Tonight’s the night to sink your teeth into these ultimate tender and juicy Chicken Lollipops grilled with Hawaiian BBQ Sauce. The technique is quick and easy yet yields a dish impressive enough for your next block party or game day.
Although these aren’t the Drums of Heaven in the literal case, they definitely taste heavenly.
Drums of Heaven and Chicken Lollipops are often used interchangeably but there are distinct differences. The biggest difference between the two are that the drums of heaven are tossed in Schezwan sauce or a thick gravy as the lollipops are served crispy.
In the Philippines, marinated chicken wings instead of the drumsticks are used for lollipop wings. Deep fry these winglets that are marinated using salt, pepper and chili powder. Others skip all that and simply serve them with chili sauce. In China, these French chicken winglets are cut down into separate lollipop pieces, marinated and deep fried or baked on a baking sheet pan until crisp.
🍽️ Why This Works
Delicious | Frankly, this is one scrumptious chicken appetizers. 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 rum 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.
⏲️ Equipment and Tools
Grill – All the standard grill types work here. Using a small apartment deck sized Weber up to a Nexgrill gas version or a gorgeous Napoleon’s propane. Our Big Green Egg works just like a Kamado Joe so both work wonders.
Small Cast Iron Dutch Oven – This is for the sauce but feel free to use any small dutch oven sized pan you’ve got.
Half Moon Heat Deflector: Use 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 can be direct heat, and the side with this stone will be indirect heat.
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.
Note: Our sauce was thin this time by choice, but we love a great, thick sauce. Both options work great.
Step Three: Remove the sauce, add ginger and stir before starting to cook lollipops.
Do you know all the ways to put out your charcoal grill?
How To Trim the Chicken Leg
Step One: Pull all the chicken skin down from the smaller top end.
Step Two: Take the chicken drumsticks and cut around the smaller end of the leg to slice the skin and the cartilage away from the bone. Using kitchen shears or knife, 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 shape.
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.
PRO TIP: Look in your meat department as drumsticks that are already cut down.
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 drumettes 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 or large mixing bowl.
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 until golden brown.
Step Five: Remove the chicken from the grill when the temperature reaches 165 degrees.
If there are leftovers, store them in the refrigerator for up to three days in a covered container. Reheat in the microwave for 1-2 minutes, or until heated through.
🏈 Meal Prep
We love offering up meal prep options to make recipes to faster. This one is no different.
- Make the sauce and store in the refrigerator for up to five days ahead of time.
- Prep the chicken the day before and store in a sealed container for up to 24 hours.
Change up the poultry and make these with turkey legs instead of chicken. They will need to be cooked longer as they are much bigger, but the presentation of these at a tailgate party or game day will cause your friends to reach for more than one.
Spices / Rub Options:
- Jerk Seasoning
- Lemon Pepper
- Smoked Paprika
- Smoked Salt
- Chipotle Lime
- Maple Bourbon
Tried this recipe? Please leave a star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating in the recipe card below and/or a review in the comments section further down the page. You can also stay in touch with me through social media by following me on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook!
Grilled Chicken Lollipops
- 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.