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Spiked Arnold Palmer Chicken, plated for sharing.

Spiked Arnold Palmer Chicken

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Break out the bourbon, it’s time to grill up Spiked Arnold Palmer Chicken. Brined with sweet tea and lemon, the drumsticks are glazed with maple bourbon sauce, hitting the spot during the summer months.

  • Total Time: 4 hours 35 minutes
  • Yield: Serves about 6-8 1x


  • 4-pound chicken drumsticks
  • 2 lemons for garnish, sliced thin

Sweet Tea Brine

  • 2 Lipton family-size iced tea bags (unsweetened)
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1 small sweet onion, thinly sliced 
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced 
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary (optional)


  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika

Bourbon Glaze

  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup sweet tea
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce


  1. Prepare the brine first by brewing the tea. Use boiling water to brew the tea according to the instructions. While the tea is still hot, whisk in the salt and brown sugar to dissolve. Add in the rest of the brine ingredients and allot it to cool to room temperature.
  2. 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.
  3. Place the drumsticks in the brine and fully submerge. Cover with plastic wrap and allow the chicken to marinade for at least 4 hours or up to overnight. The flavor is much better if you do an overnight brine.
  4. Remove the chicken drumsticks from the brine when ready and pat completely dry. Mix the seasoning ingredients together, and lightly season both sides of the drumsticks. For crispier skin, place the drumsticks back in the fridge for at least an hour to allow them to dry out a little further.
  5. Preheat grill to medium-high, 400°F for direct cooking. Use a grill with a lid.
  6. Remove the chicken from the fridge at least 20 minutes before adding to the grill, allowing them to come to room temp.
  7. Place the drumsticks on the grill grates with the skin-side up. Close the lid and allow them to cook for 5 minutes.
  8. 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.
  9. Mix the baste ingredients into a small saucepan and cook on medium heat until it starts to reduce.
  10. Once the chicken temperature is about 155-160°F, go ahead and baste with the 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 170-175°F.
  11. Place the chicken on slices of lemon, and garnish with fresh lemon zest if desired.


You can prep the glaze ahead of time, which only takes about 10 minutes.

  • Author: Brad Prose
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Brining: 4 hours
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Category: Chicken & Poultry
  • Method: Grilling
  • Cuisine: Dinner
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