As the Fourth of July approaches, our nation's birthday celebrations are getting set. While you can't deny the allure of the city's large-scale fireworks show, why not shake things up this year and ditch the crowds and sub-par carnival food for your own grilling masterpiece? Whether you have family traditions or are looking to try something new, Grilled Chicken Drumsticks with Bourbon-Cherry BBQ Sauce is the mouth-watering answer to your Independence Day menu planning.

What sets these July 4th Grilled Chicken Drumsticks apart is the flavorful combination of a fruity and boozy sauce that coats each and every bite. Made with a cherry puree created from sour cherries and a blend of honey, unsalted ketchup, tomato paste, rice vinegar, and bourbon, this sauce will surely delight your taste buds. Also, add a touch of salt, pepper, onion powder, dry mustard, and red pepper for an extra zing and depth of flavor.

Creating these delectable drumsticks is simple and straightforward. Begin by grilling the chicken over medium-high heat for 8 minutes, then reduce the heat and continue cooking until the chicken is perfectly tender and juicy. Continuously brush on the sauce while the drumsticks finish cooking. This will add a beautiful red color and caramelization and infuse every bite with a tantalizing blend of tangy vinegar and fruity sweetness.

These juicy and sticky drumsticks will certainly leave you reaching for a box of wipes, but the mess is worth it for the explosion of flavor that awaits.

So, this year, instead of braving the mayhem of the city park, opt for a calm and relaxing backyard celebration with friends and family. Elevate your grilling game and create a new Fourth of July tradition with our Grilled Chicken Drumsticks with Bourbon-Cherry BBQ Sauce. Make your pre-fireworks feast one to remember and savor with every bite.

Serves 8

Grilled Chicken Drumsticks with Bourbon-Cherry BBQ Sauce Ingredients

  • 3 cups fresh or frozen sour cherries, pitted and thawed (about 20 oz.)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup unsalted ketchup
  • 1/4 cup unsalted tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons bourbon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 4 pounds chicken drumsticks, skinned (about 16)
  • Cooking spray

Grilled Chicken Drumsticks with Bourbon-Cherry BBQ Sauce Directions

  1. Place cherries in a food processor; pulse until almost smooth. Bring cherry puree, 1/4 cup water, and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high. Reduce heat to low; simmer 20 minutes. Strain mixture through a fine-mesh sieve over a bowl to yield about 1 cup liquid; discard remaining solids.
  2. Add cherry liquid to pan; bring to a boil. Stir in honey and next 9 ingredients (through ground red pepper). Reduce heat to medium-low; cook 10 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally. Cool. Place 1 cup sauce in a bowl; reserve.
  3. Preheat grill to medium-high (about 450°F).
  4. Coat grill grate and drumsticks with cooking spray. Arrange drumsticks on grill; cover and cook 8 minutes, turning occasionally. Reduce heat to medium. Brush drumsticks with remaining sauce; cook 12 minutes or until done, turning and brushing every 3 minutes. Serve with reserved 1 cup sauce.


Grilled Chicken Drumsticks with Bourbon-Cherry BBQ Sauce is taken from Summerset Grills' Fourth of July Grilling Series

June 24, 2024 — Jason Klein