Bacon Wrapped BBQ Chicken Lollipops

Bacon Wrapped BBQ Chicken Lollipops

David and I made these bacon wrapped BBQ chicken lollipops last weekend and I’m here to tell you, they are fittin’!

So, what exactly is a chicken lollipop you ask?

The chicken lollipop is a clever name for a “frenched” chicken leg. “Frenched” is a culinary term which is a fancy way to describe the process of cutting away meat, fat, and membranes from the bone for esthetic presentation. Most any type of meat can be “Frenched” in some way.

BBQ chicken lollipops on the grill

Chicken Lollipops are created by cutting the meat, skin, and membrane lose from the small end of the bone. The meat is then pushed down creating a “lollipop” look. The leg bone is left clean and creates the “stick”.

For this recipe, the chicken lollipops are seasoned with a nice sweet and spicy poultry dry rub. After the meat is seasoned, the lollipops are wrapped in a strip of bacon. The lollipops are smoked for almost two hours before they are basted in a well-balanced, rich and smooth, classic barbecue sauce. The tender juicy lollipops are sweet and mildly spicy with a nice rich smoke flavor.

lollipops on the grill

Get your napkins ready because these bad boys are dripping with nothing but goodness! BBQ chicken lollipops are perfect for grilling out at home while hanging out in your backyard, but I also thought you would enjoy this recipe for the upcoming holiday weekend or your next summer cookout.

One thing for sure, BBQ chicken lollipops are a sure-fire crowd pleaser (pun intended). Kids and grownups will love this easy to eat finger food. They make a great appetizer or they can be served as a main course. Not to mention they are an inexpensive way to treat a crowd. But make sure you make enough because these BBQ chicken lollipops are going to go fast!

bbq chicken lollipops prepped for the grill

How To Make Bacon Wrapped BBQ Chicken Lollipops

What You’ll Need:

The Smoking Wood:

David used applewood to smoke the chicken lollipops. He chose applewood because of its sweet subtle flavor and because I prefer it over hickory. Feel free to use any type of wood you like, but I cannot imagine these lollipops being any better than they already were.

Soak about 3 cups of the applewood chips in water for about 30-minutes before lighting the grill.

Fire up the Grill or Smoker:

The BBQ chicken lollipops do not require long hours of smoke, so David opted to use his Weber Performer grill to smoke the meat. This is a kettle-style grill he set up for indirect heat. You can use any smoker or grill as long as it is set up for indirect cooking.

Preheat the grill to about 250 to 300 degrees F. To maintain this low temperature, use a combination of charcoal and soaked applewood, but use only half as much charcoal as usual. (A half chimney-full.)

a cut chicken lollipop

Prepare the Drumsticks:

Using a sharp knife cut off the end of each chicken leg, just before the bone joint. Remove the chicken skin and discard.

Press the meat down, away from the end with the exposed cut bone. You know have a “lollipop”.

Repeat this procedure for the rest of the drumsticks.

cutting off the joint

Some recipes say to leave the bone joint on and cut the skin and tendons away from it. However, David found the process much easier to just make a clean break, cutting the joint off completely. This makes the skin and meat easier to remove from the handle of the “lollipop”.

A sharp knife is the best tool for the job. David found that using kitchen shears made the bone shatter, causing bits of the bone to break off.

The Poultry Dry Rub:

Combine all the ingredients for the rub in a small bowl (make sure to work out any clumps of the brown sugar for even distribution) and stir to mix.

Generously season the meat of the “lollipops” with the poultry dry rub.

Reserve any leftover dry rub. Store in an airtight container with a lid for up to a year.

David prepping bbq chicken lollipops

The Bacon:

It is best if you use a regular cut of bacon for the chicken lollipops. We didn’t realize the bacon we had in the refrigerator was a thick cut. The regular cut of bacon will work best and crisp up without any chewiness.

Wrap each drumstick with a strip of bacon. You can either tuck the end of the bacon or secure the strips with small metal turkey lacers or wooden toothpicks.

David and I have been using small metal turkey lacers for years instead of toothpicks. They are great to have around and you can reuse them. Toothpicks will burn and sometimes can get lost in the meat. You can grab a dozen from Amazon for under $10. Click HERE to get some.

foil wrapped bones

Finally, wrap the exposed bones tightly with a small piece of aluminum foil. This will keep the leg bone from charring and will give it a more appetizing presentation.

Place the chicken lollipops on the rack of the preheated grill over indirect heat, making sure the lollipops are standing on their ends. Cover with the lid and cook lollipops maintaining a temperature of about 250 degrees F, until they reach an internal temperature of about 175 to 180 degrees F using an instant-read thermometer; about 1 hour 45 minutes.

lollipops on grill

Prepare the Classic Barbecue Sauce:

Meanwhile, prepare the sauce. Whisk all of the ingredients together and bring to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Once the sauce comes to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and let the sauce cool, until needed.

checking meat with Thermoworks thermometer
Love our Instant-Read Thermometer!

