Smoked Chicken Legs

In Boise, Idaho, Yvonne Anderson-Thomas serves up classic Southern dishes like collard greens, sweet potato pie, and macaroni and cheese at the Brown Shuga Soul Food truck. She shared her recipe for slow-cooked sweet and savory smoked chicken legs


   1 tablespoon garlic powder

   1 tablespoon paprika

   Kosher salt


   6 chicken legs

   ¼ cup apple cider vinegar

   ¼ cup water

   ¼ cup brown sugar

   2 tablespoons ketchup

   1 teaspoon molasses

   1 teaspoon liquid smoke

   1 clove garlic

   3 cups wood chips

Directions: In a small bowl, combine the garlic powder, paprika, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Rub all over the chicken and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 1 day.

If you have a smoker: Place the wood chips in the smoker according to manufacturer’s instructions and heat to 225 degrees Fahrenheit, then place the chicken on the racks bone-side down and cook, turning halfway through, until the internal temperature is 165 degrees Fahrenheit, about 2 to 3 hours.

If you do not have a smoker: Remove the grill grates from one side of a gas grill and heat over medium-high heat. Tear 4 pieces of heavy-duty foil. Divide the chips between two pieces of foil, then sandwich with the other pieces. Fold over all of the edges to seal. Use a fork to poke holes in the top piece of foil. Place one foil package directly on the burner and let cook until the package begins to smoke, about 5 minutes. Let smoke for 5 minutes, then reduce heat to medium-low (the package should still be smoking).

Place the chicken on the other side of the grill opposite the foil package, bone-side down (the chicken is on the grill grates over the burners not in use). Cover the grill and cook, turning the chicken halfway through, until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit, 2 to 3 hours (if your grill has a temperature gauge, try to maintain 225 degrees Fahrenheit to 235 degrees Fahrenheit with the burners not directly under the chicken). If the foil packet stops smoking, replace with the second one, increasing the heat to get it smoking and reducing heat after it has started.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine the vinegar, water, sugar, ketchup, molasses, liquid smoke, and garlic. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until slightly thickened, 15 to 20 minutes. Brush over the cooked chicken. Or, if desired, before serving, increase grill to medium-high and grill the chicken, turning and basting with the sauce, until the skin is beginning to char, about 5 minutes.