Sometimes a chicken leg is just that.. a chicken leg. But sometimes, a chicken leg is a smoked chicken lollipop. In this recipe, I am going to show you how to turn an ordinary chicken drumstick into something that is fun and exciting to eat for kids and adults alike.

These make great appetizers or they can be served with sides as an excellent entree for lunch or dinner.. breakfast too I suppose.

Let's get started!

Helpful Information
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Smoker Temp: 225°F
  • Meat Finish Temp: 165°F
  • Recommended Wood: Cherry
What You'll Need

Get the Recipes for Jeff’s Rub and Sauce


recipe-ad-rub

My rub recipe and sauce recipe truly shine on poultry as a seasoning and as a great way to add stickiness and sweetness and amazing flavor to these smoked chicken lollipops.

promise you’ll love my dry rub/seasoning recipe and my barbecue sauce recipe or you don’t pay!

Reasons to buy: Support the newsletter and the website | Own “the recipes” | Get the email newsletter 100% AD FREE from now on | Includes the Texas style rub recipe

Order the Recipes for Jeff's Rub and Sauce

Make the Lollipops

Rinse the chicken legs under cold water. Lay one of the chicken legs on the cutting board or other hard surface to begin turning it into a lollipop.

2014-IMG_4414 2014-IMG_4416

Using a sharp knife, make a cut all the way around the chicken, down to the bone, just below the knuckle.

2014-IMG_4417

This is how it looks once your cut is made. Holding the bone in one hand, pull all of the chicken meat down to one end away from the knuckle.

2014-IMG_4418 2014-IMG_4419

Clean up the bone just a little bit removing any stray fat or meat and snipping off any tendons that might be sticking out beyond the ball of meat.

The first couple of chicken legs might be a little slow going but you'll get the hang of it quickly and the rest of them should go a lot faster.

Place all of the “cleaned up” chicken legs into a bowl or large ziptop bag for seasoning.

2014-IMG_44202014-IMG_4460

Season the Chicken

If you want to use a sticking agent, mayonnaise works really well on chicken. I just used the rub by itself in this particular batch but I often use mayonnaise, olive oil or mustard to create a nice sticky surface that the rub can adhere to.

Once you are ready for the rub, pour on about ¼ cup of Jeff's rub and stir the chicken around to make sure it's well coated.

A more methodical way to season these chicken legs is to lay a single layer of chicken legs into the bowl, sprinkle with seasoning, flip them over and sprinkle the other side with seasoning.

Lay down a 2nd layer and repeat.

Continue this same process until all of the chicken has been thoroughly coated with rub.

2014-IMG_4462

Place a lid on the container or zip it closed and place in the fridge for at least 2 hours to allow the flavors to seep into the skin and meat of the chicken.

You can also leave the seasoned chicken in the fridge overnight if time allows.

Once the chicken is done marinating, remove from the fridge and proceed.

Cover the Handles with Foil

To keep the handles (bones) from burning and turning dark, cover them with foil.

It is easier, in my opinion, to cut enough squares of foil before you get started wrapping.

2014-IMG_4461

Wrap each handle in foil and lay the finished legs onto a bradley rack or cookie sheet for easy transport to and from the smoker.

The cool thing about the bradley rack is you won't have to remove the chicken from the rack as long as it will fit in your smoker.

2014-IMG_4463

The chicken is now ready to cook!

Get the Smoker Ready

This step can easily be done while the chicken is marinating in the fridge.

Fire up the smoker (or plug it in if you have an electric model) and set it up to smoke cook at about 225°F.

You can definitely cook hotter if you want to but as with most small things, I like to cook low and slow to make sure and get plenty of smoke flavor time.

If your smoker has a water pan installed from the factory, be sure to use it. It helps to keep the temperature stable and creates a barrier between the heat and the food.

Once the smoker is up to temperature and holding steady, it's time to cook.

Smoke the Chicken Lollipops

Place the chicken directly on the smoker grate or if you used the bradley rack, just lay the entire rack of chicken on the smoker grate.

Maintain 225 °F for about 2 hours or until the thickest part of the chicken reads 165 °F using a digital meat thermometer.

Thermometers

There are 3 main thermometers that I like to use, one is the Thermapen for quick and easy checking of each piece. I also like to use the Maverick ET-732 when I am using a smoker that is a long ways from my kitchen (more than 100 feet or so). A third option which I have been using recently, is the new iGrill2 which I have been very impressed with so far. It does not have the range of the Maverick ET-732 but it connects with my iPhone/iPad via bluetooth and, not only does it keep me informed of the temperature of my smoker and 3 other food items, it also charts my time and temperature for me.

There are lots of options when it comes to thermometers, but these are the 3 that I use and recommend to anyone who really wants to get serious about smoking meat.

