Grill Chicken Drumsticks Temperature: A Guide To Perfectly Cooked Chicken

How To Grill Chicken Drumsticks How Long To Grill Chicken Legs
How To Grill Chicken Drumsticks How Long To Grill Chicken Legs from

The Importance of Temperature

When it comes to grilling chicken drumsticks, achieving the perfect internal temperature is crucial. Cooking chicken to the right temperature ensures that it is safe to eat, tender, and juicy. Whether you’re a seasoned griller or a beginner, understanding the ideal temperature for chicken drumsticks is essential for a successful grilling experience.

Recommended Internal Temperature

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends cooking chicken drumsticks to an internal temperature of 165°F (75°C). This temperature ensures that any harmful bacteria present in the chicken are destroyed, making it safe to consume. However, reaching the recommended temperature doesn’t mean sacrificing flavor and moisture. With the right grilling techniques, you can achieve both safety and deliciousness.

Pre-Grilling Preparation

Before you begin grilling your chicken drumsticks, it’s essential to prepare them properly. Start by patting the drumsticks dry with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture. This step helps the seasoning adhere better and promotes crispy skin. Season the drumsticks with your favorite spices and let them sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes to allow the flavors to penetrate the meat.

Direct vs. Indirect Heat

When grilling chicken drumsticks, you have the option of using direct or indirect heat. Direct heat involves placing the drumsticks directly over the flames, while indirect heat involves cooking them away from the flames. Both methods have their advantages, and the choice depends on personal preference.

Using direct heat provides a more intense heat source, resulting in crispy skin and a shorter cooking time. However, it requires constant attention to prevent burning. On the other hand, indirect heat allows for slower, more even cooking, ensuring that the chicken is cooked through without excessive charring.

Monitoring the Temperature

Investing in a reliable meat thermometer is crucial for achieving the perfect grilled chicken drumsticks. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the drumstick, making sure not to touch the bone. Continuously monitor the temperature throughout the grilling process to avoid undercooking or overcooking the chicken.

Tips for Juicy and Flavorful Drumsticks

While reaching the recommended internal temperature is essential for food safety, there are additional tips to ensure your chicken drumsticks turn out juicy and flavorful:


Consider marinating the drumsticks before grilling to enhance their flavor and tenderness. Choose a marinade that complements the taste of chicken, such as a mixture of lemon juice, garlic, and herbs. Allow the drumsticks to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours before grilling.


Basting the drumsticks with a flavorful sauce or marinade during grilling adds an extra layer of taste and moisture. Brush the sauce onto the drumsticks during the last few minutes of grilling, allowing it to caramelize and create a delicious glaze.

Resting Time

After removing the drumsticks from the grill, let them rest for a few minutes before serving. This resting period allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in more tender and flavorful chicken.

Experiment with Seasonings

Don’t be afraid to get creative with your seasonings. Try different combinations of spices, herbs, and sauces to discover your favorite flavor profiles. From tangy barbecue to spicy jerk, the possibilities are endless.


Grilling chicken drumsticks to the perfect internal temperature is essential for both safety and taste. By following the USDA guidelines and implementing these tips, you can enjoy juicy, flavorful drumsticks every time. Experiment with different cooking methods, seasonings, and techniques to find your signature grilled chicken drumstick recipe. Happy grilling!