Grilled chicken drumsticks with Alabama white sauce 

Photos for this recipe are from Erin Hungsberg (IG: erin_hungsberg)

These grilled chicken drumsticks with Alabama white sauce pack a ton of flavor and are super easy to make. The chicken drumsticks are butterflied and grilled to get nice crispy, charred edges, while the white bbq sauce adds a tangy zip making you come back for more!

Not only are they delicious but chicken drumsticks are affordable and readily available at almost any grocery store.

Give this mouthwatering dish a try and let me know what you think! 

Grilled chicken drumsticks with Alabama white sauce

Why I love this recipe

Its affordable: Drumsticks are about as cheap as it gets when it comes to chicken and so underrated in flavor! 

Minimal ingredients: You don’t need a lot to make a great meal and this recipe is a good example of that. 

Anyone can do it: If you are new to grilling but want to impress with flavor, this is a great one to try.

Butterflying the chicken

On a chicken drumstick there isn’t a whole lot of prep that is involved. However, I recently discovered a new method from my buddy Brad, which involves butterflied chicken drumsticks.

This method involves taking a really sharp knife and cutting on either side of the bone until the meat of each chicken leg makes a flap on both sides. This increases the surface area allowing whatever spice rub you use to really season the meat.

Butterflied chicken drumsticks

Also when grilling the butterflied drumsticks you are able to get more char on the actual meat, leaving you with delicious, succulent chicken that is so good with the white barbecue sauce. 

Seasoning the chicken

I season the chicken using a little olive oil first as a binder then an all purpose chicken rub. You can find these pretty much at any grocery store or bbq supply store if you have one near by.

Another great option is to make your own. Try out my easy smoked chicken dry rub! This rub makes a great seasoning on chicken legs and I use it a lot when cooking whole chicken as well. 

Making the Alabama white sauce

Dunking chicken drumsticks in Alabama white sauce

Making this sauce is really easy. Mixing together ingredients like mayonnaise, lemon juice, dijon mustard, and horseradish makes a tangy and creamy sauce. This sauce adds so much flavor to grilled chicken and is a must! Find the full recipe here

Grilling the chicken drumsticks

When grilling the chicken drumsticks I set up my charcoal grill for two zone cooking. On one side of the grill I will bank my lit charcoal and on the other side it will be much cooler so I can cook the chicken over indirect heat.

Indirect cooking is needed so the chicken does not burn before they are cooked all the way through.

Also make sure to have a good meat thermometer so you can monitor the internal temperature of the chicken. A gas grill works great too in this situation. Try to employ the two zone cooking method, with a hot side and a cool side. 

I start by placing the chicken directly on the grill grates on the hot side of the grill, flipping back and forth to get a nice char.

Butterflied chicken drumsticks on the grill

Once I have the char and a nice color, I place them on the cooler side of the grill where they will finish cooking for the rest of the time. Make sure you close the grill lid during this step so the heat remains inside and cooks the chicken all the way through. 

Once the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F they are safe to eat. I generally take my chicken drumsticks to about 175-180°F.

Don’t worry, the meat will not dry out since the legs have a lot of fat on them unlike chicken breasts. 

Grilled chicken drumsticks

Once the chicken is done cooking this is where the fun begins. I place the Alabama white sauce in a large bowl or a mason jar so I can dunk each chicken drumstick.

After each dip let the sauce run down on the outside of the chicken so they aren’t dripping everywhere. If you don’t want to dunk, just drizzle the sauce on the outside and reserve some extra when serving. 

Finish with a little extra seasoning and garnish with chives! Serve these up to your guests with extra paper towels as these are saucy and delicious. One of the best things ever. 


Make it spicy: If you like the heat, start with a spicy rub on the chicken and add a few dashes of hot sauce or extra cayenne pepper in the white sauce. 

Bake it: If you don’t have a grill at home, try baking them in your oven at 400°F. You may need to rotate the chicken half way through the cook. 


Is the Alabama white sauce spicy? 

I wouldn’t say it’s spicy but it does have a little bite, nothing overpowering. 

Can I use different cuts of chicken for this recipe? 

Chicken thighs would be a great option or even try smoking a whole chicken. 

Do I have to butterfly the drumsticks? 

No not at all! You can cook the drumsticks as is and still have good results. The butterflying just helps increase surface area to season and grill on. Plus they make a great presentation. 

Looking for a good side dish to go with this recipe?

Deviled eggs with bacon

Easy homemade coleslaw 

Smoked Mac and cheese 

Creamy mashed potatoes 

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Grilled chicken drumsticks with Alabama white sauce 

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5 from 2 reviews

The chicken drumsticks are butterflied and grilled to get crispy, charred edges, while the white bbq sauce adds a tangy zip!

  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 4 1x




  1. Butterfly the chicken drumsticks by carefully running a knife along the edges of the bone until there is a flap on either side. 
  2. Drizzle olive oil onto each drumstick as a binder and season with poultry seasoning. 
  3. Grill chicken drumsticks on medium high heat, flipping back and forth until the chicken is seared well.  Then place chicken on the cool side of the grill away from the heat and finish cooking with the lid closed to an internal temperature of 165°F or more. 
  4. Remove the chicken from the grill and let them cool down for 5 minutes before adding Alabama white sauce. 
  5. Garnish with chives and a little more poultry seasoning, then enjoy! 
  • Author: Jordan Hanger
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Category: Main
  • Method: Grilling
  • Cuisine: American

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  1. This was a fun and easy recipe! Love the different option of butterflying the drum stick and the white sauce was amazing! 10 out of 10 for sure!

  2. I will never not butterfly my drumsticks again! It was an awesome way to cook them quickly and evenly and add more seasoning to all the meat.
    I was a little skeptical after I mixed up and tasted the Alabama White sauce. Boy was I wrong. When paired with the blackened drumsticks… WOW. It was incredibly flavorful. Even my picky daughter loved it.
    I can’t wait for the leftovers tomorrow.

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