Honey Garlic Chicken Drumsticks (Barbecue Chicken Drummettes)

Honey Garlic Chicken Drumsticks (Barbecue Chicken Drummettes) Recipe

Chicken drumsticks are great party food. They are easy to make and everyone, including my little munchkin, loves to nibble on them while having a conversation.

This time around, I seasoned the chicken with a dry rub, then grilled the drumsticks on the barbecue and glazed the chicken until fully cooked. I also used both dried and fresh thyme to flavor the chicken. Our garden is over-flowing with lemon thyme, so I used a food dehydrator my father-in-law gave to me as a birthday present and dried several trays. When dried, herbs have a much stronger flavor, and I’ll be able to use the thyme well into November.

The chicken drumsticks were tender and sweet with a crunchy skin. Get grilling, and enjoy some yourself!


Yields: 6 servings

18 chicken drumsticks
6 cloves garlic, finely minced
6 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon papaya paste (see tips)
¼ cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon Kosher salt (or regular salt)
6 tablespoons honey
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground coriander
¼ teaspoon dried mustard
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons dried lemon thyme
8 sprigs fresh lemon thyme, as needed
2 teaspoons black pepper, coarsely ground
1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley, for garnish


Marinating the chicken:

Wash the chicken drumsticks and pat them dry using paper towels. Leave the skin on.

Season the chicken with kosher salt, ground ginger, dried mustard, 1 teaspoon dried lemon thyme, cinnamon and black pepper. Add the 2 cloves of garlic, papaya paste and baking powder. Toss well. Place the chicken in a large bowl or a sealable zip-top bag. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Making the honey garlic marinade:

Heat a small pan over the grill of the barbecue. Add 3 tablespoons olive oil. Once the oil is hot enough, add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the rest of the dried thyme, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, honey and pepper. Bring to a boil and reduce the liquid for about 15 minutes. Set aside.

Grilling the chicken drumsticks:

Remove the chicken 15 minutes before cooking to bring it back to room temperature.  

Place 2 sprigs of thyme at a time on the grill to let it release its nice aroma while grilling the chicken. Replace with other sprigs often, to prevent it from burning.

Brush the hot barbecue grill with oil using a brush. Arrange the chicken drumsticks on the hot grill. Season with a little salt. Make sure the barbecue is well ventilated. Cook for about 2 minutes. Start glazing the chicken with the marinade. Cook until you see nice charred marks. Lift the meat with tongs and flip the drumsticks. Continually baste the drumsticks with the glaze so the chicken is coated and maintains an optimal level of moisture. Turn the chicken several times. The total cooking is about 30-40 minutes.

Take the chicken off the grill. Loosely cover with foil (don't entirely wrap it or the skin won't be crispy). Let it rest for at least 10 minutes.

The chicken should be golden and crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.

Garnish with parsley and serve with roasted potatoes and grilled veggies.

Bon appétit!


I used chicken drumsticks but you could use any other chicken parts. I like the fact that they're all the same size for even cooking.

Papaya and baking powder are both great meat tenderizers. This was Baji, Lulu's late grandma's secret for tender and moist meat. Peel a green papaya. Grind the cubed papaya with seeds in a mini food processor, place about 2 teaspoons of papaya paste per slot in an ice-cube tray and freeze them. Transfer the ice-cubes into sealable plastic bags and place back in the freezer. I think it's the best way to keep the same flavor without getting freezer burn. I store them exactly the same as I would extra pesto.


Published By: Jacqueline Pham on July 28, 2010.


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