These grilled BBQ chicken drumsticks are out of this world! They’re easy to make and jam packed with bbq flavor, plus super juicy and perfectly sticky. Make them on a busy weeknight or for your next backyard bbq or cookout. And guess what? They’re Whole30 compatible and Keto friendly!
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👨🍳 Why we love this recipe
So when I got my Porter Road delivery today, naturally, I just had to make these bbq grilled chicken drumsticks next. They’re kind of a summer classic, because you can eat them with your hands (perfect for casual get-togethers!) and everybody just loves them.
In this recipe, the drumsticks (also known as chicken legs) are generously seasoned with an awesome sugar-free bbq seasoning blend, then grilled to crispy, juicy perfection.
Last, they’re brushed with bbq so they get that beautiful, sticky, glazed deliciousness. It truly doesn’t get better than this!
Now keep in mind there are some important tips & tricks when you learn how to cook chicken drumsticks on the grill. I’ll walk you through it all, but if you’d rather cook your chicken in the oven or air fryer, I’ve got you! Just see the adaptations below.
🍖 Ingredients list
- Chicken Drumsticks
- Olive Oil
- BBQ Sauce. Make your own homemade bbq sauce, or any store-bought Whole30 compatible BBQ Sauce. To keep this recipe Keto/Low Carb, choose a sugar free BBQ sauce.
- BBQ Spice Blend: Smoked paprika, onion powder, chili powder, salt, pepper, onion powder and cayenne pepper (optional).
🔥 Step by step instructions
Prep the Chicken
Add the smoked paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder, salt, and pepper to a small dish and mix them together with a spoon. Depending on how spicy you like your food, you can also add a little cayenne pepper to the mix.
When you open a package of chicken, it’ll probably be a little (or a lot) juicy. Take a few paper towels or napkins and pat every piece of chicken until they’re dry on all sides.
Next, drizzle the chicken with the oil and the spice blend. Mix it up well until all sides of the chicken are evenly coated. I use my hands, and yes, it gets a little messy.
Alternately, you can add the chicken, oil, and seasonings to a zip top bag and mix it well. This will coat the chicken without getting your hands dirty.
👉 You can do this up to 18 hours in advance! Just cover and keep refrigerated until you’re ready to cook.
Cook the Chicken
Gas Grill: Preheat your grill to medium-high heat (about 400°F). Add the chicken drumsticks and cook for about five minutes per side, until the skin is browned and crispy on all sides. Lower the heat to about 300°F, and close the grill. Cook for about 25 minutes, turning once halfway through.
Cooking on a Charcoal Grill: Create two zones by preparing the charcoal on one side of the grill only. Start by cooking the chicken directly on top of the heat source, then once the chicken is browned on all sides, move the pieces away from the heat source to finish cooking.
Last, brush each piece of chicken with sauce. Check the internal temperature to ensure the chicken is cooked through, then transfer the chicken to a plate or platter and serve!
👉 Remember! Always cook chicken to 165°F (~74°C), per USDA. Use a meat thermometer to test the internal temperature at the thickest part of the meat, without touching the thermometer to the bone.
Weather not cooperating? Out of propane? Or would you just prefer to cook inside? I’ve got you covered with these easy method adaptations!
Air Fryer Adaptation: Preheat your air fryer to 400°F. Lightly spray the air fryer basket with oil, then set the chicken drumsticks inside, with a little space between each one. Depending on the size of your basket, you may need to cook it in two or three batches. Cook for 18-22 minutes, turning once halfway through. Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature has reached at least 165°F (~74°C), per USDA.
Oven Adaptation: Preheat your oven to 400°F (~204°C). Set the chicken on a parchment or foil lined baking sheet. Cook 40-45 minutes, turning halfway through. Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature has reached 165°F (~74°C), per USDA.
📝 Tips & FAQ
Absolutely! You can prep the chicken the night before, then keep it covered in the refrigerator until you’re ready to cook. https://amzn.to/3udOtPI
1. Make sure you use a clean, well-oiled grill.
2. Don’t try to force the chicken to turn too early. Each piece should easily release from the grill once it’s ready to be turned.
3. Don’t press down the chicken with your grilling tools. It doesn’t make the meat cook any faster, and it will press out some of the moisture.
Alright, time to fire up the grill and get cooking! If you make this recipe, I’d love to hear about it! Drop a star rating below, or tag me on Instagram @cookathomemom.
Grilled BBQ Chicken Drumsticks
- 2 lb. chicken drumsticks (legs)
- 1/2 cup bbq sauce choose a bbq sauce that aligns with your dietary restrictions.
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
BBQ Spice Blend
- 3/4 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
- Make the bbq seasoning spice blend by measuring out the salt, pepper, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, and cayenne powder (if using), and adding each to a small dish. Stir with a spoon.
- Pat each chicken drumstick with a few paper towels to fully dry the skin. Drizzle the chicken with oil and season with the spice blend. Mix well to coat each piece of chicken thoroughly.
- Gas grill: Preheat your grill to medium-high heat (about 400°F). Add the chicken drumsticks to clean, well-oiled grates, and cook. Turn each piece after a few minutes, until the skin is browned and crispy on all sides. Lower the heat to medium low (about 300°F), and close the grill. Cook for about 25 minutes, stopping halfway through to turn the chicken once.Charcoal grill: Create two heat zones (one with medium high heat and one with medium-low heat) by moving most of the charcoal to one side of the grill. Begin by placing the pieces of chicken directly over the heat source, turning every few minutes as the skin browns. Once the skin is browned and crispy, move the chicken away from the heat source, to the indirect (medium-low) heat zone. Cover and cook for about 25 more minutes, stopping halfway through to turn the chicken.
- Last, brush each piece of chicken with the bbq sauce. Check the internal temperature to ensure the chicken is cooked to 165°F (~74°C), then serve immediately!