Barbecued Chicken Drumsticks

Smoked chicken drumsticks seasoned with a smoky spice blend and slow-cooked on a pellet grill, then brushed with a tangy homemade barbecue sauce and caramelized to perfection.

This barbecued chicken drumsticks recipe features drumsticks seasoned with a smoky spice rub and smoked on a pellet grill until tender. They are then coated with a tangy homemade barbecue sauce made from ketchup, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, honey, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, and spices, and cooked at a higher temperature to achieve a caramelized finish. Perfectly paired with classic barbecue sides, these drumsticks make for a delicious and satisfying meal.

Servings

4-6

Prep Time

15 minutes

Cook Time

2 hours 30 minutes

Total Time

2 hours 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 12-15 chicken drumsticks
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional, for heat)

Homemade Barbecue Sauce:

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional, for heat)

Instructions

Prepare the Chicken: Preheat your pellet grill to 225°F. Pat the chicken drumsticks dry with paper towels. Rub the drumsticks with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper.

Season the Chicken: In a small bowl, mix together the garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, chili powder, ground cumin, and cayenne pepper. Sprinkle the seasoning mix evenly over the drumsticks, rubbing it in to ensure they are well coated.

Make the Barbecue Sauce: In a medium saucepan, combine the ketchup, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, honey, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, salt, and cayenne pepper (if using). Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to low and let the sauce simmer for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it thickens slightly. Remove from heat and set aside.

Cook the Chicken: Place the drumsticks on the pellet grill, spacing them out evenly. Smoke the drumsticks at 225°F for about 1.5 to 2 hours, or until they reach an internal temperature of 165°F. Use a meat thermometer to check the temperature.

Increase the Heat: Once the drumsticks have reached 165°F, increase the grill temperature to 375°F. Brush the drumsticks with the homemade barbecue sauce, coating them generously. Continue to cook for an additional 15-20 minutes, turning and basting with more barbecue sauce every 5 minutes, until the drumsticks reach an internal temperature of 175°F and the sauce has caramelized.

Rest and Serve: Remove the drumsticks from the grill and let them rest for 5-10 minutes before serving. Serve the barbecue chicken drumsticks with additional homemade barbecue sauce on the side, if desired.

Serving Suggestions: Pair the drumsticks with classic barbecue sides such as coleslaw, baked beans, cornbread, or potato salad. Add some grilled vegetables or a fresh green salad for a complete meal.

Preheat your pellet grill to 225°F. Pat the chicken drumsticks dry with paper towels. Rub the drumsticks with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper.

In a small bowl, mix together the garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, chili powder, ground cumin, and cayenne pepper.

Sprinkle the seasoning mix evenly over the drumsticks, rubbing it in to ensure they are well coated.

In a medium saucepan, combine the ketchup, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, honey, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, salt, and cayenne pepper (if using).

Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to low and let the sauce simmer for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it thickens slightly. Remove from heat and set aside.

 Place the drumsticks on the pellet grill, spacing them out evenly.

Smoke the drumsticks at 225°F for about 1.5 to 2 hours, or until they reach an internal temperature of 165°F. Use a meat thermometer to check the temperature.

Once the drumsticks have reached 165°F, increase the grill temperature to 375°F. Brush the drumsticks with the homemade barbecue sauce, coating them generously.

Continue to cook for an additional 15-20 minutes, turning and basting with more barbecue sauce every 5 minutes, until the drumsticks reach an internal temperature of 175°F and the sauce has caramelized.

Remove the drumsticks from the grill and let them rest for 5-10 minutes before serving. Serve the barbecue chicken drumsticks with additional homemade barbecue sauce on the side, if desired.