Sweet and Sour Chicken is one of my favorite combos of flavors for chicken! The sweetness of the pineapple and brown sugar mixed with the bite from the rice wine vinegar is complete satisfaction!

This recipe calls for chicken drum legs that are butterflied and then grilled to perfection. The Sweet and Sour sauce is used as a basting liquid that continuously builds flavor throughout the cook. My favorite part is the charred crispy exterior parts that are full mini crispy crunchy flavor bombs! smoked chicken drum legs on a cutting board


Using chicken drum legs it is best to start on the fatter end of the leg and make a cut directly down the drum leg (from the fatter end to the skinny knuckle end). The most important thing about this process is using a really sharp knife. 

Once the slit is made, follow the bone on each side and work the drum leg until it is spread open. This will create more surface area for seasoning, meaning extra flavor, also, a quicker cooking process! Repeat this process until all of your drum legs are butterflied.

Place the butterflied drum legs on a sheet pan and season them generously with your favorite chicken rub, I used a cajun flavor for this exact recipe. Season the skin side and the under, where the chicken is exposed.sweet and sour chicken drum legs with seasoning


Before placing the chicken on the grill, be sure to make the Sweet and Sour Sauce. This step is crucial because the chicken is going to get basted during the cooking process.

In a cold saucepan add pineapple juice, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, ketchup, Gochujang, honey and the same cajun seasoning used to season the chicken. From here, place over medium heat and let it simmer for 6-8 minutes and then transfer to another jar/bowl for cooling.

If a large batch is made be sure to save in a mason jar that has an air-tight lid and store up to 2 weeks in the fridge. The sauce is amazing and I wouldn’t be surprised if you find other uses for your cooks.smoking chicken drum legs


Load up a charcoal basket with lump charcoal (using briquettes will be just fine) and light the under with a fire starter. Let the basket go for about 15 minutes, allowing for enough time to activate the charcoal before pouring it out. Pour it into the grill basket and set the grill up for direct grilling with medium high heat.

Add the butterflied chicken drum legs over the hot coals skin side down. Let it grill for 60-90 seconds. This is the duration of time you want to flip the chicken, it will help prevent the skin from burning but still allow the skin to get crispy for a good bite. 

After each flip, baste the chicken with the Sweet and Sour Sauce. For my cook I repeated this process about 4-5 times. Once I got my color and crispy skin on the chicken I transferred it over to the indirect side of the grill where I gave it two more bastings. Remove the chicken when it reaches an internal temperature of 170 degrees.

Rest for about 5 minutes and serve!smoked chicken on a resting rack


chicken drum legs with seasoning

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Asian
Servings 4


  • 2 lbs Chicken drum legs
  • Chicka Licka Bam Bam seasoning

Sweet and Sour Sauce

  • 1 ¼ cup Pineapple juice
  • cup Rice wine Vinegar
  • ¾ cup Brown sugar
  • ¼ cup Ketchup
  • 2 tbsp Gochujang sauce
  • 2 tbsp Soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp Honey
  • 1 tbsp Chicka Licka Bam Bam seasoning


  • Start off by cutting the chicken drum legs so they are butterflied. Now place on a prepping station to season the skin side and under side.
  • Get a saucepan over medium heat and add pineapple juice, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, ketchup, gochujang, honey and cajun seasoning. Let it simmer for 6-8 minutes, stir every minute or so until it is a good consistency. Remove and let cool
  • Fire up the grill for direct grilling and once the grill temps are medium high add the chicken drum legs. Grill for 60-90 seconds and flip. Once flipped, baste with the Sweet and Sour Sauce. Repeat this process 4-5 times until you get a good color and the skin is crispy. Remove to indirect heat and baste a few more times. 
  • Once the chicken reaches 170 degrees F internal temperature remove and let it rest for 5 minutes.
  • During resting, chop some parsley and garnish butterflied chicken drum legs.
  • Plate and serve!


Keyword easy smoked chicken, easy sweet and sour chicken recipe, smoked chicken recipe, smoked sweet and sour chicken, sweet and sour chicken, sweet and sour sauce

This Sweet and Sour Chicken recipe is a delicious and flavorful dish that is sure to satisfy any palate. This particular sweet and sour recipe, involves butterflying chicken drum legs and grilling them to perfection while basting them with am awesome  Sweet and Sour Sauce, is an excellent way to enjoy this classic combination of flavors.

Butterflying the chicken drum legs not only creates more surface area for seasoning, but also allows for a quicker cooking process. Seasoning generously with a cajun flavor adds a touch of heat to the dish, complementing the sweetness of the sauce.

The Sweet and Sour Sauce is a very critical component of this recipe, as it is used for basting. Simmering a mixture of pineapple juice, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, ketchup, Gochujang, honey, and cajun seasoning over medium heat creates a complex and well-balanced flavor that perfectly complements the grilled chicken.

Grilling the chicken drum legs over medium high heat until they are charred and crispy on the outside, while still juicy on the inside, is a perfect way to showcase the flavors of the Sweet and Sour Sauce. Basting the chicken with the sauce during the cooking process ensures that every bite is bursting with flavor.

Products Used in this Video

Hasty-Bake Grill

Heat Resistant Gloves

Fogo Charcoal

Mixing Bowls

Charcoal Chimney


Chicken Recipes

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