The first thing you learn about smoking meat is that you don't cook by time very much, it's usually more about temperature. The folks I've talked to who brag that they don't need no stinkin' thermometer, tend to overcook or undercook food all too often for my taste.

If you like it that way, more power to you. I like to know that I am right on the mark and that I created a perfectly finished product for my family and friends.

Smoke Wood

I used cherry wood for this chicken and kept the smoke going the full 2 hours. You can use any smoking wood and it will work fine. Some of my favorites are Mesquite, Pecan, apple and of course cherry.

There is no reason, in my opinion, to soak wood chips/chunks before using them. I get better results and better smoke flavor by using the wood completely dry.

Saucing the Chicken

If you want to sauce the chicken, brush it on about 30 minutes before the chicken is finished cooking.

To glaze the chicken while it cooks, take 1 part Jeff's sauce and add it to 1 part beer, wine, water, juice (cherry juice is great if you can find it), or other liquid. Mix well to make a really flavorful and beautiful glaze.

These chicken legs were glazed several times during the cooking/smoking process:

smoked-chicken-lollipops2-small

Finishing Up

Once the smoked chicken lollipops have reached 165 °F, remove them from the smoker and remove the foil from around the handles.

2014-IMG_4541 2014-IMG_4545

Serve the smoked chicken lollipops immediately or you can also place it in a pan covered with foil and into a warm oven to hold it for an hour or so until dinner.

Notes/Comments:
  1. For smoked chicken, lots of folks complain about rubbery chicken. Using this method, you will usually get chicken skin that has good “bite through” but it won't be crispy. Crisping the skin can be done on the grill or under the broiler of your oven but you risk burning the rub and/or sauce.
  2. These smoked chicken lollipops can be used as an appetizer or as a main entree making them very versatile.

Get the Digital Recipes for Jeff’s Rub and Sauce


jeffs-rub-framed-250x169 jeffs-sauce-framed-250x169
***Note: you get the Texas style rub recipe free with your order!

If I could give these recipes away, I would do that. I really want you to have them! But, then, this is how I support the newsletter, the website and all of the other stuff that we do here to promote the art of smoking meat.

Read these recent testimonies:

Love the sauce and rub
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star
Love the sauce and rub recipes. So far I have used them on beef ribs, pork ribs, and different chicken parts. Can't wait to do a beef brisket. Texas rub is great as well! ~Peter S.
I tried the rub on a beef
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star
..I tried the rub on a beef brisket and some beef ribs the other day and our entire family enjoyed it tremendously. I also made a batch of the barbeque sauce that we used on the brisket as well as some chicken. We all agreed it was the best sauce we have had in a while. ~Darwyn B.
Love the original rib rub
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star
 Love the original rib rub and sauce! We have an annual rib fest competition at the lake every 4th of July. I will say we have won a great percent of the time over the past 15 years so we are not novices by any means. However, we didn't win last year and had to step up our game! We used Jeff's rub and sauce (sauce on the side) and it was a landslide win for us this year! Thanks Jeff for the great recipes. I'm looking forward to trying the Texas style rub in the near future! ~Michelle M.


You see the raving testimonies and you wonder, "Can the recipes really be that good?"

No worries! Make up a batch and if it's not as good as you've heard.. simply ask for a refund. Now that's a bargain and you know it. Let's review:

  • You decide you don't like the recipes.. you don't pay!
  • The recipes are absolutely amazing!
  • Once you order, there'll be no more recipe ads in the email version of the newsletter
Well.. what are you waiting for.. click on the big orange button below to order the recipes now.

Order the Recipes for Jeff's Rub and Sauce

I really, really appreciate the support from my newsletter friends and be sure to let me know if you have any questions about this.

You Need Jeff's Book!

smoking-meat-book-cover-275x289The book is full of recipes and contains tons of helpful information as well. Some have even said that "no smoker should be without this book"!

With more than 750 reviews on Amazon.com and a rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars, it comes highly recommended.

It is a Bestseller in Barbecueing & Grilling books on Amazon.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble (in stock at most stores)

Digital versions available via Nook | iTunes | Kindle

Note: German version available under the title "American Smoker" at Amazon.de

Buy Almost ANYTHING at Amazon!

If you enjoy the newsletter and would like to do something helpful, then..

The next time you decide to order something at Amazon.com, use THIS LINK to get there and we'll get a small commission off of what you purchase.

