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Smoked Chicken with Chipotle, Peach and Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

Smoked Chicken with Chipotle, Peach and Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

by Barbara Kiebel on June 17, 2013

As much as I think I love to barbecue; I think what I really love is conjuring up new barbecue sauces. I’m going through a fruit phase; maybe it’s an extension of how fruit has permeated my salads and salad dressings but I’ve found them to be so complimentary to the seasonings that make up sauces for the grill. This recipe required both a rub for the chicken and then a sauce that is put on that same chicken later in the game…by the time all is said and done the flavor that was imparted to this smoked chicken was amazing. I created this dish for a backyard get together I’ll be posting about later this week and the sauce was so loved I was asked if I would please bottle it and sell it. How about if I just give you the recipe instead?

If I were making this later in the season I might have used fresh peaches but I’m not certain; the ease of using a jar of peach preserves can not be underestimated! I also suppose it shows the hierarchy of importance I place on material things in my life that I brought my smoker with me for the time I’m staying with some friends. Anticipating a summer without smoking some chicken would simply not be the same. Or brisket or ribs or…see; how could I go through an entire summer without it?


I love having a smoker; put the food in and let it do it’s magic. Smoking something like chicken legs is especially easy since the time element is relatively short due to their size. Short as in 2 hours versus a full day; that makes it something I can accomplish without spending the entire day monitoring progress. LOVE!

Served with Cilantro Serrano Mexican Rice (my FAVORITE rice dish EVER!), a simple salad with mixed greens, strawberries, sunflower seeds and a strawberry dressing, it was simple and so good; doggone I’m craving some more now! We also had a trio of ice creams; the ease of making homemade ice cream might be my downfall; I have more ideas than I have time to make them!

No smoker? Don’t let that stop you…this very same treatment would be great for chicken cooked on the grill too. Happy Summer!

Smoked Chicken with Chipotle Peach Barbecue Sauce
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
  • 12-20 chicken legs
For the Dry Rub:
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp paprika
  • 1 T cumin
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp dry mustard
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp pepper
For the Chipotle Peach Barbecue Sauce:
  • 1 teaspoon olive or vegetable oil
  • ¾ cup chopped Vidalia or other sweet onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 12 oz jar peach preserves
  • ½ cup bourbon
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp mild-flavored (light) molasses
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp finely grated lemon peel
  • 1 to 2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo, minced, plus 1 tablespoon adobo sauce from can (I originally made this with one chile to not make it too hot for more sensitive palates; everyone thought it could use the additional heat so now I make it with 2)
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
Make the Dry Rub:
  1. Combine the brown sugar, paprika, cumin, cayenne, garlic powder, dry mustard, salt and pepper in a container and mix well.
Make the Chipotle Peach Barbecue Sauce:
  1. In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil and saute the onions until translucent. Add the garlic and continue to cook for just a minute; do not let it turn brown.
  2. Add the ketchup, peach preserves, bourbon, lemon juice, molasses, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, lemon peel, chiles with adobo sauce, liquid smoke and dry mustard.
  3. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 20-25 minutes until thickened, stirring often. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper.
Make the Chicken:
  1. Put the chicken legs into a large ziploc bag or bowl.
  2. Season the chicken generously with the rub and make sure all the pieces get covered. Put the chicken in the fridge for 4-24 hours.
  3. Preheat your smoker and place the seasoned chicken legs on the smoker racks.
  4. Smoke for 2 hours; remove from smoker and put the legs into a large dish, generously slather with the Chipotle Peach Barbecue sauce and cover with foil.
  5. Put the dish of legs into the smoker for another half hour or until done (should register 165 degrees internally).
  6. Serve with additional sauce.

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{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Nusrat Azim July 11, 2013 at 4:14 pm

Good Lord ! Who wouldn’t feel encouraged to try that red, smooth, inviting sauce?!
In love of your sexy chicken leg shots :)
Nusrat Azim Most Recent Post: Grilled Red Snapper


2 Creative Culinary July 11, 2013 at 9:09 pm

This was SO good…I would say I could have eaten it with a spoon but the real truth is that I did! Thanks so very much.


3 Ammie July 4, 2013 at 9:07 pm

We made this for our 4th of July BBQ today…AMAZING! Our grill has a smoker that we’ve never used but this recipe encouraged us to give it a try. The rub and sauce were delicious and so flavorful. My husband was in heavan! Thank you so much for sharing your talent!


