Grilled Chicken Drumsticks

Tender grilled chicken drumsticks with crispy skin will be a new staple for your summer cook-outs. Make these grilled drumsticks with a homemade bbq rub for a scrumptious, easy dinner.

Grilled drumsticks arranged on a rectangular serving dish garnished with parsley.

Grilled Drumsticks Recipe

Grilling season is in full force here, so I'm creating new recipes non-stop! These bbq chicken drumsticks are my latest success.

People so often just grill chicken thighs and chicken breasts, but they forget about drumsticks! I love grilling chicken drumsticks because they're always so tender and soak up the flavor of any marinade or rub put on them. This is by far one of my favorite recipes to throw on the grill.

Grilling chicken is a great way to quickly get a meal on the table. In the summer, if I'm not making these drumsticks I've got cilantro lime chicken or chicken burgers on the grill.

And if it's not chicken, I'm making hamburgers or turkey burgers. Gotta use those months of grilling season to their full potential!

This recipe makes the perfect chicken drumsticks with simple ingredients that are good for the whole family. Make a tasty dessert like no churn salted caramel ice cream and you've got the perfect summer meal right at your fingertips.

Grilled BBQ chicken on a white platter with a bowl of seasoning, garlic gloves and parsley in the background.

Why You'll Love this Recipe

You are going to love this recipe, for a few reasons:

  • You can slice up the meat from these tender chicken drumsticks and put it on salads! Another great summer meal.
  • This recipe is nice enough to serve for guests and simple enough to have for an easy dinner.
  • If you're into meal prepping, you'll love grilling chicken drumsticks. They store well and are always juicy after being reheated.
A wooden bowl of bbq chicken rub with a metal tablespoon sitting in it.

Ingredients

You only need two simple items to make these crispy chicken legs:

  • chicken drumsticks: If you substitute chicken drumsticks, I recommend using a cut of meat that still has the bone in. Chicken thighs would be a great substitution!
  • BBQ chicken rub: Homemade bbq chicken rub will have the best flavor, and it is incredibly easy to make. However, you can also use a store-bought rub in it's place.
Little mounds of each seasoning for BBQ chicken rub in a wooden bowl.

BBQ Chicken Rub

Make BBQ chicken rub with simple ingredients right from your spice cabinet.

All you need is salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, chipotle powder and brown sugar.

Mix the spices together in a bowl until evenly distributed and well incorporated. Then generously season before grilling chicken drumsticks.

This dry rub is perfect on its own, but drizzling your chicken with a little soy sauce or olive oil can help add more flavor to the chicken.

It's great on these drumsticks, but you can use it on other cuts of chicken like grilled chicken thighs or chicken breasts.

You can also use BBQ rub on pork chops, shrimp and so much more.

How to Make Grilled Drumsticks

Remove chicken drumsticks from the refrigerator and allow to sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes.

Then, preheat your outdoor grill to a medium heat, about 400° Fahrenheit.

Uncooked drumsticks arranged on a plate.

Pat the drumsticks dry with paper towels to remove excess moisture. Then, place them onto a baking sheet or in a large bowl generously season each chicken leg with bbq chicken rub.

Uncooked chicken drumsticks on a plate, sprinkled with BBQ chicken seasoning.

Place seasoned bbq chicken drumsticks onto the direct heat of the preheated grill for about 30 minutes. Turn each drumstick every 8-10 minutes so that they cook evenly.

Seasoned drumsticks on a gas grill.

Cook until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165° Fahrenheit.

Hot Tip: Use an instant read thermometer to get an accurate temperature reading of the internal temp of the grilled chicken.

Once done, remove from the grill and place chicken onto a warm plate. Allow the drumsticks rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Seasoned chicken drumsticks being cooked on a grill.

Serve with your favorite bbq sauce and any tasty side dishes.

What to Serve with Grilled Drumsticks

A cold potato salad with crispy chicken legs is always so tasty. Not a fan of potato salad? Try this corn and tomato salad or avocado tuna salad instead!

Roasted rosemary potatoes and garlic green beans are two fabulous side dish options as well. Or make some grilled zucchini and squash while the grill is fired up.

Still want some more ideas? I have a whole post on side dishes for grilled chicken. Check it out and find a side dish that will work for you!

I love having a good dipping sauce too. Barbecue sauce would of course be great, but homemade buffalo sauce and ranch are great dipping sauces too!

Close up photo of grilled drumsticks arranged on a rectangular serving dish garnished with parsley.

How to Store Leftover Grilled Drumsticks

Store leftover chicken in an airtight container or zip top bag and place in the refrigerator. Refrigerated chicken will last for up to 2-3 days.

To freeze grilled drumsticks, place them in an airtight container or a freezer safe bag. Store in the freezer for up to 2 months. Allow to thaw completely before reheating.

Reheat in the oven or microwave until the chicken reaches a safe internal temperature. Add a little splash of chicken broth or water to whatever pan you use to reheat your chicken. This will help ensure it doesn't dry out and still remains juicy and flavorful!

Tips for Success

  • Before you place drumsticks onto the grill, make sure you've thoroughly cleaned the grill grates. Whether using a charcoal grill or gas grill, the grates should be cleaned well before and after every use.
  • Use an infrared instant-read thermometer to check the temperature of your grill before cooking the chicken.
  • Garnish chicken with fresh parsley for an extra touch of flavor and a pretty presentation!
Close up photo of grilled drumsticks arranged on a rectangular serving dish garnished with parsley.

FAQ

How often do you flip chicken legs on the grill?

To ensure that all sides of the meat cook thoroughly, it is recommended to rotate chicken drumsticks every 8-10 minutes of grilling time. Begin grilling the thickest part of the meat first and rotate from there. Rotating chicken will also help crisp up the skin and make it the perfect crunchy texture!

Do you close the grill to cook chicken?

Closing the grill will trap more heat inside and help cook the chicken more quickly and more evenly. After every rotation, securely close the lid of the grill and don't open it up until you need to rotate the chicken legs again. Make sure you are cooking the chicken over direct heat and not on the cooler side of the grill.

More Summer Favorites

Did you make this recipe?

If you make and love this recipe, please leave a ★★★★★ review below! It means so much to me when you try my recipes, and I'd love to know how it goes. Please leave a comment below if you have any questions.

Grilled drumsticks arranged on a rectangular serving dish garnished with parsley.

Grilled Drumsticks

Juicy BBQ grilled drumsticks are so easy and simple. Make homemade BBQ rub and then grill these chicken legs to perfection.
5 from 51 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Resting Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 8 drumsticks
Author: Madison Wetherill

Ingredients

  • 1.5 to 2 pounds chicken drumsticks about 8 drumsticks
  • ¼ cup BBQ chicken rub

Instructions

  • Remove drumsticks from the refrigerator and let them come closer to room temperature for about 30 minutes before grilling.
  • Preheat grill to medium-high heat, or about 400ºF.
  • Pat chicken drumsticks dry with paper towels.
  • Season drumsticks generously with BBQ chicken rub, about ¼ cup.
  • Grill on direct heat for 30 minutes, turning drumsticks about every 8-10 minutes to cook evenly. Cook until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165ºF.
  • Remove from grill and let drumsticks rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Notes

You can use frozen drumsticks, but be sure they are completely thawed before beginning.

Nutrition

Serving: 1drumstick | Calories: 221kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 148mg | Sodium: 136mg | Sugar: 1g

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