Quick and simple, BBQ Grilled Chicken Legs are never out of reach with a few simple tips and tricks for perfectly cooked chicken every single time. Great for summer cookouts and easy entertaining.

Grilled Chicken drumsticks on a white platter.

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Whenever we entertain, I like to have a variety of easy recipes to pull from that will please a crowd. But, I also don’t want to break the bank so chicken is, often, on the menu when we have a big bbq because it’s relatively inexpensive. And almost all our friends love BBQ Chicken.

And BBQ Chicken Drumsticks are super easy to make….and they can be served hot or warm so they’re perfect for picnics.

BBQ Chicken Drumsticks

These easy BBQ Grilled Chicken Legs are one of our favorite summer dinners since they’re quick and easy. And we definitely don’t save them for parties….I make them at least once a week once the weather is warm enough to fire up the grill!

The versatility of this Grilled Chicken Leg recipe make it easy to suit your own flavor preferences by using a BBQ Rub and Sauce that you know and love. I like to use this homemade bbq rub to get things started and then I baste with my favorite BBQ sauce to finish it off.

BBQ Chicken drumsticks on a grill.

How To Grill Chicken Legs

These chicken drumsticks are super simple to make and they’ll be ready in less than an hour. You can coat your chicken legs with the rub up to 24 hours in advance but I’ve also had great results by adding the rub right before grilling.

Season your chicken legs on all sides with the rub and allow to rest for 30 minutes or up to overnight. (If allowing to marinade overnight, place on a baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Store in the refrigerator until 1 hour before grilling.)

Preheat the grill to 350˚F – 400˚F.

Grill over direct heat for 30 minutes, turning every 5-6 minutes until the temperature on an instant read thermometer reaches 165˚F. You’ll want to hang around the grill to manage flare ups as the fat renders and drips on the flames.

Turn the heat down and baste the chicken legs with barbecue sauce.

Cook the chicken legs for 10 more minutes to allow the sauce to set, caramelize and become sticky. 

Transfer the chicken legs to a platter, cover with foil and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes.

BBQ Grilled Chicken legs on a grill being coated with bbq sauce with a mop.

How Long to Cook Them

The total grilling time for chicken legs is 35-45 minutes with 30 minutes being over high, direct heat and the remaining grilling time over low or indirect heat.

Resist the urge to baste your chicken legs with the sauce early in the grilling process. The sugars in the bbq sauce will make the outside of your chicken char and burn before the chicken has a chance to cook through.

The same things goes for your rub. Try to use a rub that doesn’t have a ton of sugar because the sugars in the rub will burn the outside of the chicken before it cooks through.

An instant read thermometer is your best friend when cooking chicken since it’s hard to tell when it’s done grilling. Chicken legs are safe to eat when the temperature on an instant read thermometer reads 165˚F. Chicken thighs or other bone in chicken can be cooked to 175˚F since there tends to be more connective tissue…the extra cooking time helps break it down and make it “fall off the bone” tender.

I like to use a gas grill.  You could easily use a charcoal grill but I haven’t really had much practice in that area and lighting the fire kind of freaks me out. So, right now…I’m sticking with my trusty gas grill.

This recipe is really simple and you can use any sauce you want….I like to make my own like this Blueberry version or this slightly Spicy Barbecue Sauce. Or use both, I do that a lot because something I like sweet and my husband ALWAYS like spicy. But to be honest, I think I get them all mixed up and they end up with every sauce I’m using at the time. So, whatever.

Chicken drumsticks on a platter with a bbq mop and corn on the cob.

You’re ready to eat. Serve with potato salad, broccoli salad, macaroni salad, pasta salad…whatever and you’ve got one amazing dinner that takes minutes to make with virtually no clean up. You’re welcome.

More Grilled Chicken Recipes

Sweet and tangy, this Carolina Style Barbecue Chicken recipe is a fabulous addition to every cookout or picnic! | TheSuburbanSoapbox.com


Get the Recipe: The Very Best Barbecue Chicken

The best tips make for the BEST Barbecue Chicken. Tender, juicy results every single time.
5 from 2 votes


  • 3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken legs
  • 1 cup Dry Rub
  • 2 cups barbecue sauce


  • grill


  • Preheat grill to 375˚F – 400˚F.
  • Season chicken with dry rub mixture to coat all sides. Allow to sit for 30 minutes up to 24 hours (covered and refrigerated if marinading for longer than 1 hour.)
  • Place the chicken on the grill. Grill the chicken for 30 minutes, turning every 4-5 minutes to cook evenly.
  • Grill the chicken until an instant read thermometer registers 165˚F on an instant read thermometer.
  • Open the grill and baste the chicken with barbecue sauce on all sides. Close the lid and cook for 10 minutes. Baste the chicken again on all sides and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.
  • Remove from the grill and allow to rest for 5 minutes covered with foil. Serve immediately.


Chicken legs can be coated in dry rub up to 24 hours in advance. Cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator up to 1 hour before grilling.
If your chicken has been refrigerated, allow it to rest at room temperature for up to 1 hour before grilling to help the chicken cook evenly.
Serving: 0g, Calories: 489kcal, Carbohydrates: 47g, Protein: 37g, Fat: 17g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Cholesterol: 117mg, Sodium: 1076mg, Potassium: 884mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 32g, Vitamin A: 531IU, Vitamin C: 2mg, Calcium: 180mg, Iron: 6mg