Grilling meat can seem tricky. Some meat is best grilled over direct heat, while others are better with an indirect heat source. High temperatures are best for steaks and pork chops, while lower temperatures are best for grilling ribs, pork shoulder and chicken wings.
There are even grilling accessories like grill racks, stones, skewers and wood planks, that can simplify the grilling of tender and delicate meat and seafood. Grilling meat properly is not rocket science. All that is required is an understanding of the temperature and method of grilling whatever cut of meat you have. Like anything, practice makes perfect, and after a few attempts, you will find that you are turning into a grilling guru #EATMOREBBQ!!
One meat that can be a challenge is chicken drumsticks. I have eaten far to many dry and burned drumsticks that were grilled at far to high a temperature for way too long. Grilled properly, chicken drumsticks are delicious and tender, with crispy, sticky and saucy skin. Below are some simple suggestions for how to grill chicken drumsticks on a gas grill.
How to Grill the Perfect Chicken Drumsticks
- Keep the grill temperature around 350F. This lower than normal grill temperature is perfect for grilling drumsticks. It allows the meat to be perfectly cooked but does not cause the skin to burn or scorch.
- If desired, toss the chicken with a nice BBQ spice rub before placing on the grill. Here is a recipe for my standard BBQ rub.
- Grill for about 10 minutes on one side, then flip over with tongs. Lift the drumsticks off the grill gently to ensure that the skin is not sticking to the grill grates.
- Keep the lid closed as much as possible. Drumsticks grilled this way are almost roasted, as keeping the lid closed causes the heat to surround the chicken.
- Watch for flare ups. They can be commonplace with drumsticks. If you getting any flare ups, turn down the heat to low and move the chicken away from the flames.
- Cook until the internal temperature of the drumsticks read about 180F. This is higher than the required 165F, but going up to 180F is much better for dark meat. The result is a more tender drumstick where the meat falls off the bone. Also this temperature ensures that the skin is nicely rendered and crispy.
- Do not brush the BBQ sauce on the chicken until the last few minutes. I find that having BBQ sauce on for a lot of the grilling time can increase the chance that the skin burns and goes black.
- Indirect or Direct? These instructions are for direct heat, but it is possible to grill drumsticks over indirect heat. One advantage of this is that you can be sure that there will not be any flare ups. Also, there is a reduced chance that the drumsticks will burn. Personally, I like how the skin renders and gets crispy when grilled over direct heat.
Along with the drumsticks, I grilled up some green and yellow zucchini. I use grill stones which is perfect for grilling up veggies. Seasoned grill stones are totally non stick and provide a flat grilling surface, making sure that the vegetables do not fall through the grate. These summer vegetables were tossed with oil, herbs, salt, pepper and they perfectly complemented the drumsticks.
One of the great things about grilling drumsticks is that even the most modest sized grill can cook many drumsticks at once. These are ideal for grilling parties as it is possible to grill enough at once to feed a big crowd. On top of that, adults and kids alike tend to love grilled drumsticks. Children love eating with their hands and drumsticks, with lots of sweet sauce, are always a hit.
How to Grill Chicken Drumsticks over Direct Heat
- 12 chicken drumsticks
- 1/3 cup Steve's Basic BBQ Rub
- 1 cup BBQ sauce
- Heat the grill to 350F.
- Toss the chicken drumsticks in Steve's Basic BBQ Rub. Place on the grill and cook for 10 minutes. Keep the lid closed as much as possible, but watch for any flare ups. If there is a flare up, turn down the heat and more the chicken away from the flame.
- Use tongs to turn the drumsticks over and cook another 10 minutes.
- Brush with BBQ sauce and flip the drumsticks again. Cook for 5 more minutes, or until the internal temperature of the drumsticks is at least 165F (I prefer chicken drumsticks to have an internal temperature around 180F)
- Remove from the grill and brush one more time with BBQ sauce. Serve.