Chicken Drumstick Lollipops
by Corey Hall, Certified Master BBQ Cook & Retail Chef, Hy-Vee, Plattsmouth, Nebraska
- 8 Smart Chicken drumsticks
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ cup your favorite barbecue sauce, for serving
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- ¾ teaspoon dried ground chipotle chile powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon finely ground black pepper
Preheat a smoker or grill: Set up for indirect heat between 275°F to 300°F. If using a smoker, use a combination of charcoal and cherry wood.
Combine the rub ingredients and mix well.
For the chicken lollipops: For each drumstick, make a cut completely around the lower part of the leg about an inch below the knuckle, cutting through the skin and tendons. There’s a tiny bone right against the leg that needs to be removed; it can be sharp, so be careful while pushing down on the meat. Remove this bone with your fingers or with kitchen shears. Push down around the bone, forcing the meat down around the bottom of the drumstick. Use the shears or a sharp knife to cut off any ligaments that you can see. Cover the exposed bone with foil. Season each lollipop with the dry rub.
Melt the butter in a shallow pan (such as a muffin pan) in the smoker or grill. Place the lollipops in the pan and cook until they reach an internal temperature of 165°F. Remove the chicken from the pan and remove foil from each drumstick. Dunk each drumstick into the barbecue sauce to glaze, and place the legs back in a pan. Transfer the pan back to the smoker or grill and cook until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 175°F and the sauce coating has a nice, sticky, glazed look to it.
Serve with bacon marmalade and a small salad.