Skip to Content

Grilled Chicken Drumsticks

Are you looking for a tasty excuse to fire up the grill? Grilled chicken drumsticks are just what you’re looking for! These smoky, well-seasoned chicken legs are a healthy and delicious way to get a meal on the table that everyone will love. And the best part? They’re perfect for meal prep! Pair them with grilled zucchini for a light dinner option that’s perfect for warm summer nights.

A plate full of grilled chicken drumsticks each with a perfect char.

What You Need to Make Grilled Chicken Drumsticks

The ingredients for grilled chicken drumstick.
  • Rub: Fresh garlic, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, seasoning salt, cayenne pepper, salt, dried thyme, and olive oil.
  • Chicken: I use chicken drumsticks for this recipe, but you can try leg quarters, thighs, drumsticks, or a combination of them; be sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly.

Additions and Substitutions

How to Make Grilled Chicken Drumsticks

The full recipe with measurements is in the recipe card below.

Step 1: Combine the ingredients for the chicken rub in a mixing bowl and set it aside.

The spices for the chicken rub on a plate.

Step 2: Use a towel to pat dry the drumsticks, then pour the chicken rub over the top and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate for 6 hours (but at least 30 minutes).

Chicken drumsticks tossed with a homemade spice blend.

Step 3: Preheat the grill by setting all the burners to high heat for about 10 minutes. Then, use a wooden grill scraper to clean the grates.

Line the chicken onto the grill; cook until they blister for about 5 minutes. Flip, and cook the other side for 5 minutes.

Drumsticks on the grill.

Step 4: Lower the heat, but maintain an overall grill temperature of 350°F (176℃). and cook for 20 minutes. Flip the chicken and continue cooking until the chicken has reached over 165°F (73°C), for about 20 minutes.

Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before serving, and enjoy!

Drumsticks on the grill with a slight char.

Expert Tips

For details on how to cook the BEST chicken drumsticks, check out our tips for how to bake chicken legs in the oven.

  • I recommend marinating the grilled chicken drumsticks for 6 hours (but at least 30 minutes) to ensure the flavor penetrates.
  • For best results, bring the chicken to room temperature. Let it sit for 30 minutes before cooking to help the meat cook evenly.
  • I prefer using a reverse sear or indirect method of cooking drumsticks so the inside and outside cook evenly. All you have to do is sear the drumsticks over high heat on the grill to create a seal and lock in all the moisture. Then, lower the heat and continue cooking until the drumsticks reach a safe cooking temperature.
  • Let the drumsticks rest after cooking to allow the juices to redistribute within the meat, resulting in moist and tender chicken.

Searching for More Like This? 

If you love this recipe, try one of these grill favorites!  

A plate full of grilled chicken drumsticks each with a perfect char and a tossed salad in the background.

What to do With the Leftovers

  • Refrigerate – Store the leftovers in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
  • Freeze – Let the chicken cool, then transfer it to a freezer-safe container or bag. Grilled chicken drumsticks freeze for up to 4 months.
  • Thaw – Defrost the chicken in the refrigerator overnight at it.
  • Reheat – Warm defrosted or leftover chicken in the oven at 400°F (204°C) for 15 minutes.
  • Repurpose – Use the leftovers for meal prep or add them to soups, stews, or casseroles for added flavor.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best way to grill drumsticks?

Grilling chicken drumsticks is a mouth-watering way to enjoy the versatile protein. For best results, use a reverse sear or indirect cooking method. Start by preheating your grill to high heat and searing the drumsticks on both sides to achieve a delicious crispy skin. Then, lower the grill’s heat and continue cooking until the internal temperature reaches a safe 165°F (73°C) using a food thermometer.

This way of cooking ensures that your chicken drumsticks cook to perfection, with juicy meat and a flavorful exterior. Plus, it’s an easy way to impress your guests with your grilling skills!

How long do you grill chicken drumsticks?

The cooking time for grilled chicken drumsticks depends on several factors; some things to consider before grilling is the size of the drumsticks you’re using and the overall heat of the grill (every grill is different).

