Grilled Chicken Lollipops with Spicy BBQ Glaze

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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.

Grilled Chicken Lollipops on a white plate
This is a great way to present as an appetizer. Learn more about grilled chicken.
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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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. The last step is to pull the skin back down and stand up the chicken lollipops.
Steps for Frenching drumsticks for chicken lollipops.
Steps to frenching chicken drumsticks for 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.

Raw Seasoned Chicken on a Platter
Coat with olive oil and then the 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.

  1. Prepare the grill for two-zone cooking, using lump charcoal targeting 375 degrees Fahrenheit (F) over the direct heat.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.Glazing Chicken Lollipops
  4. 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.

Chicken Drumsticks cooking on the grill
About to move these glazed lollipops to the indirect side.

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).

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a sauce pan.
  2. Turn up the heat to a small simmer to combine the ingredients for 10 minutes.
  3. Turn off the heat and then use to glaze the chicken.
Grilled Chicken Lollipops with BBQ Sauce on a white platter
The glaze will set and tack up as the chicken rests.

Other Grilled Chicken Recipes

Other Grilled Appetizer Ideas

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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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chicken lollipops
4.67 from 3 votes

Grilled Chicken Lollipop Recipe

Frenched chicken drumsticks that are grilled and then finished with a barbecue sauce, honey, and Sriracha glaze. Chicken Lollipops make for a perfect appetizer.
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Resting Time: 10 minutes
Total: 1 hour
Servings: 12 drumsticks

Equipment

  • Sharp Boning Knife
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Ingredients 

Grilled Chicken Lollipops

  • 12 whole chicken drumsticks, (skin on)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup poultry rub

Glaze

  • 1 3/4 cups Kansas City BBQ Sauce
  • 1/4 cup Sriracha, (or your favorite hot sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime, (1/2 a lime)

Instructions 

Glaze

  • Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan over medium heat.
  • Simmer for 10 minutes stirring to incorporate.

Prepare Chicken Lollipops

  • Make 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 cover the lollipop.

Grilling

  • Prepare grill for Two-Zone cooking using lump charcoal. Target 375 degrees over the direct heat.
  • Apply olive oil to the chicken and then liberally season them with the poultry rub.
  • 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 move to indirect heat. Continue grilling on indirect heat until the internal temperature of the chicken lollipops reaches 170 degrees F.
  • Remove from the grill and glaze one more time. Let rest for 10 minutes and serve.

Notes

This is a great article from Thermoworks all about chicken and chicken temperature.

Nutrition

Calories: 120kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 623mg | Potassium: 128mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 153IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 30mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Resting Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Course: Appetizer, Entree
Cuisine: Chicken
Servings: 12 drumsticks
Calories: 120
Keyword: chicken lollipop recipe, chicken lollipops, how to make chicken lollipops
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About Mary


I'm Mary, a wine/food/travel writer, Certified Sommelier, mom of twins, former vegetarian turned BBQ fanatic, runner, founder of Vindulge, and author of Fire + Wine cookbook. Thanks for stopping by!

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3 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Not a fan of chicken legs but this recipe and technique moved them into monthly rotation of meals. Delicious!

  2. 5 stars
    This was excellent. We plan to brine, smoke and then lightly grill a turkey and in process dip it in your great BBQ sauce.