Thank you in advance for using our special link: http://www.smoking-meat.com/amazon

 

Printable Recipe

Smoked Chicken Lollipops
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Smoked chicken lollipops are named due to the built-in handle on chicken legs. Push the meat up to the top and smoke them for a great way to eat smoked chicken.
Author:
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Hot Smoking
Serves: 5-6
Ingredients
  • 12-14 chicken legs/drums
  • Jeff’s rub
  • Jeff’s Sauce
  • Cherry juice for making a glaze (optional)
  • Foil
Instructions
Make the Lollipops
  1. Rinse chicken legs under cold water
  2. Lay one of the chicken legs on the cutting board or hard surface.
  3. Make a cut through skin, meat and tendons all the way around the chicken leg, just below the knuckle
  4. Push meat all to one end leaving at least half of the bone on the knuckle end as a handle.
  5. Snip off any extruding tendons, meat, fat, etc. to clean it up.
  6. Repeat process on all chicken legs.
Season & Marinate the Chicken Legs
  1. Apply mayonnaise to outside of chicken to create a stick surface for the seasoning to stick to.
  2. Sprinkle Jeff's rub onto each chicken leg making sure to coat all sides thoroughly.
  3. Place all of the seasoned chicken into a lidded bowl or ziptop bag and place it in the fridge for 2 hours minimum. You can also marinate overnight if desired.
  4. After marinating time is complete, remove chicken from fridge.
Wrap Handles with Foil
  1. To prevent the handles from getting too dark or burnt, cut a square 4-inch pieces of foil for each chicken leg.
  2. Wrap the foil around the handle (bone) of each chicken leg.
Smoking the Chicken
  1. Preheat smoker to 225 °F
  2. Place chicken directly on smoker grate
  3. Let chicken cook for about 2 hours or until it reaches 165 °F in the thickest part.
  4. If you want to add sauce to the chicken (highly recommended) do so during the last 30 minutes of the cooking time.
Finishing Up
  1. Remove foil from chicken and serve immediately.
 

About the Author

Long time Industrial Engineer turned self-proclaimed fire poker, pitmaster and smoke whisperer and loving every minute of it!

7 Comments on this article. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Tom July 25, 2014 at 8:16 am - Reply

    I thought this recipe turned out great. I love wings but they are so expensive any more, it was nice to have a great recipe for drumsticks. I followed the recipe except for the cherry juice. I didn’t have cherry juice so I substituted grenadine syrup in its place. I only used two tablespoons to one cup of Jeff’s sauce. For those who don’t know, I didn’t, grenadine is from pomigranite. It was wonderful! My wife generally doesn’t want me to put the sauce on in the cooker but this time all she said was OH WOW! Big success! Save some basting sauce for dipping too!

  2. Tom July 25, 2014 at 8:05 am - Reply

    Rick, I too have a Masterbuilt 40 inch. I love it. I’ve had it for two years and it is wonderful. Temps stay very close to where you set them. I think the new design of the Masterbuilt would be better than mine because the drip pan is accessible from the front. I highly recommend it. My brother recently bought one and really likes his so far. However to be honest it is the only smoker I have owned but I think it may be the one I replace it with should the need arise.

  3. Rick Arambula July 17, 2014 at 11:25 am - Reply

    Jeff: I have tried other rubs but they do not hold a candle to yours. I have been using yours for several years and kick myself every time I take the time to smoke a piece of meat and DON’T use yours. Unquestionably the best. I do have a question: I am tired of the inconsistent temperature of my Camp Chef 24″ Smoke Vault Gas Smoker and having to tend it nearly constantly. I am considering an electric model and would like your opining on the Masterbuilt Sportsman Elite 30″ Black Electric Smoker with Meat Probe. What do you think?

    • Mike July 21, 2014 at 2:51 pm - Reply

      Rick, I read your note to Jeff asking his opinion about the Masterbuilt Electric Smoker. I’m not Jeff and I don’t have a website and my own meat rub so I’m not sure you would be interested in my opinion or not. But, I have the Masterbuilt electric and I absolutely love it. I use it no less than 2 times each week and have not had a disappointing meal yet. It maintains the temperature settings very well. The hard wired meat probe is invaluable. It works so well, it is easy for me to get distracted and forget that I actually have something cooking. Since buying mine more than 2 years ago, my best friend and my Brother-in-Law have purchased their own. It has held up extremely well. I replaced the interior light bulb once. Hows that for dependability. Good luck in making your decision. – Mike

  4. Dan July 17, 2014 at 8:11 am - Reply

    In the past, I haven’t had great results smoking chicken. I’ve only done whole chickens though. The taste isn’t bad, but they come out tasting pretty much like a johnsonville smoked sausage. Not necessarily a bad taste, but any flavor that the chicken had is completely overpowered by the smoke process. Is that what it’s supposed to taste like?

    • Mike July 21, 2014 at 2:55 pm - Reply

      You might back off on the amount of smoke. I absolutely love the chicken and turkey we prepare in the smoker, but I generally do not subject the poultry to as much smoke as other people tend to do. You didn’t go into much detail with your question but this may apply.

      Good luck,

      Mike

    • Caleb September 4, 2014 at 1:42 pm - Reply

      you may be using the wrong flavor of wood i.e. hickory. try something milder like apple or cherry if you want a lighter smoke flavor.

Leave A Response

Rate this recipe: