilling Recipes

BBQ Chicken Legs Recipe

Bbq chicken legs on a baking sheet.

Easy And Delicious BBQ Chicken Legs

BBQ chicken legs are an inexpensive and delicious answer to serving up a big plate of BBQ at your next cookout. Amazingly easy and delish!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: BBQ
Cuisine: American
Keyword: bbq, chicken, grilling
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Resting time: 5 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 634kcal

Ingredients
 

  • 8 Chicken legs
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp Onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp Black pepper freshly ground
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil
  • 4 oz BBQ sauce Your favorite, or try ours!

Instructions

  • Remove the chicken legs from their package and dry with paper towels.
  • In a small bowl or ramekin, mix together the kosher salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder.
  • On a large tray, spread all the chicken legs out. Pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the chicken legs, coating evenly over the entire surface.
  • Sprinkle half the rub over one side of the chicken legs. Turn them over and apply the remaining rub on the other sides.
  • Allow the chicken legs to rest for at least an hour.
  • Get the grill to medium-high heat, somewhere between 375 and 450.
  • When the grill reaches temperature, place the chicken legs in on indirect heat. Add your favorite wood chips to the fire and allow to cook until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Remove the chicken legs from the grill and apply the barbecue sauce liberally over the chicken legs and place them back.
  • Continue to cook for an additional 10 minutes until the internal temp reaches 170 degrees F.
  • Remove the chicken legs and apply/drizzle additional bbq sauce over the chicken legs. Allow to set up for about 5 minutes before serving.

Nutrition

Calories: 634kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 43g | Fat: 45g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g | Monounsaturated Fat: 20g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 240mg | Sodium: 1090mg | Potassium: 599mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 302IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 2mg

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