4 Creative Culinary July 4, 2013 at 11:05 pm

Ammie I love you. I fly pretty much by the seat of my pants most often; adding a bit of this and a bit of that; hoping I and my friends and family will be happy with the results. I wonder sometimes if they are just being kind…so hearing from you was SO delightful because I really did love this chicken! Thank you! Now…use that smoker more often, OK?


5 Ammie July 5, 2013 at 4:48 pm

We are making it again today. We used smoked paprika yesterday because that’s all I had on hand but it gave the rub an extra smokey kick. I love smoked paprika and use it in place of regular paprika in most recipes. Thanks again!


6 Creative Culinary July 6, 2013 at 8:50 am

I think that’s what I have too Ammie but sometimes I don’t call for a particular type of spice like that so folks don’t feel they have to run out and buy it…but you and I know best. :) I’m smoking elk today…cross your fingers I figure that one out!


7 Ammie July 6, 2013 at 10:55 am

Elk?!? My husband and I both grew up in Southeast Idaho and are not strangers to eating big game meats as well as rabbits and pheasants. I’ve been told that one of my first words was moose. :) We live in Los Angeles now but every once in a while I get a craving for a venison steak with eggs. :)

8 Robin Gagnon {Mom Foodie} June 29, 2013 at 7:42 am

This sauce looks divine.
Robin Gagnon {Mom Foodie} Most Recent Post: Roasted Potato Salad with Dijon and Goat Cheese Dressing


9 Creative Culinary June 29, 2013 at 8:48 am

It is Robin…perfect word.


10 Jamie June 25, 2013 at 5:43 am

Good golly, did I already comment on this post. Yowzers does that chicken look amazing! I have made a chicken with a sweet and sour glaze and peaches but I am so loving your kicked up spicy boozy version! Good grief this looks great!
Jamie Most Recent Post: Chocolate and Vanilla Frosted Birthday Cupcakes


11 Creative Culinary June 25, 2013 at 9:51 am

Did you? Well, it’s worthy of two comments. I can not lie Jamie, I was pretty pleased with that sauce. Holy Yum are the words I’m sure I used to describe it. Add that fruity and spicy sauce to smoked chicken? Let’s just say I wished I had smoked more than 20 legs!


12 Abbe@This is How I Cook June 19, 2013 at 5:41 pm

Oh my. This does sound mouthwatering good.


13 Creative Culinary June 20, 2013 at 7:53 am

Thanks Abbe…it really was! About time for coffee? My treat; just let me know when!


14 Kate | Food Babbles June 19, 2013 at 4:17 pm

Yowza!! I read the title and honestly started salivating at the thought even before those gorgeous pictures loaded. I can practically smell it. This sounds absolutely amazing! I will be making this soon.
Kate | Food Babbles Most Recent Post: Lavender Iced Tea


15 Creative Culinary June 20, 2013 at 7:52 am

I hope you do Kate; the combination of fruit and some heat with a touch of booze really was so good. Like in we could eat it with a spoon good!


16 Lail | With A Spin June 19, 2013 at 3:16 pm

Outstanding chicken!! Your friends were right about bottling and selling it because there’s nothing out there to beat it.
Lail | With A Spin Most Recent Post: Amazing Coastline of Italy


17 Creative Culinary June 20, 2013 at 7:50 am

Aw thanks…we did sorta like it. :)


18 Priscilla | ShesCookin June 18, 2013 at 11:53 pm

Barb, you’re speaking to the choir :) Fruit in the sauce is magic! And in concert with a dry rub….barbecue heaven. I’ll be making your Serrano Mexican Rice very soon, too!
Priscilla | ShesCookin Most Recent Post: World Cuisine at The Golden Truffle


19 Creative Culinary June 19, 2013 at 8:20 am

It is hard to describe that rice Priscilla. It sounds good enough but then you take that first bite and have an ‘oh my’ moment. Not hot at all but those peppers and cilantro season it just so perfectly. I’m not kidding when I tell you that the first time I made it for a barbecue I ‘tested’ so much I had to make a 2nd batch. Now I just always double it…you know, for insurance!


20 Paula June 18, 2013 at 7:54 pm

Your friends were right, you should have bottled and sold this but selfishly, I’m glad you chose you share it here. Great heart you have and and a great recipe. That chicken looks so good I actually touched my laptop screen!


