Tonight’s the night to sink your teeth into these ultimate tender and juicy Grilled Chicken Lollipops with Hawaiian BBQ Sauce. The technique is quick and easy yet yields a dish impressive enough for your next block party or game day.
🍽️ Why This Works
Delicious | Frankly, this is one scrumptious chicken dish. It is tender and juicy with a slightly spicy, sweet flavor that is hard to beat.
Easy to Grill | You don’t need anything fancy to make these, even though they look like you would. The key is a simple slice of the cartilage to make them stand straight up.
Impressive Display | These are outstanding to make for the block parties, game days, tailgating or any other opportunity where you want to strut your stuff without much effort.
Kid Friendly | Kids love the lollipop look and since most kids already love chicken, it’s an easy sell for them. Change up the seasoning to a non-spicy version and they will be happy.
Rub | I used the Spicy Pineapple Head from Dizzy Pig. Their store was close by and thought this would be fun to try with the fruit based sauce. It starts off sweet and has a spicy finish.
Hawaiian Sauce | This is so delicious, it isn’t even funny! The run adds a lot of flavor and the pineapple juice and ketchup combine for the sweet notes, while the teriyaki sauce, garlic and ginger bring the tangy notes. This is a MUST TRY recipe.
Hawaiian BBQ Sauce Steps
Step One: Combine all of the ingredients, except ginger and cornstarch to a small dutch oven and cook at 350-375 for 15 to 20 minutes. It will start to reduce and thicken just a little bit.
Step Two: *Optional* If you want a thicker sauce, combine one tablespoon of cornstarch and water to mix together. Add this to the sauce and allow it to cook for a couple minutes to thicken. Our sauce was thin this time by choice but love a great, thick sauce. Both options work great.
Step Three: Remove the sauce, add ginger and stir before starting to cook lollipops.
How To Trim the Chicken Leg
Step One: Pull all the chicken skin down from the smaller top end.
Step Two: Take each chicken leg and cut around the smaller end of the leg to slice the skin and the cartilage away from the bone. Cut away any excess cartilage.
Step Three: Cut the large/fat size tip cartilage off to allow it to have an even bottom to stand up.
Step Four: Push all the excess skin down to create a round section that will now look like an upside down lollipop.
Step Five: Make sure it is steady so it will be able to stand on the grill. If not, trim some more of the cartilage.
Always start off with a clean grill grate and we love to use our own DIY Fire Starters to make a quick fire.
Step One: Heat up the grill to a medium high heat and set up an indirect heat station. We will cook the chicken over direct heat at the beginning and then move it to the indirect side to finish cooking without burning.
Note: I set a lined half-moon shaped ceramic heat deflector directly on the grill grate to create a two-zone grilling surface. One side of the grill was direct heat, and the stone side was indirect heat.
Step Two: Add chicken legs and seasoning to mix and coat in a large Ziploc bag.
Step Three: Add chicken to the direct heat side of grill for 10-15 minutes or until it reaches almost 150 degrees. We don’t want them COMPLETELY cooked at this point. The benefit of cutting the cartilage is that these legs will stand upright. That means we can fit a lot more on the grilling surface.
Step Four: Remove one chicken leg at a time and dunk it into the BBQ sauce. Place it on the indirect heat side of the grill to finish cooking. The dunking technique provides much better coverage that just brushing the sauce on. Dunk and place back on the grill 1-3 times for each chicken lollipop.
Step Five: Remove the chicken from the grill when the temperature reaches 165 degrees.
❗ Expert Tips
Cutting the chicken so it can stand upright on its own takes practice, but once you do one or two of them, you will get the feel of what you are looking for and it goes really fast. Take the time to learn the simple steps and you will make this recipe time and time again.
If you aren’t a huge fan of chicken legs, try using the exact same technique for chicken thighs. The bone runs through the middle just the same and you won’t encounter the same amount of cartilage that you do on the drumstick.
As stated above, if you want the sauce to be thicker, add the tablespoon of cornstarch and a tablespoon of water to the sauce. We have made it both ways and it just depends on our mood. If you want a more dominate Hawaiian sauce taste, make it thicker.
Always use Heavy Duty Grilling Gloves when handling the cast iron dutch oven as it retains heat for a long time. I learned that the hard way! 😀
We like to use a Wireless Meat Thermometer to make sure the meat is fully cooked. Make sure to not hit the bone when testing for the temperature.
If the chicken is cooking pretty fast on the outside but internal temperature isn’t close to 150 yet, place it on the indirect heat side. They will cook a little slower but the chicken will not burn.
Cut away as much as you can. There is still a long piece that runs inside that you can’t usually get but I do like to cut away as much as I can to help it stand upright.
The outer tip is pretty easy to cut through. It is very hard to cut when you get further down, so focus on cutting as close to the end as possible. Use a sharp knife as to not cut yourself.
You can certainly brush it on, and if you use a thicker sauce, that will help a lot.
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Grilled Chicken Lollipops with Hawaiian BBQ Sauce
- Small Cast Iron Dutch Oven
- 10 Chicken Legs
- 1-2 tsp Dizzy Pig Spicy Pineapple Head Seasoning
Hawaiian BBQ Sauce
- ⅓ cup Pineapple Juice
- ¼ cup Rum
- ¼ cup Teriyaki Sauce Marinade
- ¼ cup Ketchup
- 2 cloves Garlic minced
- 1 tbsp Brown Sugar
- ⅛ tsp Grated Ginger finely grated (it is a moist type paste texture, very wet to the touch)
- Cornstarch *optional* see comments*
Hawaiian BBQ Sauce
- Combine all of the ingredients, except ginger and cornstarch to a small dutch oven and cook at 350-375 for 15 to 20 minutes. It will start to reduce and thicken just a bit.
- *Optional* If you want a thicker sauce, combine cornstarch with water to mix together. Add to sauce and allow it to cook for a few minutes to thicken.
- Remove sauce, add ginger and stir before starting to cook lollipops.
Trimming the Chicken Lollipops
- Take each chicken leg and cut around the smaller end of the leg to remove the skin and the cartilage from the bone. Cut away any excess cartilage.
- Cut the large/fat end of the chicken to create a flat surface. Push all the excess skin down along the bone to the meat end to create a round ball that resembles an upside down lollipop.
- Add chicken legs and seasoning to a Ziploc bag to mix and coat.
- Set grill up to medium high and create direct heat and an indirect heat zones.
- Stand up the legs over the direct heat and grill for 10-15 minutes or until it reaches about 150 degrees.
- Remove one chicken leg at a time and dunk it into the BBQ sauce. Place it on the indirect section of the grill to finish cooking. It is done when the temperature reaches 165 degrees.
- Remove from the grill and serve.