If you are looking for an epic appetizer or the perfect tailgating meal, look no further than these Smoked Chicken Lollipops dipped in homemade Garlic Buffalo Sauce.
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Seasoned with a spicy BBQ seasoning, we will trim off the knuckle meat to make chicken lollipops. Smoked till they are tender, then dipped in a garlicky, spicy but tangy Buffalo-style sauce for a nice kick.
Fun to make and easy to hold, they make for a dope recipe while tailgating.
What are Smoked Chicken Lollipops?
Smoked Chicken Lollipops are some darn good chicken legs, seasoned, smoked to perfection, and served with different sauces. These chicken drumsticks get their name from their lollipop shape.
The meat from the bottom third of the drumstick is trimmed off, leaving a bare bone perfect for holding on to. I like to think of them as a meat-cicle.
Fun fact, did you know that regular chicken legs got their name during the 16th century? The name comes from the leg’s resemblance to a percussion drumstick.
We are serving our chicken lollipops with a mouthwatering garlic butter sauce. But they also go well with pretty much any sauce like, classic BBQ, honey-style glaze, or Alabama White Sauce.
Why You’ll Love Smoked Chicken Lollipop
You will love how easy these Smoked Chicken Lollipops are to make and how you can serve them with any sauce you want.
This is one of those recipes where the majority of the work happens at the beginning due to the prep work needed for the drumsticks. However, once each drumstick has been cleaned and in lollipop form, everything else is smooth sailing.
They are the perfect hand-held meal for a family dinner or a tailgate party! Because of their lollipop shape, there is plenty of exposed bone to grab onto while you enjoy the delicious, flavorful meat at the other end of the bone.
There’s nothing like the smoky flavor and perfectly tenderized meat of this Smoked Chicken Lollipop recipe.
The only thing is, make sure you make plenty because everyone will come back to load up their plates in seconds!
You can also venture into some of our other tasty chicken lollipop recipes: Honey Korean BBQ Chicken Lollipops, Flamin’ Hot Chicken Lollipops, Maple Hot Chicken Lollipops and Honey Bacon BBQ Chicken Lollipops.
Smoked Chicken Lollipops Ingredients
- Chicken Drumsticks
- Canola Oil (or olive oil)
- Kosher Salt
- Garlic Powder
- Smoked Paprika
- Mustard Powder
- Black Pepper
- Onion Powder
- Chile Powder
Garlic Buffalo Sauce: (you can swap this out with a barbecue sauce or any other sauce of your choice)
- Hot Sauce
- White Vinegar
- Minced Garlic
- Unsalted Butter
- Worcestershire Sauce
- Cayenne Powder
- Kosher Salt
How to Make Smoked Chicken Lollipops
- First thing, grab a sharp knife and make a cut about one third of the way done the drumstick toward the knuckle side. Slice around the drumstick and pull off the excess meat/skin until the bone is the only thing showing.
- Trim off any excess tendons, then gently press the meat down to the lower part of the leg to form your “lollipop” or ball of meat at the end. You shouldn’t have to press too hard. We want them to be round Smoked Chicken Lollipops, but not smooshed lollipops.
- Make sure to wrap a small piece of aluminum foil over the bones to prevent burning, if you like. Repeat this step for the rest of the drumsticks until you have formed all your lollipops.
- Next, combine all the ingredients for your seasoning into a mixing bowl, then thoroughly coat the meat. Once each drumstick pop is covered in seasoning, set them aside until you are ready to cook.
- Fire up your smoker to 275 degrees F indirect heat. Then add some additional wood chunks or chips for added smoky flavor.
- Now you’re ready to add the chicken to the smoker (preferably on a smoker wire rack) to cook for about 2-2.5 hours until they reach an internal temperature of 175F.
Garlic Buffalo Sauce
- When the chicken is close to being done, add a small saucepan with your butter and let it melt. Next, add your minced garlic and let it brown for 2-2.5 minutes. Finally, add the rest of the garlic buffalo sauce ingredients and let simmer until thickened (about 10-15 minutes).
- Once the mixture has thickened, pull the saucepan off, add to a large cup and carefully dip each lollipop into the sauce until it is evenly coated.
For more with garlic and/or buffalo sauce, check out my Grilled Garlic Butter Picanha, Grilled NY Strips with Garlic Chili Sauce, Cheesy Buffalo Chicken Sliders and Buffalo and Blue Cheese Crusted Ribeyes.
- Allow the excess glaze to drain off, and place the chicken back on the smoker rack. Repeat for each lollipop, then let cook for 5 more minutes.
- When the chicken is done, remove it from the heat and rest for 2-3 minutes. Now you’re ready to serve and enjoy!
What to Serve with Smoked Chicken Lollipops
Chicken lollipops are so versatile and go well with nearly anything! Serve them up with a side of potatoes, roasted veggies, or coleslaw. No matter what you choose to serve with them, you can’t go wrong!
If you end up with leftovers, you know the drill, store them in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.
Some people like eating leftover chicken cold – that’s totally fine if that’s your thing! If not, you can place your Smoked Chicken Lollipops on a sheet pan and pop them in the oven at 350F until they are warm.
This is a great recipe to toss together for your next backyard barbecue or tailgate. I love chicken drumsticks for their versatility.
I’ve grilled them, skewered them, and beat a drum set with them… kidding! But lollipop chicken drumsticks just might be the best way to serve up some tendering, juicy meat without the messiness of holding a regular drumstick.
If you want all the flavors of a traditional chicken drumstick but none of the mess, our Smoked Chicken Lollipops recipe will leave you full bellies and clean hands.
If you liked this recipe, we’d love to hear about it in the comments!
Smoked Chicken Lollipops
- 2-3 lbs Chicken Drumsticks
- 2 tbsp Canola Oil
- 1.5 tbsp Kosher Salt
- 1 tbsp Garlic Powder
- 1 tbsp Smoked Paprika
- 1 tbsp Mustard Powder
- 2 tsp Black Pepper
- 1.5 tsp Onion Powder
- 1.5 tsp Chile Powder
- ½ tsp Cayenne
Garlic Buffalo Sauce:
- 1 cup Hot Sauce cayenne based
- ⅛ cup White Vinegar
- 3 tbsp Minced Garlic
- 2 tbsp Unsalted Butter
- 1.5 tbsp Honey
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
- 1.5 tsp Cayenne Powder
- Kosher Salt to taste
- Start by making a cut about ⅓ of the way done the drumstick towards the knuckle side.
- Slice all around the drumstick and pull off the excess meat/skin until the bone is the only thing showing.
- Trim off any excess tendons, then press the meat down to form your “lollipop.”
- Wrap a little bit of foil over the bones to prevent burning, if you like.
- Repeat this step for the rest of the drumsticks.
- Add all the ingredients for the seasoning into a bowl (or your favorite bbq seasoning), mix thoroughly and then coat the meat.
- Set aside until ready to cook.
- Preheat your smoker for 275F indirect. Add some additional wood chunks or chips for added flavor.
- Add your chicken to the smoker (preferably on a smoker rack) and cook for about 2-2.5 hours until they reach 175F.
- When the chicken is close to being done, add a saucepan with your butter and let it melt.
- Next, add your minced garlic and let it brown for 2-2.5 minutes.
- Finally, add the rest of the garlic buffalo sauce ingredients and let simmer until thickened (about 10-15 minutes).
- Once thickened, pull the saucepan off, add to a large cup and carefully dip each lollipop into the sauce until it is evenly coated.
- Let the excess glaze drain off and place the chicken back on the smoker rack.
- Repeat for each lollipop, then let cook for 5 more minutes.
- When chicken is done, pull off and rest for 2-3 minutes, serve and enjoy!