Southern BBQ Chicken


Marinated chicken legs stay moist and tender as they're grilled slowly over indirect heat. Giving the drumsticks a long rub with seasonings makes them taste great. Always baste at the end of grilling to prevent the legs from burning.

close up view of Southern BBQ Chicken drumsticks on a white platter with white rice
Prep Time:
15 mins
Cook Time:
1 hrs 5 mins
Additional Time:
8 hrs
Total Time:
9 hrs 20 mins


  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

  • 2 large cloves cloves garlic, chopped

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

  • 10 chicken drumsticks

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • ½ cup finely chopped onion

  • ¾ cup ketchup

  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce


  1. Mash brown sugar, garlic, salt, and pepper together in a mortar and pestle to form a paste. Spoon paste into a resealable plastic bag. Add chicken, coat with paste, squeeze out excess air, and seal the bag. Marinate in the refrigerator, 8 hours to overnight.

  2. When ready to cook, heat oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in ketchup, vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a simmer and cook until flavors blend, about 10 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, preheat an outdoor grill for medium heat and lightly oil the grate. Remove chicken from the bag.

  4. Cook chicken on the preheated grill until brown, 3 to 5 minutes, turning once halfway through. Turn off one of the burners and move chicken over indirect heat. Maintain the temperature at 300 to 350 degrees F (150 to 175 degrees C).

  5. Cook chicken for 20 minutes, turning halfway through. Baste with sauce, then continue to cook, basting every 10 minutes, until chicken is no longer pink at the bone and the juices run clear, 20 to 25 more minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted near the bone should read at least 165 degrees F (74 degrees C).


You can use a blender or a food processor in Step 1 instead of a mortar and pestle if desired.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

424 Calories
21g Fat
18g Carbs
39g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 5
Calories 424
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 21g 27%
Saturated Fat 5g 26%
Cholesterol 128mg 43%
Sodium 1528mg 66%
Total Carbohydrate 18g 7%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Total Sugars 15g
Protein 39g
Vitamin C 8mg 42%
Calcium 45mg 3%
Iron 3mg 15%
Potassium 559mg 12%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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