Grilled chicken drumsticks recipe with Vietnamese-inspired sweet chili bbq sauce! A sweet peach jam marinade with plenty of lime juice and garlic that’s jam-packed with sweet-savory flavor and makes for an excellent glaze. So tender, flavorful, and smoky delicious! Don’t let a summer go-by without these delicious BBQ grilled chicken legs!

Prefer to cook it indoors? Air fryer and Oven instructions included, too!

Photo shows 6 grilled chicken legs drizzled with sauce on a big white oval plate
Juicy, tender, and smoky delicious! 😀

BBQ Grilled Chicken Drumsticks/Legs – Happy Food!

Chicken drumsticks on a grill is just the sort of food that makes everyone happy! Once grilled, the succulent chicken tastes sweet, savory, tart, and smoky.

And that Vietnamese-inspired sweet chili sauce with fresh lime juice has an amazing tenderizing ability which makes the chicken drumsticks fall off the bone tender and super flavorful.

It’s the smell, the caramelized chicken skins, and the shiny sticky glaze…surprisingly easy to make and totally a crowd-pleaser!

Ingredients for grilling chicken drumsticks/legs recipe

  • Chicken drumsticks (or legs)
  • Dry spice seasoning: coarse sea salt, black pepper, garlic powder
  • Vietnamese sweet chili sauce: garlic, lime, fresno or serrano red chili pepper, peach jam or keto honey, fish sauce, toasted sesame oil, cilantro
Photo shows ingredients needed to make this dish

How to Grill The Chicken Drumsticks:

  • Gas grill: Preheat the grill to medium-high heat (about 420°F-450°F). Place the chicken legs on the grill. Flip about every 5 minutes with lid closed until internal temp of 180°F-185°F degrees. About 30-35 minutes.
  • Charcoal grill: Create two zones by pushing your charcoal to one side. This area will be your direct heat grilling zone and the other side will be the indirect heat area. Grilling the chicken drumsticks over the direct heat and using the other side for any flare-ups or for smaller drumsticks that cook faster.
  • Brush with sauce: Once the chicken internal temperature reaches 180°F-185°F degrees. Brush with more Vietnamese sweet bbq chili sauce and continue grilling a few minutes more. Rest for 5-10 minutes and serve!

TIP: Per USDA, the safe minimum cooked chicken temperature should be 165°F (74°C). However, for tender, fall off the bone juicy chicken drumsticks on the grill, you want them to reach 180°F-185°F (82°C-85°C) degrees. Use a meat methometer and don’t guess from the outside.

Cooking Indoors

Bad weather? Don’t have outdoor space for grilling? I got you covered! You can absolutely make this dish indoor!

  • To Air Fry: Preheat the fryer at 400°F (204°C) for 5 minutes. Air fry the chicken legs at 380°F(193°C) for 20-25 minutes. Flip once half-way through.
  • To Bake: Preheat the oven to 425°F (218°C). Place the chicken on a sheet pan lined with parchment. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until they reach an internal temperature of 175ºF, flipping the drumsticks once half-way through.

Tip: You can also use the same sauce – Vietnamese sweet chili sauce – for Vietnamese Air Fried Chicken Wings!

Common FAQ

How long to grill chicken drumsticks

Preheat the grill to 425-450°F degrees on your grill lid thermometer. Place chicken on the grill. Flip about every 5 minutes with lid closed until internal temp of 180°-185°F degrees. About 30-35 minutes.

The internal temperature of the meat is the most important. Use a meat thermometer.

Internal temperature of chicken drumsticks

You need to make sure that the internal temperature reaches 180°-185°F for juicy, tender chicken drumsticks on grill. Use a meat thermometer for this and do not guess.

Can I prepare in advance?

You can make the Vietnamese sweet chili sauce 1-2 days in advance. On the cookout day, you only need to season and marinate the chicken legs for 30-40 minutes. The chili sauce is also served as a dipping sauce on the side.

