2 Lbs. Chicken drumsticks, bone-in, skin on
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. Granulated Garlic
1 orange cut into wheels or wedges to garnish
Citrus BBQ Sauce
1 Cup Ketchup
1/4 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1/4 Cup Molasses
1 Cup Orange juice
1 Tbsp. Onion powder
3 Garlic cloves, finely minced
1 Tbsp. Maple Syrup
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp. Orange marmalade
1 Tsp. Calabrian chili flakes
1) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Cover a baking sheet with foil. Top with a baking rack and spray it with cooking spray.
3) Place the chicken on the prepared rack. Bake for 40 minutes.
4) Meanwhile, make the citrus BBQ sauce. Add all the ingredients to a large pot. Stir until well incorporated. Heat over a medium-low heat for about 30 minutes until it is thick, rich and the flavors are completely melded together.
5) At 40 minutes, brush the chicken liberally with the citrus BBQ sauce. Let the chicken roast another five minutes and brush one last time. Put under the broiler to get real brown and bubbly and slightly browned in spots.
NOTES: These chicken drumsticks with citrus bbq sauce can be made on the grill but for a quick and easy BBQ dish made right at home, I made them in the oven. These are packed with the delicious barbecue flavors we love but get a real flavor boost from citrus. The use of blood orange olive oil, tangerine balsamic vinegar, orange juice and orange marmalade emphasizes those citrus notes throughout the dish. I love that you can make this in an hour. It just fills the house with BBQ smells. This will make a great back-to-school dinner when the temperatures are still warm and summer still lingers in the air.
To make this a real easy dish to pull together anytime, I make the citrus bbq sauce in advance and keep it in BBQ sauce jars (AKA, mason jars!) This way, I have it ready to go when I want cook chicken drumsticks on the grill, or make these BBQ chicken drumsticks in the oven. This sauce also works great on pork and salmon.
So, to get started on making the citrus barbeque sauce, gather all your ingredients. This is an easy sauce to make since you’ll just be adding all the ingredients to a large pot and letting them cook together for about 1/2 hour to let the flavors melds and the sauce thicken. The only thing you need to prep is the garlic. Just chop up three cloves and make sure they are finely minced. When the sauce has finished cooking, you’ll have about two cups.
If not using right away, pour it into a mason jar and keep in the fridge until ready to use.
I frequently get asked questions about making this sauce and cooking chicken. Here are the most common questions and answers.
Yes. Make sure the sauce cools completely before you freeze it. Put it in an airtight, freezer-safe container with a lid. You could also freeze this is zip-lock bags and just lay them flat. FYI: this is a great space saver. When you are ready to use it, let it thaw overnight in the fridge. Then just reheat on the stove.
My intent when making this sauce was not to make it low sodium. However, if you look at the ingredients, there isn’t a lot of sodium in the ingredients. If you are sensitive to salt, you make want to find a salt free version of ketchup.
The short answer is no. A traditional bbq mop sauce is usually a very thin, vinegar basted sauce used to baste the meat. The purpose of the bbq mop sauce is to add moisture and flavor to the meat while it is grilling. While this sauce is an apple cider bbq sauce with additional tangerine balsamic vinegar added it, it is made thick and rich with the addition of the other ingredients and is considered a finishing sauce.
While the tangerine balsamic vinegar adds another layer of citrus flavor in this sauce, if you don’t have it, substitute regular balsamic vinegar.
When you are ready to make BBQ chicken drumsticks, you just have to decide how you want to prepare them. As noted in this recipe, I made the BBQ chicken drumsticks in the oven on a rack. I bake them at a high temperature without the citrus bbq sauce for the first 4o minutes. This is because there is sugar in the sauce and that can cook faster than the chicken and can burn before the chicken is cooked through. At the 40 minute mark, I’ll baste the chicken drumsticks with the sauce and let bake 5 more minutes. I’ll baste a second time and put them under the broiler to get brown and bubbly. Nothing better than sticky bbq!
However, there are many ways to bbq chicken drumsticks. Besides making these BBQ chicken drumsticks in the oven, you can grill them.
BBQ grilled drumsticks. If you choose this method, here are frequently asked questions and answer on how to do that successfully. When I’m doing a backyard barbeque, I want to be sure my guests get delicious, fully cooked chicken. Here’s what you need to know.
You can place the chicken drumsticks on the grill without the barbeque sauce and grill on each side for 3-5 minutes until really brown and crispy. Be sure you oil the grill’s grates to prevent sticking.
Follow my recipe and toss the drumsticks in the olive oil with seasoning. Once you’ve grilled them on each side for about 5 minutes (as noted above) and they are brown and crispy on the outside, lower the grill to 300 degrees F. , lower the lid creating an oven environment and grill for about 25 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. Use a meat thermometer to check the temperature. They should be between 165 and 175 degrees F to be done. At the 25 minute mark, you are going to brush them with the citrus BBQ sauce. Rotate them several times and continue basting until you have a nice thick, slightly browned coating. About five minutes total.
First, make sure the grates are clean. After you’ve got the grill really hot, scrape off any remaining food and debris from the last barbecue. Then, oil them with a a oil soaked, folded kitchen towel or paper towel. Be sure to use thongs so you don’t burn yourself.
Next, if you are using this recipe, you’ll see that I’ve coated the drumsticks in olive oil which is another layer of protection against sticking.
Play it safe and use a meat thermometer. They aren’t expensive and why ruin a barbecue by guessing? Raw chicken is not a good thing. The drumsticks are fully cooked when you insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the drumstick and it registers 165 degrees F. I’ll often take it to 175 degrees F. as I’m basting. The joy of working with dark meat is that it is reall hard to dry out the meat and the sauce will add even more moisture.
I get this question all the time. Lot’s of my friends only eat white meat and if they do eat dark meat (like our drumsticks), they won’t eat the skin. Honestly, what a shame since it is the best part! BUT, I get it. When I’m watching the waistline carefully, I might pass on the skin too. However, when you are grilling drumsticks, keep the skin on. It protects the meat and keeps it moist. Guests can always remove it after the chicken is cooked. Note, if your guests are going to remove the skin, most of that delicious sauce is going to go with it so be sure to serve extra sauce on the side.
To get started on the chicken drumsticks, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Cover a baking sheet with foil for easy cleanup. Top with a baking rack and spray it well with cooking spray. This will keep the chicken from sticking.
When you are ready to make the drumsticks, add them to a large bowl. Drizzle the the blood orange olive oil and add a good amount of salt, pepper and granulated garlic. Toss to coat all the chicken.
Place the chicken on the prepared rack and bake for about 40 minutes. You always want to check your chicken to be sure they are fully cooked. Use a thermometer. Insert in the thickest part of the drumstick. You are looking for 165 degrees F.
At the 40 minute mark, you want to baste the chicken with the barbeque sauce. Using a pastry brush, brush on one side, then flip the chicken and baste on the other side.
Put the chicken back in the oven for 5 minutes then baste again on both sides.
I usually put these under the broiler for about 1-2 minutes to get really hot and bubbly. The chicken will get dark in spots and that is just fine.
When your drumsticks are cooked through, put them on a platter and garnish with wheels or wedges of orange.
Whether you bake or grill the chicken drumsticks, the sauce is going to make this dish. Be sure to have some great sides with the chicken. My healthy coleslaw or my spicy pineapple and basil coleslaw would be great. You might want to serve this with a fresh lime and blackberry fruit salad too.
Did you enjoy this chicken dish? Be sure to try some of my other favorite chicken dishes.