Grilled chicken legs are the perfect quick and easy grill recipe for summer. The sweet and smokey BBQ seasoning rub is zesty and pairs wonderfully with a crisp green salad, refreshing cool drink, or light summer dessert. This is a dish the whole family will love that you’ll want to make over and over again.
How To Make Grilled Chicken Legs
This is a brief description on how to make this chicken legs recipe. See the recipe card below for the full instructions.
- Chicken legs – Always choose fresh chicken legs that have been properly stored and handled. Check the sell-by date on the packaging and make sure it hasn’t expired. If you’re buying chicken legs from a butcher, make sure they look and smell fresh.
- BBQ seasoning – This spice rub is all basic pantry ingredients and it includes smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, brown sugar, chili powder, ground mustard, kosher salt, and black pepper.
Ps: don’t forget to add brown sugar because it not only adds sweetness but also aids in caramelizing and crisping the skin.
- Preheat the grill to a higher temperature.
- Oil the grill grates so the chicken won’t stick.
- Pat dry the chicken legs (chicken drumsticks) with paper towels.
- Add all the spices in a small bowl and mix all together. Then, toss the legs in the spice mix to coat evenly.
- Place chicken legs on the grill over direct heat. Grill the chicken on each side for 5-7 minutes until it’s cooked through to 165 degrees and the chicken skin is golden brown and crispy.
- When it comes to grilling chicken legs, choosing the right ones is essential to ensure a delicious and satisfying meal. Here are a few things to keep in mind when selecting chicken legs to grill:
- Choose chicken legs of similar size to ensure they cook evenly. This will prevent some chicken legs from being overcooked while others are undercooked.
- Opt for skin-on chicken legs which tend to be juicier and more flavorful than skinless chicken legs. The skin helps to keep the meat moist and adds a crispy texture to the outside of the chicken legs when grilled.
- Before buying chicken legs, check for any signs of discoloration or bruising. These can be signs of spoilage or mishandling and can affect the flavor and texture of the chicken legs when grilled.
- Marinating is a great way to infuse flavor into your chicken legs. Prepare a chicken marinade by mixing together your desired ingredients such as olive oil, vinegar, spices, and herbs. Place your chicken legs in a large ziplock bag and pour the marinade over them. Seal the bag and refrigerate for at least two hours, or overnight for best results. Some popular marinade ingredients include soy sauce, honey, lemon juice, garlic, and ginger. You can experiment with different combinations of ingredients to find your favorite flavor.
- Seasoning your chicken legs is another way to add flavor to your meat. You can use a dry rub or a wet rub to season your chicken legs. A dry rub is a mixture of dry ingredients such as salt, pepper, paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. A wet rub is a mixture of wet ingredients such as oil, vinegar, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce. To apply the seasoning, rub it onto the chicken legs, making sure to coat them evenly. You can also use a basting brush to apply a wet rub.
- To get a nice char on your chicken legs, you can brush them with a little oil or barbecue sauce (bbq sauce) during the last few minutes of cooking. Let the chicken legs rest for a few minutes before serving.
Once you’ve grilled your chicken legs to perfection, you may be wondering how to store and reheat them. Here are some tips to ensure your leftovers taste just as delicious as the day you made them.
Refrigerate: Leftover grilled chicken legs can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Before storing, make sure the chicken has cooled down to room temperature. If you’re storing multiple chicken legs, you may want to separate them with parchment paper to prevent them from sticking together.
Reheat: There are a few ways to reheat this chicken drumsticks recipe. You can use a baking sheet in the oven, a microwave, or an air fryer.
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Freeze: To save these bbq chicken drumsticks in the freezer, wrap them in plastic wrap and put them in a freezer bag. Store them for up to three months in the freezer.
What To Serve With Grilled Chicken Legs
- Grilled veggies are a classic side dish for grilled meats. Try grilling up some corn on the cob, bell peppers, zucchini, and eggplant for a colorful and flavorful addition to your meal.
- A classic summer side dish like potato salad pairs well with grilled chicken.
- Leafy green salad is a simple and delicious side dish that’s always a hit like this arugula salad or sweet potato arugula salad.
- A light and refreshing dessert like yogurt parfait or strawberry shortcake are the perfect options.
Grill: For juicy chicken thighs, cook them on medium-high heat on an electric, gas, or charcoal grill.
Tongs for Grilling: These are perfect for flipping the thigh meat on the grill without getting your hand too close to the heat.
Bowl: Using a bowl is the best way to toss the thighs in a seasoning mix.
Frequently Asked Questions
To avoid dry grilled drumsticks, try marinating the chicken legs for at least an hour before grilling. This will help keep the meat moist and tender. Another tip is to cook the chicken legs over indirect heat. This will help the chicken cook more evenly and prevent it from drying out.
The cooking time for chicken drumsticks on a gas grill can vary depending on the size of the drumsticks and the heat of the grill. As a general rule, you should grill chicken drumsticks for about 20-25 minutes, flipping them every 5 minutes to ensure even cooking. Use a meat thermometer to check ensure it reaches a safe internal temperature.
Cooking BBQ chicken legs with indirect heat on the grill is a great way to ensure even cooking and get nice crispy skin. To do this, preheat your grill to medium-high heat. Place the chicken legs away from the heat source and cook for 30-40 minutes, flipping them every 10 minutes. Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the chicken. Once it reaches 165°- 175°F, it’s safe to eat.
- First, clean the grill and oil it to make it nonstick.
- Pre-heat grill to medium-high heat. The temperature should be around 400 – 425°F.
- While the grill preheats, pat dry the chicken legs (chicken drumsticks) with paper towels.
- In a large bowl, add chicken legs, olive oil and all the rest of the ingredients mentioned on the ingredient list above. Toss until coated. Cover and set aside.
- Once grill is preheated, arrange the chicken drumsticks/legs directly on the grill, spacing out. Close the lid and grill for about 25 minutes, flipping every 5 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 170-175°F.
- Remove from the grill, place them on a serving tray, cover lightly with foil, and allow them to rest for 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
- Remember to always pat dry the chicken drumsticks before use, to eliminate any excess moisture. This ensures that the olive oil and seasoning adhere better to the chicken, and also prevents the risk of steaming the chicken during cooking.
- If you are uncertain about whether the chicken is cooked through, employ an instant-read meat thermometer and insert it into the thickest part of the chicken drumsticks. The temperature should register at least 165ºF..
- To store: Put leftover chicken drumsticks into an airtight glass container and keep them in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
- To reheat: Rewarm leftover chicken legs in the microwave, oven or air fryer.
- To freeze: Freeze cooked chicken legs in a freezer-safe bag once the grilled chicken have reached room temperature. Freeze for up to 3 months.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.