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Smoked Drunken Drumsticks

My smoked drunken drumsticks are brined in beer then smoked at higher than normal temperatures to crisp the skin. Finished perfectly with beer barbecue sauce.
Course Entree
Cuisine Hot Smoking
Prep Time 3 hours 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 4 -6
Author Jeff Phillips


  • 8-12 chicken legs
  • Beer brine
  • Jeff’s Original rub recipe
  • Beer barbecue sauce


  • Fill a large container such as a pitcher or bowl with 40 ounces (1 quart + 1 cup) cold water.
  • Add two 12-0z bottles of beer
  • Stir in ½ cup of kosher salt and continue to stir until salt is diluted into the water and the water becomes clear.
  • Stir in ½ cup brown sugar making sure it is melted into the water.
  • Add the drumsticks to a lidded container for brining.
  • If you see any large clumps of fat or extra skin, now is a great time to go ahead and remove it with kitchen shears or a sharp knife.
  • Once all of the chicken is in the container, pour the brine over the chicken to cover.
  • Cover with the lid, plastic wrap, etc. and place the brining chicken into the fridge for 3 hours.
  • At the end of the brining time, discard the liquid brine and rinse each piece of chicken to remove any residual salt.
  • Lay the chicken on several layers of paper towels to drain before proceeding to the next step.
  • Drizzle olive oil or vegetable oil onto the chicken and use a basting brush to spread it out.
  • Move the chicken around to make sure it is well coated.
  • Season generously with Jeff's Texas style rub then roll each piece over and season the other side.
  • Make sure the Texas style rub recipe is on all sides of the chicken.
  • Chop 2-3 tablespoons of parsley and chives and sprinkle it all over the chicken.
  • Setup your smoker or grill for cooking at 275-300°F with indirect heat. You can cook them lower at around 225°F but the skin will not have a good bite through.
  • If you normally use a water pan, I recommend leaving it dry. When cooking chicken legs, thighs or quarters, I seem to get better results in a smoking environment with lower humidity.
  • Keep the smoke going for the entire time for great flavor. I recommend cherry, apple or pecan if you have any of these.
  • Use a quick read thermometer to check the temperature after about 45 minutes or you can use a thermometer with a leave-in probe to keep you aware of the temperature throughout the entire process.
  • When the drumsticks reach 160°F, spoon some beer barbecue sauce onto the drumsticks.
  • Beer barbecue sauce is simply about a cup of my barbecue sauce mixed with equal parts of beer or until it gets to the consistency that you like.
  • I say "spoon it" simply because we do not want to disturb or brush off the seasoning that we applied. A turkey baster would also work well to pick up some of the sauce and apply it to the drumsticks in a way that does not wash away the seasoning.
  • The chicken is done at 165°F.
  • When cooking chicken, go high with the heat if you can or smoke it for half the time and then use the oven or grill to finish if that's what you have to do.
  • Once the chicken is done, serve it up right away while it's still hot!