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Butterflied chicken drumsticks

Grilled Butterflied Chicken Drumsticks

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5 from 21 reviews

Butterflied chicken drumsticks are an obvious solution to make crispier, more flavorful chicken drumsticks with much less cooking time. Take a few minutes to split open the meat, season, and grill.

  • Total Time: 40
  • Yield: 6 Chicken Drums 1x




  1. Pat the chicken drumsticks dry. Take a drumstick and place it on your cutting board, with the side up facing you that has the most meat showing. Using a sharp knife, cut the meat along one side of the bone, careful not to slice all the way through. Make a second cut, separating the meat from the other side of the bone.  Fold open the meat and lay the drumstick face-down. Repeat for each one.
  2. Season the drumsticks generously and then place them uncovered in the fridge on a wire rack for 2 hours, up to overnight.
  3. Preheat grill to medium-high, 400°F for direct cooking. Use a grill with a lid.
  4. Remove the chicken from the fridge at least 20 minutes before adding to the grill, allowing them to come to room temp.
  5. Place the drumsticks on the grill grates with the skin-side up. Close the lid and allow them to cook for 5-6 minutes.
  6. Flip the drumsticks, and repeat the process. You’ll continue to flip and close the lid every few minutes until they are almost cooked. This should take about 20-25 minutes depending on your grill.
  7. Once the chicken temperature is about 155-160°F, go ahead and baste with your BBQ sauce or glaze. Leave the lid off, allowing the heat to blast the outside of the chicken and create caramelization and char. Flip and repeat, cooking until the chicken is about 180-185°F.


Chicken drumsticks have more fat than white meat, and can take a bit more punishment with the heat. Feel free to cook to 180-185° without regret. You’ll have crispy, moist chicken that will fall off the bone.

  • Author: Brad Prose
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Category: Chicken & Poultry
  • Method: Grilling
  • Cuisine: Chicken
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