One of the best parts of the chicken is the legs and thighs in my opinion but when smoking the skin often ends up less than appetizing although it does a great job of protecting the delicious juicy meat inside. These bacon wrapped chicken drumsticks are made by removing the chicken skin, seasoning with my very own original rub recipe and wrapping in a stretched piece of bacon.

Chicken lovers and bacon lovers alike will adore this recipe!

Seasoned liberally with my original rub (purchase recipes here) and brushed with a  Dr. Pepper glaze made using Jeff's barbecue sauce (purchase recipes here).

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For the last 12 years, I've been been making chicken better by using my original rub on it and thousands of you have experienced this for yourselves. It just works so well it'd be a shame to use anything else.

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Helpful Information
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Smoker Temp: 250°F
  • Meat Finish Temp: 165°F
  • Recommended Wood: Hickory
What You’ll Need
Remove the Skin

For this recipe, the skin will be replaced by bacon so we have to remove it. Fortunately, it's pretty easy to do.

Pull the skin down toward the narrow end then grasp it with a paper towel and pull it clean off.

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You are left with a skinless drumstick..

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When you've done all of them, you'll have a pile of skinless drumsticks

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Season with Original Rub

I decided to use Dijon mustard to create a base for the seasoning. About 2/3 cup of my original rub (purchase recipes here) should be enough for a dozen legs.

Place the chicken legs into a plastic zip top bag first to make it easier and less messy.

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Massage the bag to make sure the mustard gets on to all of the chicken.

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Now pour about ½ cup of Jeff's original rub (purchase recipes here) into the bag and once again roll the bag around and massage it to make sure the rub gets distributed evenly onto all of the chicken.

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Once it looks good, the chicken can be removed from the bag at this point or stored in the fridge overnight until you are ready to cook them.

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Wrap in Bacon

I recommend using the thinnest bacon you can find. Look for pound packages that have 16+ slices.

Lay a strip of bacon on the cutting board or wax paper.

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Lay one of the chicken drumsticks on top of the bacon as shown.

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Wrap the short end of the bacon over the top of the chicken.

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Wrap the remaining bacon around the rest of the chicken.

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Repeat this process for all of the chicken legs and place them on a Bradley rack, Weber grill pan, cooling rack, etc.

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The bacon wrapped chicken drumsticks are now ready to smoke.

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Smoker Time

Set up your smoker for cooking at about 250°F using indirect heat.

If your smoker has a water pan, fill it up.

Use hickory wood for smoke. Other smoking woods will work just fine as well.

Once the smoker is preheated, place the chicken into the smoker and let the good times roll!

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Glaze with Sauce (optional but recommended)

When the chicken reaches about 145°F, it's a great idea to glaze the chicken with some delicious sauce. I like to use my barbecue sauce (purchase recipes here) thinned with Dr. Pepper and sweetened a little more with honey.

Here's the recipe:


Ingredients

Instructions

Add all ingredients and stir to combine.


Brush the sauce liberally onto all sides of the chicken. A second coat can be applied 10 minutes later if you want them extra sticky.

Finish and Serve

You can expect bacon wrapped chicken drumsticks to take a total of about 2 hours at 250°F. If you have to use a slightly lower temperature, it may take a little longer.

The higher temperatures will help to get a better finish on the bacon.

Use a quality digital meat thermometer such as a Thermopop (reads in 3-4 seconds so you can check all of them quickly) and when the chicken reaches 165°F it is done and should be removed from the heat right away.

Serve with warm sauce on the side for dipping and watch everyone licking their fingers and reaching for more. 😉

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"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.

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Printable Recipe

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Bacon Wrapped Chicken Drumsticks

5 from 3 reviews

These bacon wrapped chicken drumsticks are made by removing the skin, seasoning with my original rub and wrapping in a stretched piece of bacon. So delicious!

  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Total Time: 2 hours 20 mins
  • Yield: 6
  • Category: Entree
  • Cuisine: Hot Smoking

Ingredients

  • 12 chicken legs (or more)
  • 2/3 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup Jeff's original rub
  • 1 lb bacon (thin is best)
  • ½ cup Jeff's barbecue sauce
  • ½ cup Dr. Pepper (not diet)
  • 2 TBS honey

Instructions

  1. Remove chicken skin using a paper towel for better grip.
  2. Place chicken legs into a zip top bag.
  3. Place 2/3 cup of Dijon mustard into the bag and massage to cover all of the chicken.
  4. Place ½ cup of Jeff's original rub into the bag and massage/roll bag to coat the chicken evenly.
  5. Place the bag in the fridge overnight if desired or proceed with wrapping in bacon.
  6. Lay a strip of bacon on the cutting board
  7. Place a piece of chicken about 4 inches from the end of the bacon.
  8. Wrap the short end over the top of the bacon then proceed to wrap the long end around the rest of the chicken.
  9. Repeat this process on all of the chicken legs.
  10. Place the wrapped chicken legs onto a Bradley rack or similar.
  11. Preheat the smoker to 250°F using indirect heat.
  12. To smoke cook the chicken, lay the chicken on the grate and close the lid.
  13. When the chicken reaches 145°F it can be brushed with Dr. Pepper glaze made by mixing ½ cup of my barbecue sauce, ½ cup of Dr. Pepper and 2 TBS of honey.
  14. A 2nd glazing can be applied in 10 minutes if you want the chicken to be extra sticky.
  15. When the chicken reaches 165°F it is finished and should be removed from the heat.
  16. Serve immediately with warm sauce on the side.

 

About the Author

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

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

  1. terry June 24, 2017 at 1:49 pm - Reply

    This recipe has become a favorite around my place. When guests come they expect it and the nice thing is the time from start to finish isnt all that bad time wise. By the time theyve had a few beers and caught up socially, its dinner time.

    I did this recipe for mothers day, and had to reheat them a few hours later, meat fell off the bone, and most thought the bacon was the skin!

    Great work Jeff thank you!

  2. Larry Letvinuck November 19, 2016 at 11:05 am - Reply

    Jeff,
    I’ve purchased your rub and sauces recipes… both outstanding and I use them often. I’d like to use your bacon wrapped chicken drumstick recipe on (6) turkey legs for Thanksgiving. I have a Blaz-N pellet grill and live the Denver area @6300′. How long would you smoke the turkey legs for at that altitude (things just take longer up here)? I’m considering putting a couple turkey thighs on the smoke too as I’m a dark meat lover and have plenty of room on the smoker grate.
    Thanks… Larry

    • Jeff Phillips November 19, 2016 at 8:56 pm - Reply

      Those turkey legs usually end up taking somewhere around 2 to 2.5 hours depending on how big they are, how cold they are when they go on the smoker and other variables like ambient temperature, wind, etc.

      At that altitude, I would figure on an increased cooking time of 25 percent. This brings the estimate up to between 2.5 hours and 3 hours approximately.

  3. Colin Mansfield October 26, 2016 at 11:02 am - Reply

    I made smoked bacon drumsticks, family loved them smallest child ate 2 he only eats have drumstick usually they said best chicken ever

  4. Kellog October 20, 2016 at 7:04 am - Reply

    Hi Jeff. I made the Smoked Drumsticks this past Sunday for some friends. These babys are off the hook! Everyone went on and on about how delicious they were. Thanks for the great recipes. Have you ever made smoked mac and cheese?

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