Barbecue Chicken Drumsticks

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 3 hr 15 min
  • Active: 30 min
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings
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2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 tablespoon paprika

2 teaspoons ground cumin

4 1/2 pounds small chicken drumsticks (about 18)

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1 cup ketchup

1/3 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

1/4 cup fresh orange juice

2 cloves garlic, grated

2 tablespoons molasses

2 tablespoons hoisin sauce

2 tablespoons yellow mustard

Vegetable oil, for brushing


  1. Make the chicken: Combine the brown sugar, chili powder, paprika and cumin in a small bowl. Season the chicken all over with 1 tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper, then rub all over with the spice mixture. Cover and refrigerate 1 to 2 hours.
  2. Meanwhile, make the barbecue sauce: Whisk the ketchup, vinegar, brown sugar, orange juice, garlic, molasses, hoisin sauce, mustard and chili powder in a small saucepan until smooth. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened, 10 to 15 minutes. (You should have 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups sauce.)
  3. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator 30 minutes before grilling. Preheat a grill to medium and oil the grates. Grill the chicken, covered and turning occasionally, until lightly charred and a thermometer inserted into a drumstick (without touching the bone) registers 170 degrees F, 35 to 45 minutes, brushing with some of the barbecue sauce during the last 10 minutes of cooking. Transfer to a platter and brush with more barbecue sauce. Serve with the remaining sauce.