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Ancho Chile Smoked BBQ Chicken Legs

Ancho Chile Smoked BBQ Chicken Legs

By Dennis The Prescott

Dennis the Prescott’s bold and spicy chicken recipe features rich, unique flavors like ancho and espresso that will make any spring cookout or weekend BBQ memorable. Plan ahead–the chicken marinates overnight.

Prep Time

20 Minutes

Cook Time

2 Hours




This recipe serves:


Units of Measurement:
1 Tablespoon ancho chile powder
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 Tablespoon ground espresso
1/2 Teaspoon ground cumin
1 Tablespoon lime zest
1 Tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 Tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper
2 Tablespoon olive oil
8 Whole chicken legs (thighs and drumsticks)
1/2 Cup Traeger BBQ Sauce, or your favorite smoky BBQ sauce
Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
1 lime, cut into wedges, for serving


  • 1

    In a small bowl, stir together the ancho chile powder, brown sugar, espresso, cumin, lime zest, salt, and black pepper.

    • 1 Tablespoon ancho chile powder

    • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar

    • 1/2 Tablespoon ground espresso

    • 1/2 Teaspoon ground cumin

    • 1 Tablespoon lime zest

    • 1 Tablespoon kosher salt

    • 1/2 Tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper

  • 2

    Massage the chicken legs all over with the olive oil. Sprinkle the dry rub over the chicken and massage until well coated. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator overnight.

    • 2 Tablespoon olive oil

    • 8 Whole chicken legs (thighs and drumsticks)

  • 3

    When ready to cook, set the Traeger temperature to 180℉ and preheat with the lid closed for 15 minutes. For optimal flavor, use Super Smoke, if available.

    180 ˚F / 82 ˚C

    Super Smoke

  • 4

    Place the chicken legs directly on the grill grates. Insert the probe into the thickest part of a leg, avoiding the bone. Close the lid and smoke for 1 hour.

    180 ˚F / 82 ˚C

    Super Smoke

  • 5

    Increase the Traeger temperature to 350°F. Continue cooking until the juices run clear and the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°F, about 1 hour more.

    350 ˚F / 177 ˚C

    165 ˚F / 74 ˚C

  • 6

    When there is 10 minutes of cooking time remaining, baste the chicken all over with the Traeger BBQ Sauce.

    • 1/2 Cup Traeger BBQ Sauce, or your favorite smoky BBQ sauce

  • 7

    Garnish the chicken with parsley and serve with the lime wedges alongside. Enjoy!

    •  Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish

    • 1  lime, cut into wedges, for serving

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