Meaty Tips

How to BBQ Chicken Drumsticks

By , Medium Well

If you learn how to cook chicken drumsticks on the bbq you are part way to being a top bbq host. So many bbq’s we’ve been to don’t know how long to bbq chicken drumsticks for and serve you up burnt to a crisp chicken drummers. It’s a sure fire way to spot a host who isn’t great on the grill. Cooked properly on the bbq, chicken drumsticks are delicious and succulent, with a lovely crisp skin. They lend themselves to any number of spices and sauces, and they are really cost effective and a big hit with old and young alike but more and more of us have stopped getting them for the bbq because of not being sure how to cook them.

The most common mistake is putting the drumsticks on the BBQ when the temperature is too high. If you do this, you’ll burn the skin and probably take them off before they are cooked through, which is a BIG NO NO, unless you are trying to give your guests food poisoning, which hopefully you’re not (if you work in health and safety, or food safety this is a joke btw).

  • Preparation Time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Servings: 5


  • 2kg Chicken Drumsticks (about 16)
  • Chicken Spice rub or sauce

You want to cook the drumsticks on a medium heat, so cook burgers and steaks and things that like high heat first, and ideally you want a temperature around 150℃ if you are using a thermometer or bbq reader.

Add spices, seasoning and sauces either towards the end of cooking for the last 10 minutes or so, or after cooking. If you put the rub/sauce on before cooking, the chances are it will char the sauce not the skin, so you loose the taste.

Put the drumsticks on the BBQ and cook for 30-35 minutes, turning them every 5 minutes using a pair of bbq tongs so they don’t burn. Ideally you want to use a meat thermometer and cook them until the internal temperature is 75℃ in the thickest part of the drummer. If you don’t have a thermometer, insert a skewer into the thickest part and check the juices are running clear.

Take the drumsticks off the BBQ and cover them in your sauce or rub of choice. Let any excess drip off them, and then return them to the bbq and cook over what should now be a low, gentle heat for 10 minutes until they are nice and golden all over.

How to BBQ Chicken Drumsticks

Oven to BBQ method

While cooking everything on the bbq is a lovely idea, the reality of most parties, is that using the oven is sometimes a much better option in terms of getting everything out and serving it at the same time.

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180℃/gas mark 4. Put the chicken drumsticks in a roasting tin and roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes.
  • When cooked, cover them in sauce or rub, and finish them on the bbq for 10-15 minutes, to give them that lovely bbq char and taste.

Butchers Tip - Make a chicken lollipop

A top butchers tip, and a great variation on a chicken drumstick for a bbq party, is to french trim chicken drumsticks, so they become a ‘chicken lollipop’. They are much easier to hold than a standard drummer as there is no sauce or skin around the base of the drum, just the bone, making them much easier to dunk into sauces and dips, and gnaw on.

To make a chicken lollipop you want to trim the skin and fat away from the bone. Using a sharp knife, cut around the drumstick to the bone, just below the main meaty part of the drummer. Be careful not to cut into the bone, and scrape away the skin and cartridge, to leave you with a clean bone end.

Although usually seen on cuts of lamb (legs, racks and shanks), it is not too common on chicken drumsticks, but it’s super easy, and looks much nicer than a regular drumstick, so you’ll earn host bragging rights even before you serve them, and if you cook them to perfection using this cooking-guide), you’re onto a bbq winner.