Grilled Chicken Drumsticks with Savory Caramel

A savory recipe just in time for Summer. For this grilled chicken recipe, cooking the legs over indirect heat gives them time to render fully and start to crisp so they won’t become gluey when glazed. Try this savory caramel glaze on whole fish or lamb kebabs.


  • Vegetable oil (for grill)
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, top third trimmed, tough outer layers removed, finely grated
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 Tbsp. fish sauce
  • 12 large chicken drumsticks (about 3 lb.)
  • Kosher salt



  • Prepare a grill for high indirect heat (for a gas grill, leave one or two burners off; for a charcoal grill, bank coals on one side); oil grate.
  • Bring garlic, lemongrass, sugar, vinegar, red pepper flakes, cumin, black pepper, and ½ cup water to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring occasionally, and cook until reduced to ½ cup, about 8 minutes.
  • Let cool and stir in fish sauce. Transfer half of sauce to a small bowl and set aside for serving.
  • Season chicken with salt. Place over indirect heat and cover grill with vent open (if you have one) and positioned over chicken.
  • Grill, turning once or twice, until skin is browned and crisp and meat is nearly cooked through, 25–30 minutes.
  • Uncover and move chicken to hotter part of grill. Continue to grill, turning often and basting with remaining sauce, until lacquered and lightly charred in places, 6–8 minutes longer.
  • Serve with reserved sauce alongside.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.