I prefer searing the chicken over high heat to create a flavorful seal before lowering the heat for a longer cooking time of about 40-45 minutes, turning them occasionally for tender, juicy chicken.

However, it’s important to note that the cooking is just an estimate, and the best way to ensure that your chicken is fully cooked and safe to eat is to use a meat thermometer.

Do you leave the lid open or closed when grilling chicken drumsticks?

Ensure that your grilled chicken drumsticks cook evenly by keeping the lid closed as much as possible. Opening the lid too often can cause heat to escape, resulting in uneven cooking and longer grilling times. So, be patient and resist the urge to peek too often!

Should you season chicken legs before grilling?

Yes, get the seasoning on those chicken legs before grilling to enhance the flavor of the meat! You can use a variety of seasonings to add flavor to the chicken, including herbs, spices, marinades, and rubs. If you want to take your seasoning game to the next level, try our rib rub and blackened seasoning, which taste great on chicken. Alternatively, you can also use the marinade for our grilled tandoori chicken.

Basic seasoning before cooking highlights the natural flavors of the chicken and creates a crispy skin when grilled. Whatever seasoning you choose, apply it generously to the chicken legs and let them sit for at least 30 minutes before grilling; this allows the flavors to penetrate the meat, creating a delicious final product.

More Chicken Recipes:

Your Feedback is Valuable

Did you try this recipe? Consider leaving a ⭐️ rating and comment below. And for more healthy international recipes for everyday cooking, sign up to have recipes emailed right to you.

A plate full of grilled chicken drumsticks each with a perfect char.

Grilled Chicken Drumsticks

Tressa Jamil
Juicy and well-seasoned, grilled chicken drumsticks are a healthy, crowd-pleasing dinner option that gives you the perfect excuse to fire up the grill.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Marinating Time 6 hours
Total Time 7 hours 25 minutes
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 6 Servings
Calories 322 kcal
Ingredients
  
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • tablespoons garlic powder
  • tablespoons onion powder
  • tablespoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons seasoning salt
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 8 chicken drumsticks, skin-on
Instructions
 
  • Combine the ingredients for the chicken rub in a mixing bowl and set it aside.
  • Use a towel to pat dry the drumsticks, then pour the chicken rub over the top and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate for 6 hours (but at least 30 minutes).
  • Preheat the grill by setting all the burners to high heat for about 10 minutes. Then, use a wooden grill scraper to clean the grates. Line the chicken onto the grill; cook until they blister for about 5 minutes. Flip, and cook the other side for 5 minutes.
  • Lower the heat, but maintain an overall grill temperature of 350° F (176℃). and cook for 25 minutes. Flip the chicken and continue cooking until the chicken has reached over 165° F (73° C), for about 20 minutes.
  • Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before serving, and enjoy!
Notes
Grilling Tips:
  • I recommend marinating the Grilled Chicken Drumsticks for 6 hours (but at least 30 minutes) to ensure the flavor penetrates.
  • For best results, bring the chicken to room temperature. Let it sit for 30 minutes before cooking to help the meat cook evenly.
  • I prefer using a reverse sear or indirect method of cooking drumsticks so the inside and outside cook evenly. All you have to do is sear the drumsticks over high heat on the grill to create a seal and lock in all the moisture. Then, lower the heat and continue cooking until the drumsticks reach a safe cooking temperature.
  • Let the Grilled Chicken Drumsticks rest after cooking to allow the juices to redistribute within the meat, resulting in moist and tender chicken.
  •  
Nutrition Disclosure:
  • The nutritional information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for professional advice.
Nutrition
Serving: 2 Drumsticks | Calories: 322 kcal | Carbohydrates: 5 g | Protein: 30 g | Fat: 20 g | Saturated Fat: 4 g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5 g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1 g | Cholesterol: 120 mg | Sodium: 651 mg | Potassium: 111 mg | Fiber: 1 g | Vitamin A: 27 IU | Vitamin C: 11 mg | Calcium: 4 mg | Iron: 12 mg
Did you make this recipe? Let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and follow @thejamilghar or tag #thejamilghar on Instagram!
Recipe Rating