Grilled chicken drumsticks are cooked over indirect heat for the most tender and juicy drumsticks or thighs. Start with a dry rub and add mustard then end with a peach glaze for the most delectable grilled chicken.
Wow your guests with these incredible grilled chicken drumsticks and thighs at your next cookout, the easy chicken marinade makes these a show stopper!
Something about chicken on the grill makes it seem like summer and these amazing drumsticks are going to be the hit of your next cookout. They’re savory from a dry rub and mustard, but slightly sweet from a peach glaze that is brushed on while they cook. This may be the best grilled chicken marinade I’ve tried with just the right amount of sweet and savory.
We seem to ignore drumsticks when making chicken dishes because it’s easy to over cook them. When cooking dark meat, there are a few things you want to do differently then when grilling chicken breasts to make sure they are tender and juicy.
When I’m cooking dark meat, I don’t bother with marinating in buttermilk. The dark meat will not dry out as quickly as the white meat, so it’s not really needed. The best way to get tender dark meat is to cook it slowly, so cook it over indirect heat.
Why you’ll love grilled chicken drumsticks
- Drumsticks and thighs don’t dry out and remain juicy when cooking.
- You can enjoy grilling instead of heating up your oven this summer.
- Chicken drumsticks are affordable.
- This recipe uses peach jam so you can make them anytime of year.
What you’ll need
- Drumsticks – you can also substitute a combo of the drumsticks and thighs.
- Peach jam – you can purchase your favorite brand or make your own jam when peaches are in season, it’s really very easy.
- Molasses/honey – molasses is a byproduct of the sugar cane making process from crushed sugar beets and sugar cane. It adds moisture and color to recipes. You can use either honey or molasses in this recipe
- Soy sauce – a little savory with the sweet.
- Dijon mustard – this is a creamier mustard than yellow mustard and has less vinegar in it. Dijon mustard can be swapped for yellow mustard in a pinch on a 1:1 ratio but dijon is a little tangier and spicier.
- Dark brown sugar – white sugar that has been tinted and flavored with molasses helps add flavor and moisture to recipes and is great in meat marinades.
- Spices – cayenne, paprika, pepper, garlic salt.
How to grill chicken thighs and drumsticks:
Step 1: Combine the dry rub ingredients. Lightly brush each drumstick with mustard and season with the dry rub.
Step 2: Place over indirect heat on a grill and cook for about 40 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 170º.
Step 3: For the glaze, in a blender or food processor combine ingredients and puree. Brush glaze over cooked drumsticks and thighs and place them back on the grill for about 8 minutes.
Pro Tip: You’ll place the drumsticks and thighs over indirect heat and cook them for about 40 minutes until a meat thermometer reads 170º. The glaze is added after they have cooked through.
What to serve with chicken drumsticks:
Serve these with something simple like corn on the cob or its great with Broccoli Salad. For dessert, I love a sheet cake when you’re having a cook out, like Chocolate Cream Cheese Cake or Caramel Heath Bar Cake.
You can use your own peach preserves or cheat and get some from the grocery, I like the Bonne Mamman brand which isn’t quite as sweet as some. Since I live close to the Sandhills where there are tons of peach orchards, I really don’t have an excuse not to have peach jam on hand. If you haven’t tried your hand at making jam, check out my Peach Vanilla Jam with bourbon, it’s pretty yummy.
We had these for lunch on Sunday and Taylor declared that the chicken was so good that we should call it a “luncheon” and not merely lunch. Hard to get all of my crew to agree on something but this one will be added to the short list of favorites.
FAQs and tips
The darker the meat, the more fat there is to protect your meal from drying out. A lean cut of chicken or meat will dry out quickly so a brine or a marinade will help keep it most while cooking. Also, cooking the meat over indirect heat will help cook it slowly and not dry out.
You can substitute thighs for drumsticks easily in this recipe or use both.
Drumsticks need to cook until the juices run clear and the meat is no longer pink. An internal temperature of at least 165°F should be reached with a meat thermometer. Generally that can take between 35-40 minutes when the surface temperature reaches at least 450°F on the grill.
The drumstick is a healthy protein to enjoy in your diet. They are an excellent source of nutrients such as zinc and iron, much more present in the dark meat than a breast or wing piece.
Seasonal peach recipes to try
More recipes for the grill
Grilled Chicken Drumsticks Recipe
- DRY RUB
- 4 teaspoons dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoons garlic salt
- 2 teaspoons pepper
- 1 ½ teaspoons paprika
- ½ teaspoon cayenne
- 12 drumsticks or 4 thighs and 4 drumsticks
- dijon mustard
- PEACH GLAZE
- 1 cup peach preserves
- 4 teaspoons molasses/honey
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- Combine the dry rub ingredients. Lightly brush each drumstick with mustard and season with dry rub. Place over indirect heat of grill and cook for about 40 minutes until internal temperature reaches 170º.
- For the glaze, in a blender or food processor combine ingredients and puree. Brush glaze over cooked drumsticks and place them back on the grill for about 8 minutes
Barbara’s Tips + Notes
- You can use a combination of drumsticks and thighs.
- Use a meat thermometer to make sure the chicken is completely cooked to 170º.
- Put the glaze on at the end so that it doesn’t burn while the chicken is cooking.
- The drumsticks will cook faster than the thighs, so check the temperature for both.