grilled chicken drumsticks with bourbon


This fruity, boozy take on barbecue has all the characteristics of your favorite sauce—caramel notes, a savory backbone, and a pleasant vinegar tang. Sour cherries are mellowed by the honey in the sauce. If using sweet cherries, start with about half the amount of honey, adjusting with the rice vinegar to taste. Honey will also give the drumsticks a pretty lacquered coat on the grill. You could also use 1 cup unsweetened cherry juice in place of the cherries, water, and sugar, though the sauce may be a bit darker. Drizzle the remaining sauce over the drumsticks for a messy affair, or serve alongside.


5-6 pounds chicken drumsticks fresh

2 tablespoon salt

1 tablespoon black pepper

1 tablespoon granulated garlic

1 tablespoon paprika

1 tablespoon cumin

½ cup bourbon

3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce

2 tablespoons hoison sauce

1-2 tablespoons Sriracha hot sauce

1 teaspoon minced garlic or garlic paste

¼ teaspoon liquid smoke

1 cup sugar free or reduced sugar BBQ sauce

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)


Season chicken with salt, pepper, garlic, paprika and cumin on both sides of the drumstick.

In a medium saucepan, combine bourbon, soy sauce, hoisin, Sriracha and garlic. Cook on high heat for 5 minutes stirring every 30 seconds. Allow the mixture to reduce down slightly. Add BBQ sauce and liquid smoke. Add red pepper flakes if desired. Turn down to medium-low heat and allow to cook for another 2-4 minutes.

Preheat the grill to medium-high heat around 400°.

Add chicken to the grill and cook for 4-5 minutes on one side and then flip the chicken and cook for 4-5 minutes on the other side.

After the first flip°, use a basting brush and brush the chicken with bbq sauce mixture and then flip on its side and cook for another 4-5 minutes. Flip over and cook for another 4-5 minutes. Brush again with sauce.

Turn the heat down to medium heat and let cook for another 10-15 minutes until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 175°-180°. Remove and brush with the rest of the sauce.

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