Drumsticks are a great cut of chicken. My three-year-old son loves them, since they come with “handles” and he gets to eat with his hands. To celebrate these little legs I decided to write up a quick, foolproof recipe for grilling drumsticks.
They are also one of the easiest and most rewarding pieces of chicken to grill, because it’s hard to mess them up. Chicken breasts are great, but they have a very small window of juiciness, and will dry up quicker than a jackrabbit in a thunderstorm. Whole chickens are also fun to grill, but are best when brined, which can take some time and planning. Thighs are another good option, but let’s be honest here – they’re just not as fun as drumsticks.
Gently wash and pat dry the chicken with paper towels. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper, and/or some other seasonings. The picture above has Borsari seasoning on it, which is one of my favorite mild-tasting seasoning rubs.
Preheat your grill on high heat. Place the drumsticks on one side of the grill and replace the cover. After a minute or two, turn off the heat below the chicken; leave the heat on the other side of the grill on high or med/high – you are looking for a grill temperature for 350-400 degrees. Let the chicken cook for 30 minutes and turn them over (also rotate the drumsticks to the opposite end is now facing the hot part of the grill).
If you’re up for it, this would be a good time to brush on a little melted butter/ghee on the drumsticks. It adds an extra layer of richness to the chicken, but it’s not altogether necessary: the chicken’s fat does a great job on its own.
Let it cook for another 15 minutes and then check its temp with a meat thermometer (you’re looking for 165 degrees). If it’s not there yet, just keep checking it every ten minutes.
That’s it! This is also my tried-and-true method for cooking chicken thighs (bone-in) and quarters, although each of them take a little longer to cook through.
As an added bonus, here is some rare live footage of my son Oliver (Homo Oliverus) during feeding time: