Your classic chicken wing dinner just got even meatier, tastier, and spicier with my Butterflied Chicken Drumsticks recipe. This recipe combines my favorite part of the chicken with a jalapeno white sauce that is so freakin’ delicious!

Butterflied Chicken Drumsticks with Jalapeño Lime White Sauce sitting on a serving plate in front of a fire.

For this easy recipe, chicken drumsticks are first split with a sharp knife. Next, they meet up with a great blend of spices before grilling time. For the final touch, they are dunked in a creamy jalapeño lime white sauce. It’s my twist on the Alabama White Sauce

Why You’ll Love Butterflied Chicken Drumsticks 

This meal is easy, delicious, and perfect for spicy chicken lovers since the Chipotle BBQ Rub has a kick. The Jalapeño Lime White Sauce adds some depth and cools the spices down to a medium heat. Whether you’re grilling up a casual weeknight dinner or hosting a backyard barbecue, your family and friends will surely love these butterflied chicken drumsticks.

For more chicken drumstick recipes from Derek Wolf and OTFC, check out: The Best Chicken Leg Recipes.

One of the dipped wings being held next to the fire.

Butterfly Chicken Drumsticks – Ingredients

  • Chicken – Pick up a big pack of chicken drumsticks from the grocery store instead of wings. They have more meat on them, which makes them more satisfying. The legs are covered in canola oil (or olive oil) to help the seasonings stick. 
  • Chipotle BBQ Seasoning – We’ll season chicken with a Chipotle BBQ spice mixture made out of brown sugar, chipotle powder, kosher saltgarlic powder, smoked paprika, black pepper, onion powder, chili powder, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper powder. And, if you want to skip making your seasonings, check out my rubs that come in beer cans.
Mixing together the bbq seasoning for the chicken and also the jalapeño lime white sauce for dipping later.
  • Jalapeño Lime White Sauce – This sauce is a zesty and spicy combo of mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, brown sugar, diced pickled jalapenos, chopped cilantro, horseradish, and lime juice. 

For more jalapeno-inspired recipes, check out Jalapeno Popper Egg Rolls, Shrimp Jalapeño Poppers, Bacon Jalapeño Popper Stuffed Burgers, Honey Garlic Jalapeño Wings, and Churrasco Picanha with Jalapeño Vinaigrette.

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How to Make Butterflied Drumsticks

Butterfly Drumsticks

Alright, let’s get to prepping our butterflied chicken drumsticks! Grab your cutting board and a really sharp knife. Carefully slice one area on each drumstick from top to bottom, all the way down to the bone.

Then, gently pull apart the two sides of the slice to open up the drumstick and flatten it out on your work surface. Be sure to leave some meat connected on the opposite side of the first cut. Repeat this process for all your drumsticks.

Butterflying and seasoning the chicken drumsticks.

Homemade Chipotle BBQ Seasoning

Next up, it’s time to whip up the Chipotle BBQ seasoning for our butterflied chicken drumsticks. In a mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients. Then, give your chicken drumsticks a good lathering with oil and generously season them with the Chipotle BBQ seasoning mixture.

Make sure to coat your butterflied chicken drumsticks evenly, cover the large bowl, and leave in the fridge for at least an hour.

Here at OTFC we love our BBQ chicken, whether it’s some kind of BBQ Chicken Lollipop or BBQ Marinated Chicken, we are always in for that delicious meal! Make sure to check out some of our other BBQ chicken options if you enjoy this recipe!

Making the Jalapeno Lime White Sauce

While the chicken is mingling with the chipotle seasonings, let’s prepare the Jalapeno Lime White Sauce. Mix together all the ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl and set it aside in the fridge for later.

If this jalapeño lime white sauce isn’t doing it for you, then check out my other butterflied chicken drumstick recipe made with classic Alabama white sauce!

Grill the Chicken

The butterflied chicken drumsticks grilling directly over the coals.

Once the chicken is ready to grill, preheat your charcoal grill to a medium-high heat, around 375° degrees F, for two-zone cooking. When the grill is good and ready, place the drumsticks over direct heat and cook them for 2-3 minutes per side until they get a nice char.

Once they’re beautifully charred and golden brown, move them over to the cooler side of the grill. Continue cooking with indirect heat until they reach an internal temperature of 170° degrees F, which should take about 10-15 minutes. Once your meat thermometer confirms they’re done, take chicken legs off the grill and let them rest for 1-2 minutes.

Cooking chicken in this way (getting a sear and then finishing indirectly) results in some of the juiciest, delicious chicken. I use this method for my Grilled Mojo Chicken, Smoked Chicken Lollipops and Roasted Chicken Trompo.

Dipping Time

Just before serving, dip each drumstick right into the Jalapeno Lime White Sauce and get ready to enjoy some seriously flavorful chicken drumsticks!

Dipping the chicken in the white sauce.

What to Serve with Butterflied Drumsticks

When it comes to serving butterflied drumsticks, you can’t go wrong with classic sides like corn on the cob or mashed potatoes. Consider making some honey cornbread to complement the chicken dinner feast.

And, if you’re looking for something lighter, a fresh green salad or fruit salad can really round out the meal.

And, if you want to bring even more heat to the table set out some hot sauce. I happen to know a great brand! 

If You Prefer Chicken Wings

​Leftovers & Reheating

Start by allowing the drumsticks to cool completely to room temperature. Once cooled, transfer them to an airtight container or wrap them tightly in aluminum foil or plastic wrap. Store the drumsticks in the refrigerator for no longer than 3-4 days. 

When you’re ready to enjoy your leftover drumsticks, place the drumsticks on a baking sheet and bake them for 10-15 minutes until warmed through.

Once the fire is ready, place your butterflied chicken drumsticks over the direct heat. Then let the chicken cook for 2-3 minutes per side until they have been well charred and have crispy skin. 

One final, close up shot of the Butterflied Chicken Drumsticks with Jalapeño Lime White Sauce.


I know this is a chicken drumsticks recipe, but can I use chicken breasts or chicken thighs instead? 

Sure, this recipe is all about the flavor from the seasonings and the dipping sauce, so any kind of chicken will still create a delicious meal. Even a whole chicken slathered in the Chipotle BBQ rub would be a great idea! 

Who came up with the Butterflied Chicken Drumstick recipe? 

The Original Butterflied Chicken Drumsticks recipe was created by my good friend Brad Prose from over at Chiles and Smoke. 

​How does butterflying make the chicken taste better? 

Butterflying first helps more of the chicken get covered in seasonings. Next, it helps the chicken to cook more evenly and quickly on the grill. Overall, once you try butterflying your chicken drumsticks, you return to this technique again.

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Butterflied Chicken Drumsticks with Jalapeño Lime White Sauce sitting on a serving plate in front of a fire.

Butterflied Chicken Drumsticks

Butterflied Chicken Drumsticks seasoned, grilled, and then dunked in a jalapeno lime white sauce are so freakin' delicious!
Author:Derek Wolf
4.30 from 34 votes
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Lunch, Main Course, Sauce
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4 People



  • 2-3 lbs Chicken Drumsticks
  • 2 tbsp Canola Oil

Chipotle BBQ Seasoning:

  • 2 tbsp Brown Sugar
  • 1.5 tbsp Chipotle Powder
  • 1.5 tbsp Kosher Salt
  • 1 tbsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tbsp Smoked Paprika
  • 2 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1.5 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1.5 tsp Chile Powder
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • ½ tsp Cayenne

Jalapeño Lime White Sauce:

  • 2 cups Mayonnaise
  • 3/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • ¼ cup Dijon Mustard
  • cup Brown Sugar
  • cup Diced Pickled Jalapeños with juice
  • 2 tbsp Chopped Cilantro
  • 1.5 tbsp Prepared Horseradish
  • 2-3 medium Limes juiced


  • Begin prepping your chicken drumsticks. Using a really sharp knife, slice one area on the drumstick from top to bottom all the way down to the bone. Pull apart the two sides of the slice and begin separating the meat from the bone so that the chicken drumstick is flayed open and flat. Make sure to leave some part of the meat, on the opposite side of the first cut, still connected. Repeat this for all of your drumsticks.
  • In a bowl, mix all the ingredients for the Chipotle BBQ seasoning. Lather your chicken with oil then generously season them. Mix together thoroughly, cover and place in the fridge to marinate for at least 1 hour.
  • Preheat a medium-high heat fire (around 375 degrees F) for two-zone cooking.
  • Mix all the ingredients for your Jalapeno Lime White Sauce and set to the side.
  • Once the fire is ready, place your drumsticks over the direct heat and cook them for 2-3 minutes per side until they have been charred well.
  • Once they have developed a good crust, pull them over the cooler side of the grill and cook until they reach 170 degrees F internal (about 10-15 minutes).
  • Once done, pull them off and let them rest for 1-2 minutes.
  • Right before serving, dip each drumstick right into the Jalapeño Lime White Sauce and enjoy!



Calories: 1185kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 106g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 56g | Monounsaturated Fat: 29g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 187mg | Sodium: 3825mg | Potassium: 690mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 2341IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 99mg | Iron: 3mg

Derek Wolf

Derek is the driving force behind Over the Fire Cooking. He started cooking with live fire in 2016 and decided to start a social media page so his friends and family could follow the journey. Fast forward to today and Over the Fire Cooking has spread across multiple platforms with millions now following Derek's fire cooking journey. He's a southern fellow who enjoys everything from classic BBQ to Central and South American inspired dishes. Whatever he's cooking up, it's guaranteed to be so freakin' delicious!

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    YouTube shorts brought me here. There’s a zillion cooks online but none produce what you demonstrate. As good or better than top tier restaurant food. Yes I’ve had a few fancy-pants dining and steak house experiences. Gonna try your products. Best wishes!

  2. Something has to be way wrong with this sauce recipe. 1.5 CUPS of vinegar?

    Mine is so watery this can’t be right.

    1. Yes this is based on Alabama White Sauce which is a lot thinner then a ranch dressing style sauce. Feel free to make it thicker by using less vinegar and more mayonnaise if you desire for more of a ranch style texture.

  3. Really want to make this but I don’t have any horseradish… Is there a substitute or can I omit it?