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 crispy than what many people enjoy 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!
These are finished with a Dr Pepper glaze made using Jeff's barbecue sauce*.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 2 hours
- Smoker Temp: 250°F
- Meat Finish Temp: 165°F
- Recommended Wood: Hickory
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.
You are left with a skinless drumstick..
When you've done all of them, you'll have a pile of skinless drumsticks
I decided to use Dijon mustard to create a base for the seasoning. About 2/3 cup of my original rub* 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.
Massage the bag to make sure the mustard gets on to all of the chicken.
Now pour about ½ cup of Jeff's original rub* 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.
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.
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.
Lay one of the chicken drumsticks on top of the bacon as shown.
Wrap the short end of the bacon over the top of the chicken.
Wrap the remaining bacon around the rest of the chicken.
You can sprinkle a little more of the Jeff's original rub* for extra flavor if you like.
The bacon wrapped chicken drumsticks are now ready to smoke.
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!
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* thinned with Dr Pepper and sweetened a little more with honey.
Here's the recipe:
- ½ cup Jeff's barbecue sauce (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub)
- ½ cup Dr Pepper
- 2 TBS honey
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.
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. 😉
***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:
I recently purchased both recipes. The files did not come thru right but Jeff was prompt to get it fixed. I tried them both last weekend and they were a huge hit. I followed his burnt ends recipe to the letter and my neighbors thought I was some master chef! Thanks Jeff! -Susan T.
Thank you for the great advice. Followed your rib recipe and everyone loved them. Used your rub and sauce. On point! -Charles W.
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.
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.
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.
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Bacon Wrapped Chicken Drumsticks
- 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
- Remove chicken skin using a paper towel for better grip.
- Place chicken legs into a zip top bag.
- Place 2/3 cup of Dijon mustard into the bag and massage to cover all of the chicken.
- Place ½ cup of Jeff's original rub into the bag and massage/roll bag to coat the chicken evenly.
- Place the bag in the fridge overnight if desired or proceed with wrapping in bacon.
- Lay a strip of bacon on the cutting board
- Place a piece of chicken about 4 inches from the end of the bacon.
- Wrap the short end over the top of the bacon then proceed to wrap the long end around the rest of the chicken.
- Repeat this process on all of the chicken legs.
- Place the wrapped chicken legs onto a Bradley rack or similar.
- Preheat the smoker to 250°F using indirect heat.
- To smoke cook the chicken, lay the chicken on the grate and close the lid.
- 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.
- A 2nd glazing can be applied in 10 minutes if you want the chicken to be extra sticky.
- When the chicken reaches 165°F it is finished and should be removed from the heat.
- Serve immediately with warm sauce on the side.