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A tray of food on a grill, with Chicken

Barbecued Chicken Drumsticks

This recipe makes the most perfect Barbecued Chicken Drumsticks. These are a staple of our family and the recipe is pulled out for every party, event and even mid week too!
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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Barbecue Drumsticks, Barbecued Chicken Drumsticks, Barbecued Chicken spices, Chicken Drumsticks
Servings: 10 people
Calories: 2605kcal

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  • Barbecue
  • Brine bucket


  • 5 lbs fresh chicken drumsticks skin on
  • 2 quarts cold water
  • 1/2 cup table salt
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon Paprika I used smoked Paprika for this recipe
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper


  • Stir 1/2 cup table salt into 2 quarts cold water and whisk to dissolve. Make sure you really allow the salt to dissolve or this crucial step will be lost. Whisk for several minutes until the water is no longer cloudy from the salt and water runs clear.
  • Submerge the drumsticks into the brine and place the entire bucket into the refrigerator for a max of 30 minutes or the muscle will begin to break down.
    Lid and Bucket
  • Prepare the dry rub by combining all remaining ingredients and whisk them together. Be sure to break up any lumps in the brown sugar as you incorporate. Pour the rub onto a large plate and spread it out.
  • Line a large cookie sheet with aluminium foil for easy transport to the grill.
  • Once brining time is up, remove all of the drumsticks and pat dry. One at a time, coat each drumstick completely, brushing or tapping off any excess. You do not need a ton of rub to effectively do the job in this recipe, as the sugar will melt during the grilling process and act as a sauce that will coat both thickly and nicely.
  • Time to fire up the grill. Light all burners on high and close the lid. Wait 10 minutes before raising your grill lid and turning off at least one of not two of your burners. We are using an off-set heat grilling method.
  • Using tongs and a paper towel, oil all of the grill grates thoroughly with cooking oil. Arrange the drumsticks on the cooler side of the grill. Close the lid and grill for 25 minutes without turning.
  • My grill thermometer reads about 450 for the entire 25 minutes in this step with two burners going, two burners off. After 25 minutes, and using the same cooler side of the grill, turn the drumsticks over. Close the lid and grill for another 20 minutes. Using tongs and making sure grill grates are still oiled, transfer the drumsticks to the hot side of the grill.
  • Do not walk away!
  • These go fast. Turn and grill and slightly char the drumsticks on all sides. Transfer to a platter and tent with aluminium foil for 10 minutes. This grilling step takes on a whole new meaning when using a charcoal grill. Simply follow this same method with lit coals spread over only half of the base of your cooker. The aromas are incredible. Just be sure your coals maintain a consistent temperature throughout the cooking times.
    A pan of food on a grill, with Chicken and Barbecue


Calories: 2605kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 270g | Fat: 143g | Saturated Fat: 37g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1398mg | Sodium: 60057mg | Potassium: 3737mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 36g | Vitamin A: 3750IU | Vitamin C: 19mg | Calcium: 258mg | Iron: 12mg

Please note that the nutrition information provided above is approximate and meant as a guideline only.