This Grilled Chicken Lollipops Recipe is about flavor and texture. We’re grilling the chicken and then glazing with a Kansas City style BBQ based sauce with honey and Sriracha. The presentation is elegant and makes a great appetizer course.
Chicken Lollipops are essentially a frenched chicken leg or drumette. Frenching is the term when bones are cleaned off (prior to cooking) and presented in a dish. Most commonly you’ll find this presentation in a rack of lamb. The dish originally was inspired by Indo-Chinese flavors and deep fried. But in our case, it’s grilled and then finished with a sweet and spicy BBQ style sauce.
The Cut – Chicken Drumsticks
We are using a chicken drumstick, or leg. It provides more size and is much easier to cook to the proper temperature than a drumette (which is the smaller part of the wing). But this recipe can also be modified with a drumette or even a thigh. The key is frenching the meat so the bone is exposed using a very sharp boning knife.
How to French a Chicken Drumstick
Using a sharp boning knife, we break down the chicken so we can french it exposing the bone, and then we slice a small piece of the cartilage away so we can stand up the chicken while it grills.
- Start by making a cut around the end of the chicken drumstick in a full circle around the bone. It’s important to cut all the way down and get through cartilage.
- Using a paper towel pull back on the meat and skin on the end of the bone. Pull hard to remove all the skin so only the bone is exposed. Make sure you have plenty of paper towels on hand.
- There is likely cartilage that remains from the joint on the meat end of the drumstick, remove that at an angle so it can stand up.
- Using a boning knife, cut the strings of tendon that are showing from the frenching. And then push the meat down the drumstick and form a rough ball or the lollipop shape.
- The last step is to pull the skin back down and stand up the chicken lollipops.
Seasoning Chicken Lollipops
After frenching and trimming, coat the chicken lollipops with extra virgin olive oil and seasoning.
Use our poultry seasoning or your favorite rub.
Grilling Chicken Lollipops
We are grilling using two-zone cooking, so try to avoid too much sugar in your dry rub to avoid burning the chicken. Grilling is a great way to get crispy skin and still maintain a tender flavor.
- Prepare the grill for two-zone cooking, using lump charcoal targeting 375 degrees Fahrenheit (F) over the direct heat.
- Place the chicken over the direct heat with the meat side down and bone facing up. Grill over the direct heat until the internal temperature reaches 150 – 155 degrees F.
- At this point, dunk the chicken into the glaze and then move to indirect heat to finish cooking. Continue grilling on indirect heat until the internal temperature of the chicken lollipops reaches 170 degrees F. Check out our full article on the perfect chicken temperature.
- Remove from the grill and glaze one more time. Let rest for 10 minutes and serve.
*On our MAK Two-Star general we remove one of the Flamezone plates for direct heat and then we move it to the indirect side with one of the plates still covering the Flamezone. A perfect way to manage the two-zone method.
Should I put foil on the bone? Foil on the bone is meant to prevent scorching. Since we’re grilling with the bone up, there is no need. But if you want a perfectly white or pearly bone (with no char marks), then yes feel free. Remove the foil prior to eating.
Chicken Lollipops Glaze
This glaze is very easy to make by combining and simmering a few ingredients. We are using our Kansas City inspired BBQ sauce and then adding Sriracha and honey. A squeeze of lime at the end adds a nice bite. You can also substitute by using your favorite BBQ sauce, then adding some hot sauce and honey (or brown sugar).
- Combine all the ingredients in a sauce pan.
- Turn up the heat to a small simmer to combine the ingredients for 10 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and then use to glaze the chicken.
Other Grilled Chicken Recipes
- Perfect Grilled Chicken
- Grilled Chicken Thighs
- Citrus Marinated Grilled Chicken Kabobs
- Apricot Glazed Grilled Chicken
- How to Grill and Glaze Chicken
Other Grilled Appetizer Ideas
Mary (a certified sommelier and recipe developer) and Sean (backyard pitmaster) are co-authors of the critically acclaimed cookbook, Fire + Wine, and have been creating content for the IACP nominated website Vindulge since 2009. They live in Oregon on a farm just outside Portland.
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