Easy BBQ Chicken Drumsticks in the Oven

Baked BBQ chicken drumsticks in the oven are a crispy main dish for a family or a crowd. This recipe works with any barbecue sauce and is ready in an hour, including marinating and cook time!

BBQ Chicken in the Oven
Elizabeth Stark

Baked BBQ Chicken

Grilling might not be for everyone. But delicious, tender BBQ chicken drumsticks certainly should be.

If you don’t have a grill or the weather is keeping you inside, this easy technique for making baked bbq chicken in the oven is all you need.

baked bbq chicken cooling before serving
Elizabeth Stark

How to Make BBQ Chicken in Oven

Taking cues from the grilled version of this recipe, the chicken gets a quick sear under the broiler to brown the skin, and then a longer roast in the oven until the chicken is completely tender.

A quick marinade in the barbecue sauce before roasting helps enhance the flavor and improve the tenderness of the chicken. The barbecue sauce bakes into the skin and caramelizes during cooking.

BBQ Chicken in the Oven
Elizabeth Stark

Baked BBQ Chicken Tips

  1. I like to cook the chicken on a metal rack over a baking sheet to allow even heat and continuous airflow on all sides. This helps prevent soggy skin. (Note that while the chicken picks up a nice "grilled" flavor from the broiler, the skin probably won't get quite as crispy.)
  2. I usually make this recipe with chicken drumsticks, but you could also make it with a mix of drumsticks and thighs. For optimum baked BBQ chicken flavor, I recommend you stick with these dark meat cuts and avoid breast meat.
  3. You can use any variety of thick, tomato, or mustard-based sauce with this method, so use your favorite! For this baked BBQ chicken recipe, I used a spicy store-bought tomato barbecue sauce made with vinegar and sugar.

More Baked Chicken Recipes!

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Watch This Baked BBQ Chicken Recipe

Does This Technique Work With Other Cuts of Chicken?

Yes, this works with any bone-in cut of chicken, including the pieces from a whole cut-up chicken. Cooking times for different cuts will vary, because cuts vary in size. We recommend cutting large bone-in chicken breasts in half so they cook at roughly the same rate smaller cuts like thighs and drumsticks. The important thing is to make sure that all chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.

Can This BBQ Chicken Recipe Be Prepared in Advance?

You can marinate the chicken up to 8 hours in advance, but for the crisp skin that this recipe creates, serve immediately after baking. Leftovers can be reheated, and the chicken will still be tasty, but the skin will no longer be crispy.

Easy Side Dishes for Baked BBQ Chicken

From the Editors Of Simply Recipes

Easy BBQ Chicken Drumsticks in the Oven

Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Marinating 30 mins
Total Time 105 mins
Servings 4 servings

Liquid smoke adds a hint of smokiness to the chicken. Look for it with the condiments in the grocery store.

You can easily double or triple this recipe for a larger crowd; just make sure there is a little space between each chicken leg on the pan and work in batches if necessary.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken drumsticks

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce (any tomato- or mustard-based sauce), divided

  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke, optional

Method

  1. Marinate the chicken:

    Set the chicken legs in a shallow dish and sprinkle both sides with salt. If you're using liquid smoke, mix it into the barbecue sauce. Brush the legs all over with 1/4 cup of the barbecue sauce, reserving the rest.

    Cover, and set in fridge to marinate at least 30 minutes or as long as 8 hours.

    Easy BBQ Chicken in the Oven
    Elizabeth Stark
    Easy BBQ Chicken in the Oven
    Elizabeth Stark
  2. Prepare the chicken for cooking:

    Set the broiler to high with a rack positioned a few inches below. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and set a metal cooling rack (like the ones used for baking) inside (or use a broiler pan).

    Arrange the marinated chicken legs on the wire rack with a little space between each leg.

  3. Sear the chicken:

    Slide the pan under broiler, and broil chicken on one side until you begin to see dark brown charred spots, 5 to 7 minutes. Flip, and sear the second side until also browned, another 3 to 5 minutes or so.

    Easy BBQ Chicken in the Oven
    Elizabeth Stark
  4. Adjust the oven rack:

    Preheat the oven to 350°F and reposition the rack in the middle of the oven.

  5. Finish cooking the chicken:

    Brush chicken all over with all but a tablespoon of the remaining sauce. Slide into the oven and bake 15 minutes. Flip chicken, and brush with the remaining sauce anywhere it's needed.

    Continue baking until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°F when testing with a meat thermometer, another 15 to 20 minutes.

    Easy BBQ Chicken in the Oven
    Elizabeth Stark
  6. Serve:

    Serve the chicken right away while hot with extra barbecue sauce on the side.

how to make bbq chicken in the Oven
Elizabeth Stark
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
478 Calories
21g Fat
14g Carbs
55g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 478
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 21g 26%
Saturated Fat 6g 28%
Cholesterol 288mg 96%
Sodium 1116mg 49%
Total Carbohydrate 14g 5%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 12g
Protein 55g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 39mg 3%
Iron 3mg 15%
Potassium 681mg 14%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.