Easy BBQ Chicken Drumsticks just in time for the 4th of July! In this super simple recipe, chicken drumsticks simmer in a quick homemade bbq sauce before being transferred to the grill for caramelization and a kiss of char. Serves 10 but could also serve 20 depending on the serving size.

Easy BBQ Chicken Drumsticks on round platter.

All I want is food that is grilled.

Like most, it’s too hot to heat the oven and you can forget about standing over a pot of anything on the stove. Sure, most of have central air but it’s so nice out and I strongly dislike having our air on (didn’t I wait all winter for weather like this?) and would much rather having the windows open so I can hear the birds and smell the fresh cut grass.

With that said, thank heavens someone invented the grill because that is where we do 99.9% of the cooking in the summer months.

Whether having a low-key barbecue or just looking for a delicious uncomplicated weeknight meal, this recipe for bbq chicken drumsticks is ridiculously simple and yields moist and flavorful saucy chicken. It starts with a quick homemade barbecue sauce in which you will brilliantly simmer chicken drumsticks (drumsticks because they are the most fun to eat 😉) until they are fully cooked. Right before serving, the drumsticks take a quick trip to the grill where you will baste them with the reserved barbecue sauce until sticky and caramelized. Have mercy.

Any leftover barbecue sauce and be frozen for later or use throughout the week with grilled chicken, steak or seafood.

Easy BBQ Chicken Drumsticks ingredients

To Make This Easy BBQ Chicken Drumstick Recipe You Will Need:

  • tomato sauce
  • dark brown sugar
  • low-sodium soy sauce
  • apple cider vinegar
  • un-sulphured molasses
  • liquid smoke
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • chili powder
  • chicken drumsticks (skin on and bone in)

quick barbecue sauce

In a large pot measure and add; 2 cups tomato puree, 1 cup dark brown  sugar, 1 cup low-sodium soy sauce, 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons un-sulphured molasses, 2 tablespoons liquid smoke, 1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce and 1 teaspoon chili powder

add drumsticks to sauce.

Bring the sauce to a low boil over medium-high heat. Using tongs, add 3 to 3-1/2 pounds of chicken drumsticks into the sauce.

toss chicken in sauce.

Toss to coat.

cover and cook.

Reduce the heat, cover and simmer over low to medium-low heat for 30 to 35 minutes.

fully cooked chicken in bbq sauce.

Ta-dah! Fully cooked and now ready for the grill!

But first, preheat your grill to 400-425°.

transfer cooked chicken drumsticks to pan with 1 cup of sauce.

Transfer the cooked chicken drumsticks to a rimmed baking sheet along with 1 cup of that barbecue sauce.

Use tongs and a wad of paper towel that has been dipped into olive oil to grease the grill grates.

grill chicken on grates.

Grill the chicken until grill marks form and the chicken can easily be turned.

turn, brush with sauce, repeat.

Brush with the sauce and repeat this until caramelized. 

I cannot stress enough how important it is to grease the grates. Skin will stick, but it will be less if the grates are greased. 

Remove chicken off of grill back to pan.

Once the chicken has been grilled and is saucy, remove the chicken and serve.

close up of Easy BBQ Chicken Drumsticks.

It’s really that easy.

white tables with platter of easy bbq chicken drumsticks

The sauce is SO good! It reminds me of old school Open Pit when I was little. However, it’s been years since I’ve had that sauce but that’s where my tastebuds took me back in time to.

So GOOD. In under an hour you have made deliciously saucy chicken wings that will no doubt have you licking your fingers after!

grabbing a piece of easy bbq chicken drumsticks.

Enjoy! And if you give this Easy BBQ Chicken Drumsticks recipe a try, let me know! Snap a photo and tag me on twitter or instagram!

bite of easy bbq chicken drumsticks

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Yield: 10 servings

Easy BBQ Chicken Drumsticks

These are the easiest BBQ Chicken Drumsticks! Chicken drumsticks simmer in a quick homemade bbq sauce before being transferred to the grill for caramelization and a kiss of char.


  • 2 cups tomato puree
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup low-sodium soy sauce, or low-sodium tamari if gluten free
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon molasses
  • 2 tablespoons liquid smoke
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 3 to 3-1/2 pound bone-in, skin on chicken drumsticks


  • In a large pot or dutch oven, measure and add in the tomato puree, sugar, soy sauce, cider vinegar, molasses, liquid smoke, worcestershire and chili powder.
  • Bring to a low boil, reduce to medium-low and add in the drumsticks.
  • Cover and simmer for 30 minute or until fully cooked.
  • Preheat grill to 400 to 425°. Once preheated, grill the drumstick turning every few minutes when grill marks appear, baste with extra bbq sauce as they grill.
  • Serve hot with extra sauce on the side.


Any leftover barbecue sauce and be frozen for later or used through out the week with grilled chicken, steak or seafood.
Serving: 1g, Calories: 202kcal, Carbohydrates: 27g, Protein: 14g, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 58mg, Sodium: 1007mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 24g