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Grilled Chicken Drumsticks

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These easy BBQ chicken drumsticks are the perfect summer dinner! Incredibly simple and made with only 4-ingredients! No marinating necessary.

cooked chicken drumsticks brushed with bbq sauce and stacked on a serving plate

Recipe Features

  • Quick and EASY- I kid you not, prep for this recipe is five minutes.
  • Family Friendly Dinner Idea- Everyone loves these grilled drumsticks.
  • Grill AND Smoker Friendly- Instructions for all included below.

Finding the perfect recipe for family cookouts and backyard barbecues is key to those great gatherings. Nothing brings friends and family together like amazing summer weather and good food. kid you not when I say these grilled bbq chicken drumsticks are the juiciest most flavor packed chicken I have ever made. AND It only took me about five minutes to prep these beauties. A basic chicken rub and homemade barbecue sauce is all you need for this simple dinner idea.

homemade bbq sauce

What You Need for Grilled Chicken Drumsticks

You might be surprised to learn you only need FOUR basic ingredients to make your own chicken legs. They all happen to be incredibly cheap as well! I picked up a massive bag of drumsticks at Costco for less than $10 and it’s been enough to feed our family for weeks!

  • Drumsticks- Like mentioned above, drumsticks are relatively cheap compared to breasts. You can find them at most grocers and bulk stores.
  • Oil- We used avocado oil and vegetable oil with great success.
  • Seasoning- Find your favorite chicken seasoning. We really like the Traeger Citrus and Black Pepper Chicken Rub (affiliate).
  • Sauce- If you have never made your own barbecue sauce, I highly suggest you give it a try, or you can use your favorite brand.
seasoned chicken drumstick on a foil lined tray

Step by Step Instructions

Here’s the skinny, we prefer Traeger drumsticks. Or in other words chicken that’s been cooked on a smoker. It consistently gives you a super moist and juicy chicken that is hard to overcook. However, this recipe will work with any grill type AND the oven! Let’s break down the steps.

  1. Trim off any loose skin from the chicken.
  2. Pat the drumsticks dry and rub with oil.
  3. Generously sprinkle with your favorite chicken seasoning.
  4. Let rest at room temperature until the grill is ready.

BBQ Chicken Legs on a Gas Grill

  • Preheat the grill to medium-high heat or start the coals on a charcoal grill.
  • Place the drumsticks on the grill grates. Cook for 18 to 20 minutes, turning every five minutes, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
  • Brush with BBQ sauce and continue to cook until the internal temperature reaches 175 degrees.
  • Let the chicken rest for five minutes before serving.

Smoked Drumsticks

  1. Turn on your smoker and preheat to 275 degrees. Close the lid and let heat for 15 minutes.
  2. Place the drumsticks directly onto the grill grate. Cook for 30 minutes.
  3. Flip and cook 10 more minutes or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
  4. Brush the chicken with BBQ sauce if desired and continue cooking until the internal temperature reaches 175 degrees.
  5. Let rest 5 minutes before serving.
easy grilled chicken legs

Tips and FAQs

  • Patting the chicken dry helps give you that nice crispy skin.
  • The best way to not overcook your chicken is to check it with a meat thermometer.
  • Try different sauces and different rubs to give your chicken a twist in flavor.
  • Serve with a side of bbq sauce!
What temperature to cook chicken legs to:

Cooking your chicken to the right temperature is key to keeping it moist and juicy, but you also want it to be cooked enough to be safe. Cooking chicken to at least an internal temperature of 165 degrees is ideal, however we find that these drumsticks are best when they reach 175 degrees.

Do you put bbq sauce on chicken before grilling?

No. It is not a good idea to add BBQ sauce to chicken prior to grilling. Most sauces have high sugar content which would result in burnt sauce. It is best to wait until further along in the cooking process and to brush the sauce directly onto the chicken.
Waiting until 10 to 15 minutes before your chicken is done is the best time to add the sauce. This gives you a slightly sticky finish and bold BBQ flavor.

How to keep chicken legs from sticking to the grill:

The main key here is to let your chicken come closer to room temperature and to rub them with oil before adding the seasoning. This helps ensure your chicken won’t stick to the grill and lose any goodness.

how to grill chicken legs

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Grilled Chicken Drumsticks

Grilled Chicken Drumsticks

Yield: 5 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Grill Time/ Smoker Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
: 1 hour
Total Time: 2 hours 25 minutes

These easy BBQ chicken drumsticks are the perfect summer dinner! Incredibly simple and made with only 4-ingredients! No marinating necessary.

Ingredients

  • 10 chicken legs (drumsticks)
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 3-4 tablespoons chicken rub or seasoning
  • 1/2 cup BBQ sauce (optional)

Instructions

  1. Trim off any loose skin from the chicken.
  2. Pat the drumsticks dry and rub with oil.
  3. Generously sprinkle with your favorite chicken seasoning.
  4. Let rest at room temperature until the grill is ready.

BBQ Chicken Legs on a Gas Grill

  1. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat or start the coals on a charcoal grill.
  2. Place the drumsticks on the grill grates. Cook for 18 to 20 minutes, turning every five minutes, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
  3. Brush with BBQ sauce and continue to cook until the internal temperature reaches 175 degrees.
  4. Let the chicken rest for five minutes before serving.

Smoked Drumsticks

  1. Turn on your smoker and preheat to 275 degrees. Close the lid and let heat for 15 minutes.
  2. Place the drumsticks directly onto the grill grate. Cook for 30 minutes.
  3. Flip and cook 10 more minutes or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
  4. Brush the chicken with BBQ sauce if desired and continue cooking until the internal temperature reaches 175 degrees.
  5. Let rest 5 minutes before serving.

Notes

  • Patting the chicken dry helps give you that nice crispy skin.
  • The best way to not overcook your chicken is to check it with a meat thermometer.
  • Try different sauces and different rubs to give your chicken a twist in flavor.
  • Serve with a side of bbq sauce!

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These easy BBQ chicken drumsticks are the perfect summer dinner! Incredibly simple and made with only 4-ingredients! No marinating necessary.

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