BBQ Chicken Drumsticks cooked in an easy homemade BBQ sauce and then grilled to crispy, smokey perfection! An easy recipe that’s always a crowd pleaser.

Easy chicken recipes are what I serve my family most often. These BBQ Chicken Drumsticks totally fit the bill!  Some of my other favorite easy chicken recipes include Baked Chicken CapreseCashew Chicken Wraps.  I love cooking with chicken because it’s a healthier, lean meat and it’s inexpensive.

BBQ chicken drumsticks stacked into a pile on a white plate.

BBQ Chicken Drumsticks

This chicken drumsticks recipe is one of the first that I shared on my blog many years ago.  It’s my mother’s recipe and something that we ate regularly growing up. It is literally just about the cheapest dinner you can make (I can usually buy a dozen chicken legs for about $4) and everyone always loves it!

This is the perfect meal to serve at a bbq or summer potluck because it’s so inexpensive and bbq chicken goes well with just about any side dish! You can expect everyone to ask for the recipe when you serve these BBQ chicken drumsticks; they are really that good.

How many calories are in chicken drumsticks?

There are roughly 75-80 calories in one raw chicken drumstick. Once they have been soaked  in the homemade BBQ sauce, these BBQ chicken drumsticks are estimated to contain roughly 200 calories a piece.

How to make BBQ Chicken Drumsticks:
  • Make the bbq sauce. Add the tomato sauce, mustard, sugar, vinegar and soy sauce to a large pot over medium-high heat. Bring mixture to a gentle boil.

The ingredients for bbq chicken, including chicken legs, soy sauce, tomato sauce, mustard, sugar and vinegar.

  • Cook drumsticks. Add the chicken legs to the sauce, cover the pot, and cook for about 20-30 minutes or until just cooked through.
  • Grill.  Heat a gas grill on HIGH heat. Cook the drumsticks for a minute or so on each side, rotating them, until the skin is slightly crispy and charred. This also helps give the sauce a caramelized taste and texture.
  • Serve.  Serve with your favorite side dish.

The inside of a pot filled with drumsticks covered in sauce next to a photo of the bbq chicken drumsticks cooking on a grill.

Best Sides for Chicken Drumsticks:

A line of stacked bbq chicken legs on a white platter with cilantro in the background.


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BBQ chicken drumsticks stacked into a pile on a white plate.
Prep 5 minutes
Cook 40 minutes
Total 45 minutes
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  • Add all ingredients (besides the chicken) to a large pot over medium-high heat.
  • Stir well to combine. Bring mixture to a gentle boil, then add the raw chicken drumsticks.
  • Turn heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for about 20-30 minutes or until chicken is just cooked through. Remove chicken to a plate and ladle some of the sauce into a cup.
  • Prepare your grill by oiling it well and bringing it to HIGH heat.
  • Once grill is hot, add chicken drumsticks. (The chicken is cooked at this point, you're just wanting to char the skin a bit). Lather some of the extra BBQ Sauce on the chicken as you grill it, and rotate the chicken drumsticks as each side becomes lightly charred. If your grill is hot enough, this should only take a few minutes!


Calories: 208kcalCarbohydrates: 21gProtein: 15gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 70mgSodium: 980mgPotassium: 337mgFiber: 1gSugar: 19gVitamin A: 190IUVitamin C: 2.5mgCalcium: 23mgIron: 1.3mg

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*I originally shared this recipe May 2014. Updated June 2019.

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About The Author

Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

5 from 44 votes (31 ratings without comment)

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  1. 5 stars
    This is almost exactly what I do with my grilled chicken (and similar to how I do grilled ribs). Cooking the meats first, then browning and caramelizing on the grill. The added bonus is the meat is never dried out.

  2. 5 stars
    Delicious !!! I made this BBQ for my daughter’s birthday dinner but used bone in chicken breasts instead of drumsticks. The whole family loved their BBQ chicken. Thank you for a new favorite recipe.

  3. I’ve scanned thru your recipes & am very impressed. So much so that I have decided to subscribe. Blessings

  4. I’m wanting to make this for a family party cooking up. How could I prep them earlier on the day? Could I cook them on the sauce and then refrigerate? Thanks!

    1. I’d suggest preparing the sauce a day ahead and then cooking them just before eating (I just don’t love reheated chicken). But that would be fine too.

  5. 5 stars
    Great recipe I did mine under the broiler, no BBQ, keep an eye they cook really fast and they were delicious

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