These indulgent slow cooker chicken drumsticks are slathered in delicious BBQ sauce and they are practically effortless! So, toss some drumsticks in your crockpot and enjoy an incredibly easy BBQ chicken dinner!
Tender, juicy BBQ chicken that takes like it just came off the grill!
I love a good barbecue as much as the next person, but I’m definitely not one to grill in the rain or snow. Or cold weather. Or major wind.
Basically, if it’s not a beautiful day outside, my motivation to get out the grill is limited. This recipe is perfect for when you want that smoky taste and the weather just won’t cooperate.
It’s super easy to toss things in the slow cooker, and not only does cooking meat all day make it all the better, it leaves your whole house smelling like a dream! All it takes is some chicken, BBQ sauce, and a bit of liquid smoke.
Consider this your winter or rainy day barbecue go-to. Pull out the board games and make a day of it! Just don’t forget the sides.
❤️ Why You'll Love This Recipe!
Tender, Fall-off-the-Bone Meat! Slow cooking meat makes it incredibly juicy and tender.
Minimal Prep! Put this in before work, and have dinner on the table 5 minutes after you get home!
Easy Cleanup! All you’ll have to wash is your crockpot and a baking sheet!
The only thing that might be unexpected on this list is liquid smoke. But don’t worry, it’s available at your local Walmart.
- 3 pounds Chicken Drumsticks - Use skin-on chicken legs for best results.
- 1 teaspoon each, Salt & Pepper - These can be added to taste.
- 2 ½ cups BBQ Sauce - Divide this into 2 portions, 2 cups and ½ cup.
- 2 teaspoons Liquid Smoke - This adds that fresh-off-the-grill flavor and can be used for many different meat dishes. *It's one of my secret ingredients for indoor 'BBQ' cooking!
*Be sure to see the recipe card below for ingredients, amounts & instructions!*
🔪 Step-By-Step Instructions
Slow cooker recipes, like this one, tend to be easy to prep and full of flavor! To begin, get out a crockpot or slow cooker, baking sheet, and a basting brush.
- Prep the pot and add the chicken. Start by spraying the inside of your slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray to prevent buildup. Next, arrange 3 pounds chicken drumsticks in the pot, and sprinkle on 1 teaspoon each, salt and pepper.
- Add sauce and smoke. Now, pour 2 cups of your favorite BBQ sauce over the chicken along with 2 teaspoons liquid smoke and stir. Be sure each of the drumsticks is thoroughly coated with sauce. Then, cover with the lid and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours or on high for 3 to 4.
- Cook and prep the broiler. When the chicken is nearly done, heat up the broiler in your oven and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Transfer the cooked drumsticks onto the pan in a single layer and brush with the remaining ½ cup BBQ sauce.
- Broil and serve. Caramelize the skin by broiling the chicken for 3 to 5 minutes. Don’t let it burn! Once it’s done, remove from the oven and serve hot.
No need to garnish this melt-in-your-mouth main! I would suggest serving with some southern baked macaroni and cheese, baked beans, and coleslaw to make it a party. Enjoy!
💭 Angela's Tips & Recipe Notes
- Explore different kinds of BBQ sauce. There are tons of different kinds of sauce people put on BBQ. Whether you're a Kansas City, Carolina Gold, or North Carolina fan, it’s worth branching out if you make this recipe more than once.
- Keep the skin on. I recommend keeping the skin on while cooking. It helps retain moisture in the meat and leaves you with a juicier final product.
- Use other pieces of chicken. You can use other pieces of chicken in this recipe, but the cooking time will need to be adjusted accordingly. Just make sure the internal temperature reaches 165℉ (74℃) in the thickest part of the meat before eating.
🥡 Storing & Reheating
Store any leftovers in an airtight container for 3 to 4 days in the fridge. Freeze BBQ chicken drumsticks for up to 3 months in an airtight freezer container or wrapped in heavy-duty aluminum foil placed into freezer safe bags.
Thaw frozen chicken wings in the refrigerator the night before you plan on reheating them.
Reheating BBQ Chicken Drumsticks
To reheat thawed chicken drumsticks, place them in a greased baking dish covered in foil and bake them at 325℉ (163℃) until hot.
🍗 More Tasty Chicken Dinners!
- Baked Chicken Thighs
- Chicken and Peppers
- Baked Huli Huli Chicken
- Creamy Parmesan Garlic Mushroom Chicken
- Bisquick Oven Fried Chicken
Slow Cooker Chicken Drumsticks
- 3 lbs chicken drumsticks (legs)
- 1 teaspoon each, salt & pepper (to taste)
- 2 ½ cups BBQ sauce (divided - 2 cups and ½ cup portions)
- 2 teaspoon liquid smoke
- To begin, spray the inside of your slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray. Place the drumsticks in the crockpot and season them with salt & pepper.3 lbs chicken drumsticks, 1 teaspoon each, salt & pepper, 2 ½ cups BBQ sauce, 2 teaspoon liquid smoke
- Add 2 cups of the BBQ sauce and the liquid smoke, then stir to combine the sauce and coat the chicken legs. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours, or on high for 3-4 hours.
- Once the chicken is close to done, turn the broiler on high and let it heat up. Place drumsticks on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet in a single layer. Brush remaining BBQ sauce on the cooked drumsticks
- Broil to caramelize, about 3-5 minutes. Watch closely to prevent burning! Once caramelized, remove from oven and serve immediately.
Equipment You May Need
- Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days or frozen in a freezer bag for 3 months.
- I recommend keeping the skin on because it helps the drumsticks retain moisture.
Angela is an at home chef that developed a passion for all things cooking and baking at a young age in her Grandma's kitchen. After many years in the food service industry, she now enjoys sharing all of her family favorite recipes and creating tasty dinner and amazing dessert recipes here at Bake It With Love!
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