21 Creative Culinary June 19, 2013 at 8:18 am

I love how my pals think my entrepreneur spirit means I should start another business…and I’m happy to share because I promise, BBQ sauce business is not in my future! It was so good Paula; not that it wouldn’t be great with grilled chicken too but I have to admit that I just love having a smoker; especially this electric one. Set it and forget it? Why yes thank you very much. :)


22 Liren June 18, 2013 at 10:10 am

Holy smokes, I am seriously Drooling! Yes, capital D! I adore peaches in barbecue sauce and love how you used peach compote. Simply fantastic!
Liren Most Recent Post: Mixed Berry Streusel Muffins


23 Creative Culinary June 18, 2013 at 10:21 am

Thanks Liren; it was literally good enough to eat with a spoon (one of my guests did just that!).


24 Maureen | Orgasmic Chef June 17, 2013 at 10:56 pm

This chicken is outstanding! I’m going to make this for my sister on the weekend. We’ll cook and chat and then swoon and sing your praises.
Maureen | Orgasmic Chef Most Recent Post: Lavender Shortbread & The Dilmah High Tea Challenge State Finals


25 Creative Culinary June 18, 2013 at 10:21 am

That sounds perfect but wish I was there with you!


26 Renee - Kudos Kitchen June 17, 2013 at 4:28 pm

Heat and sweet. Love it!


27 Creative Culinary June 17, 2013 at 8:50 pm

Me too…I love that combination SO much I could do it with almost everything from cocktails to salad dressings to barbecue to desserts. If I had nothing but time, I would start a new blog with that as the theme. :)


28 Lana @ Never Enough Thyme June 17, 2013 at 11:52 am

My mouth started watering when I first glimpsed the photo. Then I read the whole post and recipe and now it’s a full on craving! Dadgum it, Barb, now I have to go back to the grocery store again today :-)
Lana @ Never Enough Thyme Most Recent Post: Lemon-Dill Potato Salad


29 Creative Culinary June 17, 2013 at 8:55 pm

It was so good and I was not kidding; my friends Dad could not stop eating it with a spoon; we kidded him about liking a bit of chicken with his sauce? I did one last year or two that was similar with cherry preserves…it’s so good too. I’m all about the fruit!


30 Nancy@acommunaltable June 17, 2013 at 11:08 am

LOL!! Most women would be taking trunks of clothes… Us? We take trunks of cooking equipment! After reading this recipe (which I KNOW I would love, don’t even have to make it to know that) I might just have to break down and get a smoker!


31 Creative Culinary June 17, 2013 at 8:53 pm

How did you know I came totally unprepared with clothing? But I’ve got my grill, smoker, Cuisinart, BlendTec and KitchenAid…who needs clothes anyway? :)


32 Holly June 17, 2013 at 10:49 am

I second that idea of you bottling this up and selling it. What a meal you must have had! I agree about using peach preserves rather than fresh. I made a sauce last year using a peach jam I canned last spring and loved it. If I get around to canning more this summer I’ll be sure to share the bounty with you.
Holly Most Recent Post: High Heels and Purses Cookies for an Accessory Swap


33 Creative Culinary June 17, 2013 at 8:51 pm

You know I would LOVE that Holly…and if you do well then I will make you some sauce! :)


34 john@kitchenriffs June 17, 2013 at 10:11 am

One of these day I need to get a smoker. You can smoke OK on a kettle grill, but it’s more work. Great looking chicken! I sometimes use fruit in marinades and glazes, not so often in sauce. Yours looks great! Try ginger preserves sometime – they’re awesome with BBQ!
john@kitchenriffs Most Recent Post: Sautéed Cucumbers


35 Creative Culinary June 17, 2013 at 8:52 pm

They are highly addictive John…I got one mostly to make my own bacon but now I love it for SO many things. I will try ginger; I just know it would be great…thanks.


36 Lizzy (Good Things) June 17, 2013 at 5:07 am

Well now, i could just dive into that screen and help myself to one of them there drumsticks, ma’am! Looks delicious!
Lizzy (Good Things) Most Recent Post: Poffertjes – little Dutch pancakes


37 Creative Culinary June 17, 2013 at 8:52 pm

You’re in Texas, right? :) Thanks Lizzy!


38 Creative Culinary July 7, 2013 at 7:29 am

I met a fellow last year who produces grass fed beef from a small operation a couple of house west of Denver; he also does big game hunting. He sent me some elk from a hunt last year and today I’m FINALLY getting around to it. Think I’ll fill the smoker with meat; we’re doing elk, chicken and short ribs. Come on over! :)


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