Smoked BBQ Chicken Drumsticks on your pellet grill. Take the time to impress your guests with these insanely delicious BBQ Chicken Lollipops.
Impress your guests with this easy meal made with fresh drumsticks, barbecue sauce, brown sugar, butter, and bbq dry rub.
With these step-by-step instructions, you will learn the best way to prepare BBQ drumsticks with rich smoky and bbq flavor on your pellet grill!
Looking for more Chicken Recipes? Checkout Smoked Chicken Thighs w/ Blood Orange Glaze, Buffalo Chicken Sloppy Joe’s on Martin’s Potato Rolls, Smoked Honey Old Bay Wings
Chicken Drumsticks Recipe
A family favorite the whole family will enjoy! This simple recipe will teach you how to make smoked chicken legs that are full of a smokey, melt in your mouth, incredible flavor.
These smoked legs can be enjoyed with layers of bbq sauce, seasoning, and more.
Sometimes it can get exhausting having to smoke for so many people or all at once … or is it?
Making simple recipes that are incredible is something I understand quite well, but sometimes those recipes can be time-consuming and exhausting. This recipe however is no-frills, simple, and a method that will help ensure you get juicy meat, crispy skin, and lots of flavor on your smoked chicken legs.
Ingredients needed for BBQ Chicken Legs
Chicken: For this recipe, you will need 3 lbs of chicken drumsticks. 3 pounds is roughly 12 drumsticks. You can find drumsticks at the meat counter of your local grocery store or at your nearest butcher shop.
Seasoning: 2 tbsp of BBQ dry rub.
Candied BBQ Sauce: ¼ cup of light brown sugar, 3 tbsp of butter, and 1 cup of BBQ sauce or my favorite homemade bbq sauce.
For cooking: 1 tsp Avocado oil pan spray; you can also use a spray olive oil.
Optional other seasonings: Looking to season with something a little different? Consider some of the following seasonings like onion powder, black pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, chili powder, garlic salt, or kosher salt.
Pro-Tip: You can make this same recipe using chicken tenderloins or chicken breasts!
How to Make Smoked BBQ Chicken Drumsticks
Prep the grill. Preheat the pellet grill to 350 degrees F.
Make chicken lollipops. Prepare chicken drumsticks to turn them into chicken lollipops following the instructions below in the blog post.
Season the drumsticks. Season generously with a dry rub and let the chicken come up to room temperature while the pellet grill preheats.
Smoke the drumsticks. Smoke your drumsticks for about 90 minutes until they reach an internal temperature of 185 degrees F. While cooking, spray the drumsticks with avocado oil every 30 minutes to help crisp the skin.
Prepare candy sauce. To prepare candy sauce heat butter and light brown sugar in a small saucepan over low heat until melted. Once melted, add bbq sauce. Bring the sauce to just below a simmer then remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
Brush sauce on drumsticks. Once drumsticks are fully cooked brush the drumsticks with candied bbq sauce. Let sauce tack up on the drumsticks for about 10 minutes. Let rest for another 10 minutes before serving.
Serve. Once the 10 minutes have passed and the sauce has stuck to the drumsticks, serve and enjoy!
How to turn BBQ Chicken Drumsticks into Chicken Lollipops
Are you doing this for the gram? maybe? Is this extra work? Most Definitely but it does also make the drumstick eating experience much more enjoyable.
I find that kids love them and I get requests to make these for almost every family cookout.
The first few times you do this you will suck at it and quickly become frustrated but after a few, you’ll get a rhythm and find yourself able to prep a dozen without losing your sanity.
Pat the drumstick dry so it’s easier to handle. You will need a pair of shape kitchen shears and a few extra paper towels.
About one inch from the top of the drumstick insert the bottom blade of the kitchen shears underneath the skin but above the bone as close as possible so you can cut as many of the tendons. Work the shears all the way around the bone so you have completely separated the top half from the bottom.
Push all of the meat down the drumstick to the bottom. There is one pin bone to look out for as you push down. If any tendons are still attached use the shears to cut them.
Using a paper towel to help you grip remove the cartilage and skin from the top of the drumstick exposing the joint.
