Better BBQ Chicken Legs

BBQ chicken legs
John Liu/Flickr
  • 4 hrs 35 mins
  • Prep: 4 hrs,
  • Cook: 35 mins
  • Yield: 4 servings
Ratings (28)

Remember those chicken drumsticks your Dad used to cook up on Saturday afternoons in the summer? Well, these are an improvement on those. These drumsticks are brined for optimal moisture and tenderness, then slow grilled with a classic BBQ sauce. While this recipe contains instructions for a homemade sauce, if there is a bottled sauce you'd rather use, then, by all means, do so. 

What You'll Need

  • 2 pounds chicken drumsticks
  • For the Brine:
  • 2 quarts water (cold)
  • 1 cup water (hot)
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • For the BBQ Sauce:
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon cayenne

How to Make It

  1. To make brine combine salt, white sugar and hot water in a large plastic or glass container that you can cover. Stir to mix. Add to 2 quarts/1.95 L cold water. Add cayenne. Continue stirring to dissolve. Add chicken drumsticks, cover and refrigerator for 4 hours.
  2. Meanwhile, make barbecue sauce by combining ingredients in a medium saucepan. Simmer over low heat for 15 minutes stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes.
  1. After 4 hours remove chicken legs from brine and discard brine. Rinse chicken thoroughly to remove all traces of the brine from the surface. Pat dry with paper towels. Place drumsticks on preheated grill over a medium low heat (around 275 degrees F/135 degrees C)
  2. Grill for about 30 to 35 minutes turning occasionally. During the last 15 to 20 minutes, start brushing sauce over the surface every 5 minutes until chicken is done (an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees F., 75 degrees C.), and sauce has cooked down to a sticky consistency. Remove from heat, place chicken on a large serving platter and tent loosely with aluminum foil. Let drumsticks rest for 5 to7 minutes. Serve with your favorite potato or pasta salad.