Smoked Chicken with Chipotle, Peach BBQ Sauce

Adding the Chipotle, Peach, and Bourbon Barbecue Sauce to Smoked Chicken was a divine marriage; it’s the only way to prepare it in my book!

Smoked Chicken with Chipotle, Peach and Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

The theme for this week’s Food Network #SummerSoiree is chicken. I do love chicken and actually made a new dish yesterday I’ll be sharing soon but today I wanted to bring something out of the archives; this Smoked Chicken with Chipotle, Peach & Bourbon BBQ Sauce is our favorite summer dish and worthy of sharing again.

Four years might not seem like a long time but in blog world it is and many of my readers have never seen this recipe. And you should! The chicken is smoked after being rubbed with spices and it is delicious on it’s own but the thing that makes it? The Sauce.

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As much as I love to barbecue; what I love just as much 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.

Between the spicy rub, the smoking process and the amazing sauce, 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 and the sauce was so loved I was asked if I would please bottle 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 the ease of using a jar of peach preserves can not be underestimated! I first made this dish when I was in a displaced mode, staying with neighbors after my house sold and before my new one was completed.

Considering all the things that I either sold or stored, it says something that I brought my smoker with me. 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?

Smoked Chicken with Chipotle, Peach and Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

I love having a smoker; the ease alone of putting the food in and letting it do it’s magic is nice and nothing can beat the taste of something cooked low and slow with a hint of smoke, especially if that smoked comes from my favorite chips from Jack Daniels himself!

Smoking something small 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! 

The sauce would be equally wonderful as an accompaniment to barbecue chicken; just rub your chicken with the seasoning and wait til it’s almost done to baste it with the sauce; there is a relatively high sugar content in the sauce so too long on the chicken and it will burn.

Served with Cilantro Serrano Mexican Rice (my FAVORITE rice dish EVER!), a simple salad with mixed greens, strawberries, sunflower seeds and a strawberry dressing, this Smoked Chicken with Chipotle, Peach and Bourbon Barbecue Sauce was simple and so good; doggone I’m craving some more now!

We also had a trio of ice creams; our favorite being the Mounds Bar version; so good an entire gallon was consumed by just a handful of guests in one day. The ease of making homemade ice cream with these new-fangled ice cream makers might be my downfall; I have more ideas than I have time to bring them to fruition!

I made this dish again for our recent Memorial Day and served it with tomatoes and these Root Beer Baked Beans and it was just perfect so put them on your list too for your next get together or family dinner.

Might as well round it off with this Caramel Banana Pie with Bourbon. See…there’s your menu for any get together you have planned; hope you’ll try one or all and from me to you? Happy Summer!

More of our Grilled or Smoked Favorites

PIN IT! ‘Smoked Chicken with Chipotle Peach BBQ Sauce’

Smoked Chicken with Chipotle Peach Barbecue Sauce

Creative Culinary
Smoked Chicken is slathered with a sweet and spicy barbecue sauce made with peach preserves, bourbon, and chipotle peppers.
4.87 from 50 or more votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Inactive Time 8 hours
Total Time 11 hours 20 minutes
Course Chicken and Turkey
Servings 10 -12 Servings
Calories 963 kcal


  • 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:

  • 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:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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:

  • Put the chicken legs into a large ziploc bag or bowl.
  • 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.
  • Preheat your smoker and place the seasoned chicken legs on the smoker racks.
  • 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.
  • Put the dish of legs into the smoker for another half hour or until done (should register 175 degrees internally).
  • Serve with additional sauce.


I like to cook dark meat longer than traditional times indicate; I think those extra degrees are what makes it fall off the bone!


Nutrition Facts
Smoked Chicken with Chipotle Peach Barbecue Sauce
Serving Size
1 grams
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
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Summer means easy dishes, cooked out on the grill or something that requires less time inside. Maybe even salads or sandwiches. Nothing fills those needs quite like chicken! This week Food Network‘s Summer Soiree celebrates all things Chicken. Be sure to check out these wonderful recipes from my blogger friends and the Food Network.

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  1. i could just dive into that screen and help myself to one of them there drumsticks, ma’am! Looks delicious!

  2. Who wouldn’t fall in love with the Smoked Chicken with Chipotle, Peach and Bourbon Barbecue Sauce? I’m glad I found a better and understanding recipe thanks to you.

  3. These look absolutely delicious! You have amazing food photography too :] As much as I know my girl’s will love these, I know I will too!

  4. Oh My God, I’ve been looking for this recipe for a long time and look around for a way to make Chicken with Chipotle Peach Barbecue Sauce. I would like to thank for your sharing my family’s favorite dish. On the coming Thanksgiving Day, I will cook this dish so that the whole family can enjoy it. thank you again.

  5. This is great when we can combine everything in one. Some more chili and pepper will be good, by the way? My husband love spicy foods. Thanks.

    1. Certainly add (or subtract) spices for personal taste; recipes are simply a guideline to your creativity and tastes; have fun with them!

  6. i like smoked chicken that why i read this post and i am fully impressed from this post, i see 1st time smoked chicken with chipotle peach bourbon barbecue sauce, i love this combination is too good and amazing

    1. I need to make this and take new photos SO badly but it doesn’t change the fact that is truly was amazing. My neighbors begged me to bottle some for them. They might have been kidding but guess what? I did! 🙂

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    1. You sure could Linda, or grill them. You might want to add a bit of something like Liquid Smoke to your sauce to get that smoky flavor but if it’s not important to you, it’s not necessary. That sauce alone is the best! Enjoy!

  8. I was at a BBQ potluck last weekend, and I was at a loss for what to bring. Luckily, I came across this great recipe just in time and it was a hit! Thanks for sharing, love it 🙂

    1. So glad to hear you loved it too; one of my favorites; I could seriously eat the sauce with a spoon!

  9. Love barbecued stuff. So much flavor, so easy to do. I’ve done a peach BBQ sauce a couple of times (try it with ham–it’s terrific!). This looks really good — thanks.

    1. 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.

  10. 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!

    1. 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?

      1. 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!

        1. 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!

        2. 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. 🙂

        3. 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! 🙂

  11. 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!

    1. 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. 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.

    1. 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!

    1. 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!

  13. 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!

    1. 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. 🙂

  14. Holy smokes, I am seriously Drooling! Yes, capital D! I adore peaches in barbecue sauce and love how you used peach compote. Simply fantastic!

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

    1. 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. 🙂

    1. 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!

  15. 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!

    1. 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? 🙂

  16. 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.

    1. You know I would LOVE that Holly…and if you do well then I will make you some sauce! 🙂

  17. 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!

    1. 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.

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