Press down on the meat to expose the pin bone, then run your finger underneath and separate it from the main bone and remove it. Sometimes it won’t come off easily and I use tweezers or the shears to cut it off. This step is optional especially if only adults are eating but I always remove these if kids are eating because it can be a choking hazard.
Look for any of the white tendons and trim them off. shape the drumstick and remove any pieces that may burn during cooking. Finally, push the skin down so it’s covering as much of the drumstick as possible.
What temperature should I cook dark meat chicken?
I mentioned in my Blood Orange Chicken Thigh recipe that I prefer to cook dark meat poultry to an internal temperature of 185 degrees F.
Even though 160 degrees F. Is a safe temperature for chicken. Because dark meat has a higher fat content it won’t dry out and will be much more tender when cooked to a higher temperature.
Chicken breast should only be cooked to 160 degrees F. because of how lean it is. I also cook chicken wings to around 185 degrees F. For fall off the bone birds.
Candied Barbecue Sauce
To get that glossy shine there are two things that will give you the best results. Butter and sugar. When preparing my sauce I take 4 tablespoons of butter and mix it with about a ¼ cup of brown sugar in a saucepan on low.
Once the brown sugar has dissolved add one cup of your favorite bbq sauce. The goal is to create a sticky-sweet sauce that will coat the lollipops.
Once the chicken is fully cooked I dunk each BBQ chicken drumstick lollipop into the sauce then let it smoke another 10 minutes so the sauce can adhere.
You can brush a second coat if you like them extra saucy.
How to Make BBQ Chicken Lollipops in the Oven
If you don’t have a smoker you can still make these chicken lollipops in the oven. They won’t have that smoky flavor you get from a pellet grill but they’ll still be tasty.
If I’m preparing this recipe in the oven I prefer to cook them using a drumstick holder so the chicken can cook evenly on all sides and not sit on a pan.
If you don’t have a drumstick holder a cooling rack will also work to elevate the chicken lollipops.
Set the oven to 375 degrees F. Oven temperatures vary so bake the drumsticks for about 1 hour until they reach an internal temperature of about 185 degrees F.
Then you can sauce them and bake for about 10 more minutes until the sauce sets up on the chicken.
You can add a few drops of liquid smoke to the bbq sauce to mimic a wood fire flavor as well.
Top 5 Best Dry Rubs for BBQ Chicken Drumsticks
This is in no particular order. I love and use all of these rubs on a regular basis. Calypso Kick and Holly Voodoo are probably the most unique if you’re looking for a change of pace.
Yardbird and Sweet Money are the two that I use when I compete in KCBS competitions.
The Nashville Hot has great flavor and I love it on wings especially. Leave me a comment below and tell me which rub you think Need to checkout!!
- Plowboys Yardbird Rub
- Nashville Hot Chicken-Spiceology
- Meat Church Holly Voodoo BBQ Rub
- Calypso Kick -Caribeque
- Sweet Money Rub-Big Poppa Smokers
More Awesome Chicken Recipes
- Smoked Chicken Thighs w/ Blood Orange Glaze
- Buffalo Chicken Fatty
- Jamaican Jerked Grilled Chicken Wings
- Sriracha and Honey Wing Sauce
- Grilled Turkish Chicken and Grilled Chapati!
- Chesapeake Garlic Parmesan Wings
Candied Chicken Drumstick Lollipops
- Pellet Grill- I used Rec Tec RT-700
- 3 lbs Chicken Drumsticks About 12
- 1 cup BBQ Sauce
- ¼ cup Light Brown Sugar
- 3 tbsp Butter
- 2 tbsp BBQ Dry Rub
- 1 tsp Avocado oil pan spray
- Pre heat pellet grill to 350 degrees F.
- Prepare Chicken Drumsticks following instructions in the blog post. Season generously with dry rub and let chiken come up to room temperature while pellet grill pre heats.
- Smoke Drumsticks for about 90 minutes until they reach an internal temperature of 185 degrees F. Spray drumsticks with avocado oil every 30 minutes to help crisp the skin.
- to prepare candy sauce heat butter and light brown sugar in a small saucepan over low heat until melted then add bbq sauce. bring the sauce to just below a simmer then remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
- Once drumsticks are fully cooked brush the drumsticks with candied bbq sauce. let sauce tack up on the drumsticks for about 10 minutes. Let rest for another 10 minutes befor serving.
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