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How Long Should BBQ Chicken Drumsticks Be Cooked?

A Brief Introduction to BBQ Chicken Drumsticks

BBQ chicken drumsticks are a popular dish enjoyed by many, especially during summer barbecues and outdoor gatherings. Their juicy meat, smoky flavor, and crispy skin make them a favorite among both children and adults. However, cooking chicken drumsticks on the barbecue can be a bit tricky, as it requires the right amount of time to ensure they are cooked thoroughly while remaining tender and flavorful.

The Importance of Proper Cooking Time

Cooking chicken thoroughly is essential to avoid any potential risks associated with undercooked poultry. Chicken drumsticks, being one of the tougher parts of the chicken, require sufficient cooking time to break down the connective tissues and render the meat tender and safe to eat. It is crucial to find the right balance between cooking long enough to ensure safety and not overcooking, which could result in dry and tough meat.

Recommended Cooking Times

The cooking time for BBQ chicken drumsticks primarily depends on the cooking method, heat intensity, and the size of the drumsticks themselves. As a general guideline, drumsticks should be grilled or barbecued for approximately 30-40 minutes at a medium to high heat setting. However, since individual grills may vary in temperature, it is always advisable to use a meat thermometer to ensure the chicken has reached the appropriate internal temperature.

Checking the Internal Temperature

To determine whether your BBQ chicken drumsticks are cooked to perfection, it is recommended to measure their internal temperature using a meat thermometer. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) in the UK recommends cooking chicken drumsticks until the internal temperature reaches at least 75°C (165°F). Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the drumstick without touching the bone. If the temperature reading is below this threshold, continue cooking until it reaches the desired level of doneness.

Tips for Tender and Juicy Drumsticks

To ensure your BBQ chicken drumsticks turn out tender and juicy, here are a few additional tips:

  1. Marinate: Marinating the drumsticks before grilling can help to infuse them with flavor and make the meat more tender. You can use a mixture of your favorite spices, herbs, oil, and acid (such as lemon juice or vinegar) to create a delicious marinade.
  2. Precook: Precooking the drumsticks in boiling water or in the oven for a short period before grilling can help reduce the cooking time on the barbecue. This method ensures that the chicken is cooked through without overexposing it to high heat and risking dryness.
  3. Basting: Basting the drumsticks with a flavorful sauce or marinade while they cook can help to keep them moist and add an extra layer of flavor. Brush the sauce onto the drumsticks during the last few minutes of cooking, allowing it to caramelize on the surface.

The Art of BBQ Chicken Drumsticks

Cooking BBQ chicken drumsticks is not only about following a set cooking time but also about mastering the art of grilling. Each grill and cooking setup is unique, and factors such as the type of grill, charcoal, gas, or wood, can influence the cooking process. Experienced grillmasters know that practice and experimentation are key to achieving perfectly cooked drumsticks every time.

“Grilling chicken drumsticks requires attention and precision. Practice and experimentation with various cooking times and methods will help you master the art of achieving juicy and flavorful drumsticks on the barbecue.”
– Chef John Smith, BBQ Expert


In conclusion, cooking BBQ chicken drumsticks to perfection involves finding the right balance between ensuring the meat is cooked thoroughly while keeping it tender and juicy. The recommended cooking time for medium-sized drumsticks is around 30-40 minutes at a medium to high heat setting. However, it is crucial to check the internal temperature using a meat thermometer to ensure the chicken has reached at least 75°C (165°F). Remember to experiment with marinades, precooking methods, and basting techniques to enhance the flavor and texture of your BBQ chicken drumsticks. With a little practice and patience, you will soon become a grillmaster, delighting family and friends with your delicious creations!