One of the best appetizers for tailgating or in general are chicken wings. Well, if you are seeking a new and exciting recipe, this is the one for you: Smoked Chicken Lollipops with a homemade BBQ sauce.
First we will prep the drum legs by trimming off the knuckle meat and pushing the remaining meat down to form chicken lollipops. From here, they will get seasoned with an All Purpose Rub and then wrapped in bacon. On the smoker they’ll go until the bacon tightens up, then dipped in our homemade bbq sauce and placed back on the smoker for an additional 15-20 minutes.
The lollipop approach makes a nice handle to hold onto and makes it even more convenient whenever you are in charge of hosting an event.
Chicken is one of our favorite proteins to make on the bbq. Whole chicken, spatchcock chicken, chicken drum legs, chicken wings or chicken quarters are a few types of things we smoke.
WHAT ARE SMOKED CHICKEN LOLLIPOPS?
Smoked Chicken Lollipops are smoked chicken legs that are tender and juicy. They get seasoned, smoked and then glazed with multiple sauce variations. The shape of the chicken drumsticks is where they get the name lollipop.
To get this shape, the bottom of the knuckle, about 2 inches, is trimmed off, which leaves the bone bare and makes them easy to handle. The first time you make them it will be tough to work the meat off the knuckle but it gets easier the more times you do it.
These chicken lollipops are going to get glazed with my homemade bbq sauce but there are many favor combinations that work well with chicken. Feel free to experiment as you go.
WHY ARE SMOKED CHICKEN LOLLIPOPS ARE GOOD
These Smoked Chicken Lollipops are very simple to make and you will love it. They can be seasoned with just about any seasoning mixture you are seeking and sauced any way you want.
With all of the hard work happening at the beginning the rest of the recipe is smooth sailing. After each drum stick gets prepared, they go on the smoker and it’s just a patience factor.
There is one little difference with mine compared to many others, I like to wrap mine in bacon. The reason being is the bacon will render down when it cooks and the fat will baste the chicken meat, providing the most tender, juicy and flavorful bite of chicken. The bacon will also crisp on the exterior for a little crunch action.
Bacon is an excellent way to go and the bbq sauce will stick to it perfectly, leaving an awesome delicious glaze finish. There is nothing like the smoky flavor and tender juicy chicken being complimented by the rich fatty bacon. It only adds a few more minutes to the prep work, which is a no brainer for how good the final results are.
HOW TO MAKE SMOKED CHICKEN LOLLIPOPS
- Chicken Drum Legs
- Duck fat (or olive oil)
- 1 lb bacon
- All Purpose Rub works great
Homemade BBQ Sauce:
- Brown sugar
- Pineapple Red Pepper Preserve
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Worcestershire sauce
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Black pepper
COOKING LOLLIPOP CHICKEN
Start off by grabbing a sharp knife and cut around the knuckle meat (2” below the knuckle) of the drum leg. Make sure to remove all of the meat, skin and tendons all the way to the top of the knuckle making it a bare bone.
Once the excess tendons are trimmed and the sharp pointing bone is removed, press down on the meat and form it into a round lollipop shape. You won’t need to press extremely hard but make sure it is a round chicken lollipop.
Next, you can spray with duck fat and season the lollipop chicken generously with an all purpose seasoning. Get the bottom of the lollipop drum leg with the excess seasoning on the cutting board.
Take a single slice of bacon and start at the top of the meat and wrap it around the meat. One slice should cover the whole bottom meat lollipop. To be safe, pin the bacon in place with a toothpick, if you go this route make sure they have been soaked in water for 20 minutes or so.
Fire up the smoker to 275 degrees F with some hickory wood chunks. Once the temperature is set add the chicken lollipops and let them smoke. About 75 minutes in they should be at a temperature to glaze (145-150 degrees F). Remove the drum legs and dip them in the bbq sauce and place them back on the smoker until they are finished at 160-165 degrees F internally.
HOMEMADE BBQ SAUCE
When the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 130-135 degrees F it is time to make the homemade bbq. sauce.
In a saucepan add in the ketchup, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, honey, molasses, pineapple preserves, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, salt and cayenne. Mix for 3-4 minutes so it has a good consistency. If it is runny, place over medium heat and simmer for 6-8 minutes, or if it is thick just add a tablespoon of water.
Pour the bbq sauce into a jar, a jar for dunking the lollipop chicken in, and dunk the chicken before placing it back on the smoker to finish.
The Best Smoked BBQ Chicken Lollipops
- 2-3 pound chicken drum legs
- 2 tablespoons duck fat
- 1 pound bacon
- 3-4 tablespoons all purpose rub
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup pineapple preserves
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon molasses
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- First thing, prepare all of the chicken lollipops by cutting around the drum legs, about 2” below the knuckle. Remove all of the meat/skin and the excess tendons. Now press down on the meat to form it into a lollipop shape. Repeat this process for all of the drum legs.
- Spray the chicken lollipops with duck fat as a binder and season them generously with an All Purpose Rub. Set them aside until ready to cook.
- Fire up the smoker to 275F degrees. Add some hickory wood chunks for added smoky flavor.
- Place the chicken lollipops on the smoker using a smoke rack and smoke for about 1.5 hours. Once the chicken reaches 135F internally it is time to make the bbq sauce.
- In a saucepan add ketchup, brown sugar, pineapple preserves, honey, molasses, Worcestershire sauce, apple cider vinegar, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, kosher salt and cayenne. Whisk this together for 3-4 minutes to get a good consistency.
- Remove the chicken Lollipops from the smoker at 150F degrees and dunk them in the BBQ sauce. Place them back on the smoker until they reach an internal temperature of 165F degrees.
- Remove and rest for 8 minutes, serve and enjoy!
Smoked Chicken Lollipops with a homemade BBQ sauce is a unique and flavorful way to enjoy chicken drumsticks. The recipe involves trimming off the knuckle meat of the drumstick, pressing the remaining meat down to form a lollipop shape, seasoning the meat with an all-purpose rub, and wrapping it in bacon before smoking it. The bacon renders down during cooking, basting the meat with fat and providing a crispy exterior. The lollipops are then glazed with homemade BBQ sauce and cooked until the internal temperature reaches 160-165 degrees F.
The recipe is simple to make and can be customized by experimenting with different seasoning and sauce combinations. Additionally, the lollipop shape makes them easy to handle and convenient for events. To prepare the homemade BBQ sauce, a mixture of ketchup, brown sugar, pineapple red pepper preserve, molasses, honey, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, salt, and cayenne is mixed until it has a good consistency.
If you want to try different variations, you can season the chicken with your favorite spices or use a different sauce. You can also try using different proteins like chicken wings, chicken quarters or whole chicken. Overall, Smoked Chicken Lollipops with homemade BBQ sauce is a delicious and unique way to enjoy chicken, perfect for tailgating or any other event.
Items used in This Recipe
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