More Healthy Grilled Recipes

Marinated beef kabobs with broccoli, honey sriracha chicken, Thai chicken satay, Tsukune (Japanese grilled chicken meatballs), Lemon thyme chicken thighs, Vietnamese lemongrass pork, and Chicken yakitori!

Umami Tips/Summaries

  • Use a clean and well-oiled grill.
  • Preheat the grill to 425°F-450°F (218°C-232°C) degrees on your grill lid thermometer.
  • Don’t turn or flip the chicken too early so that each piece gets beautiful grill marks.
  • Keep the lid closed on your grill to keep the temperature so that the chicken cooks evenly.
  • You must use a thermometer to ensure the internal temp reaches 180°F-185°F degrees.
  • Remember size and thickness of the drumsticks matter so when in doubt, go by the internal temperature not the cook time
Photo shows 6 grilled chicken legs drizzled with sauce on a big white oval plate
5 from 9 votes

Grilled Chicken Drumsticks Recipe

Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 35 mins
Marinade time:: 30 mins
Total Time: 1 hr 20 mins
Servings: 6 drumsticks
Author: ChihYu
Grilled chicken drumsticks with sweet chili bbq sauce are jam-packed with flavor. These grilled chicken legs are a must-have for summer grilling!
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Ingredients 

  • 1.5 lb chicken drumsticks, about 6 drumsticks
  • 1-1.5 tsp coarse sea salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder

Vietnamese sweet chili sauce:

  • 1 whole serrano or fresno red chili pepper, or 1-2 Thai chilies
  • 0.1 oz clove garlic, finely minced, about 2 small cloves
  • 2 tbsp lime, or key lime juice
  • 2-2.5 tbsp peach jam, or orange jam, keto honey, regular honey, or maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tsp chopped cilantro, or scallions, plus more for garnish

Instructions 

  • Preheat the grill to 425°F-450°F (218°C-232°C) degrees on your grill lid thermometer.That is medium-high on a standard gas grill. Clean and oil the grates.
  • Use your fingers and carefully create a little space (little pocket) between the meat and the skin. Season the chicken with coarse sea salt, black pepper, and garlic powder on all sides and the inner pockets.
  • Combine the sweet chili sauce and marinate the drumsticks with 6 tbsp sweet chili sauce for 30-40 minutes. I use about 1 tbsp sauce per leg. Save the remainder of the sauce for dipping use.
  • Check grill temp if possible and place chicken on the grill. Flip about every 5 minutes with lid closed until internal temp of 180°F-185°F (82°C-85°C) degrees. About 30-35 minutes.
  • If there are flare-ups, move the chicken away from the direct flames for a few seconds.
  • Once the chicken internal temperature reaches 180°F-185°F (82°C-85°C) degrees. Brush with more sweet bbq chili sauce and continue grilling a few minutes more.
  • Let rest for 5-10 minutes before serving. Serve with the chili dipping sauce on the side.

Notes

  • Use a clean and well-oiled grill.
  • Don’t turn or flip the chicken too early so that each piece gets beautiful grill marks.
  • Keep the lid closed on your grill to keep the temperature so that the chicken cooks evenly.
  • You must use a thermometer to ensure the internal temp reaches 180°F-185°F (82°C-85°C) degrees.
  • Remember size and thickness of the drumsticks matter so when in doubt, go by the internal temperature not the cook time.
  • To Air Fry: Preheat the fryer at 400°F (204°C) for 5 minutes. Air fry the chicken legs at 380°F(193°C) for 20-25 minutes. Flip once half-way through.
  • To Bake: Preheat the oven to 425°F (218°C). Place the chicken on a sheet pan lined with parchment. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until they reach an internal temperature of 175ºF, flipping the drumsticks once half-way through.

Nutrition

Serving: 1drumstick, Calories: 139kcal, Carbohydrates: 4g, Protein: 14g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 70mg, Sodium: 938mg, Potassium: 203mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 41IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 14mg, Iron: 1mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Vietnamese
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Photo shows bbq grilled chicken drumsticks with dipping sauce on the side and extra lime served on a big white oval plate