Prepare a delightful summer dinner with Grilled Drumsticks, an effortless recipe. Begin by marinating them in a flavorful mixture, and then grill for the juiciest, crispiest chicken legs you’ve ever tasted.
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Grilled chicken recipes become the go-to summer dinner option when you’re seeking a crowd-pleasing main course without the need to raise the kitchen’s temperature. This grilled chicken is likely to become your all-time favorite because the marinade works its magic to render the meat exceptionally tender, while the grill imparts a delightful crispness to the chicken skin, along with a smoky char. Not to mention, they’re not only delicious but also budget-friendly, making them perfect for a quick and satisfying dinner that won’t break the bank.
While this recipe is straightforward to prepare, it does require a bit of advance planning before dinnertime. To achieve chicken that’s so juicy it practically falls off the bone, the drumsticks are immersed in a marinade infused with the flavors of garlic and lemon, created from readily available ingredients. It’s essential to marinate the chicken for a minimum of 6 hours, allowing the lemon juice ample time to tenderize the meat. You can either whip up the marinade early in the morning or the night before, so when it’s time to dine, all that’s left to do is fire up the grill and cook to perfection.
Pair these delicious chicken legs with your preferred summer side dishes, such as Coleslaw and Grilled Corn, for a perfect combination. They boast a delightful flavor profile enhanced by the zesty notes of lemon, the richness of olive oil, and the tantalizing spice blend. Additionally, the smoky char from grilling elevates their taste to another level of deliciousness. If you’re looking to intensify the flavor even further, consider serving them with BBQ Sauce for dipping or brushing the chicken with sauce during the final few minutes of cooking.
How to Make Grilled Drumsticks
- Combine olive oil, lemon juice, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and black pepper in a bowl.
- Whisk the marinade until it’s well combined.
- Place the chicken drumsticks in a large shallow dish.
- Pour 1/2 cup of the marinade over the chicken and turn to coat.
- Pour the remaining marinade over the top.
- Cover the dish and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight, to allow the flavors to infuse the chicken.
Preheat the Grill:
- Preheat your grill to medium-high heat.
- Ensure the grates are clean and lightly oiled to prevent sticking.
Grilling the Chicken:
- Once the grill is hot, place the chicken drumsticks over direct heat on the grill grate.
- Close the grill lid and cook for about 15 minutes.
Flipping and Continued Cooking:
- Flip the chicken drumsticks and continue to grill them uncovered for another 15-20 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 170 degrees Fahrenheit. Check the temperature at the thickest part of a drumstick.
- For extra flavor, you can baste the chicken with the remaining marinade every few minutes while it cooks.
- Remove the grilled lemon pepper chicken drumsticks from the grill and let them rest for a few minutes before serving.
- Enjoy your meal!
- Olive Oil: Olive oil is used to infuse the chicken with extra moisture and fat so that it doesn’t dry out as it’s grilling. It also gives it more flavor, and the high smoke point allows the skin to get extra crispy without burning. Use a good quality extra virgin olive oil for the best-tasting chicken.
- Lemon: Fresh lemon juice not only gives this chicken a lot of flavor but also serves as an acid that helps break down the tough proteins in the meat. This not only tenderizes the chicken but also allows the other spices and oil to soak in and flavor the meat.
- Spices: Tasty spices like garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper are whisked into the marinade to add more flavor to the dish. It’s a simple spice mix that does an excellent job seasoning the meat without overpowering it.
- Chicken Drumsticks: Chicken drumsticks are the star of the recipe. They come from the lower part of chicken legs. Soaking them in the marinade ensures that the meat stays tender on the inside while the oil helps seal in the juices, creating crispy skin when grilled.
Can you prepare grilled drumsticks in advance?
Absolutely, you can prepare this Grilled Drumsticks recipe in advance, and it’s advisable to plan at least one day ahead to allow for proper marination. The raw chicken can marinate for up to 48 hours, although it’s most effective within the initial 6 to 24 hours. You can also prepare the marinade up to a week ahead, and if you need more, you can double the quantity for other recipes. Just remember to store any leftover marinade separately, and do not reuse or keep any marinade that has come into contact with raw chicken.
Variations in Grilled Drumsticks
- Honey BBQ: To achieve a delightful blend of sweet and savory flavors, consider marinating the grilled chicken in honey BBQ sauce. Simply combine ½ cup BBQ sauce, ½ cup honey, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 tablespoon hot sauce, and 3 cloves of minced garlic.
- Citrus: For an extra zesty twist, use a basting brush to apply fresh lemon juice to the drumsticks as they cook. You can also experiment with different citrus flavors by substituting the lemon juice with lime juice, orange juice, or even grapefruit juice.
- Spicy: If you’re a fan of spicy flavors, enhance your grilled chicken by adding red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, or a dash of hot sauce to the marinade mixture.
- Italian: Create a delightful Italian-inspired chicken seasoning by replacing the spices and oil with Pesto Sauce. Alternatively, you can finely chop fresh herbs like parsley, basil, or thyme for a burst of herbal goodness.
- Southwest: Transport your taste buds to the southwest with Mexican-inspired drumsticks. Swap out the spices for Taco Seasoning and replace the lemon juice with lime juice. These chicken drumsticks would pair wonderfully with Spanish Rice, salsa, and warm tortillas!
Grilled Drumsticks Ingredients
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/3 cup lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
- 8 chicken drumsticks
How To Make Grilled Drumsticks
- In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, lemon juice, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and black pepper until well combined.
- Pour ½ cup of the marinade into a large shallow dish.
- Add the chicken to the dish and turn it to ensure it’s evenly coated with the marinade.
- Cover the dish and the remaining marinade, then refrigerate the chicken overnight.
- Preheat your grill to medium-high heat.
- Remove the chicken from the marinade and discard the marinade in the dish.
- Place the chicken on the grill rack, cover, and grill for approximately 15 minutes.
- Flip the chicken and continue grilling until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part reads 170 degrees Fahrenheit, which will take about 15-20 minutes longer. You can baste the chicken occasionally with the reserved marinade for extra flavor.
Calories: 244kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 13g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 70mg | Sodium: 225mg | Potassium: 187mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 36IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 1mg