Saucing the BBQ Chicken Lollipops:

When the internal temperature of the meat is between 175 and 180 degrees F, brush the lollipops with the classic barbecue sauce. Close the lid and continue to cook until the internal temperature is about 185 degrees F, basting with barbecue sauce occasionally; about 15 more minutes.

It may seem like the chicken would be dry at such a high temperature, but with the help of that juicy bacon, and luxurious sauce the meat stays perfectly juicy. The higher temperature also helps to break down some of the connective tissues so the meat is not chewy.

Serving the BBQ Chicken Lollipops:

Remove the lollipops and transfer to a serving platter. Allow them to rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Serve with extra dipping sauce, if desired.

sauced chicken lollipops

What to serve with the BBQ Chicken Lollipops?

BBQ chicken lollipops are chicken drumsticks seasoned with a dry rub, wrapped in bacon and smoked with barbecue sauce. An inexpensive way to please a crowd!

If you’re looking for a fun and exciting way to take ordinary chicken drumsticks to the next level, you need this recipe!

Enjoy!

BBQ chicken lollipops are chicken drumsticks seasoned with a dry rub, wrapped in bacon and smoked with barbecue sauce. An inexpensive way to please a crowd!
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Bacon Wrapped BBQ Chicken Lollipops

BBQ chicken lollipops are chicken drumsticks seasoned with a dry rub, wrapped in bacon and smoked with barbecue sauce. An inexpensive way to please a crowd!
Course Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine American, BBQ
Keyword bacon wrapped, bbq, Chicken Lollipops
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 20 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 775kcal
Author Debbie Spivey

Ingredients

  • 12 chicken drumsticks
  • 1 ½ tablespoons poultry dry rub recipe to follow
  • 12 slices bacon regular cut
  • 1 ½ cups Classic BBQ Sauce recipe to follow

Poultry Dry Rub:

  • ¼ cup brown sugar packed
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 3 teaspoons mustard powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper

Classic Barbecue Sauce:

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • ¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon mustard powder
  • ½ tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika

Instructions

The Smoking Wood:

  • Soak about 3 cups of the applewood chips in water for about 30-minutes before lighting the grill.

Fire up the Grill or Smoker:

  • Set up the grill or smoker for indirect cooking.
    Preheat the grill to about 250 to 300 degrees F. To maintain this low temperature, use a combination of charcoal and soaked applewood, but use only half as much charcoal as usual. (A half chimney-full.)

Prepare the Drumsticks:

  • Using a sharp knife cut off the end of each chicken leg, just before the bone joint. Remove the chicken skin and discard.
    Press the meat down, away from the end with the exposed cut bone. You know have a “lollipop”.
    Repeat this procedure for the rest of the drumsticks.

The Poultry Dry Rub:

  • Combine all the ingredients for the rub in a small bowl (make sure to work out any clumps of the brown sugar for even distribution) and stir to mix.
    Generously season the meat of the “lollipops” with the poultry dry rub.

The Bacon:

  • Wrap each drumstick with a strip of bacon. You can either tuck the end of the bacon or secure the strips with small metal turkey lacers or wooden toothpicks.
  • Wrap the exposed bones tightly with a small piece of aluminium foil. This will keep the leg bone from charring and will give it a more appetizing presentation.
    Place the chicken lollipops on the rack of the preheated grill over indirect heat, making sure the lollipops are standing on their ends. Cover with the lid and cook lollipops maintaining a temperature of about 250 degrees F, until they reach an internal temperature of about 175 to 180 degrees F using a instant-read thermometer; about 1 hour 45 minutes.

Prepare the Classic Barbecue Sauce:

  • Meanwhile, prepare the sauce. Whisk all of the ingredients together and bring to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Once the sauce comes to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
    Remove from heat and let the sauce cool, until needed.

Sauce the Lollipops:

  • When the internal temperature of the meat is between 175 and 180 degrees F, brush the lollipops with the classic barbecue sauce. Close the lid and continue to cook until the internal temperature is about 185 degrees F, basting with barbecue sauce occasionally; about 15 more minutes.
  • Remove the lollipops and transfer to a serving platter. Allow them to rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Notes

A sharp knife works best to cut off the end of the drumstick bone.
It is best if you use a regular cut of bacon for the chicken lollipops. We didn’t realize the bacon in the refrigerator was a thick cut. The regular cut of bacon will work best and crisp up without any chewiness.
Reserve any leftover dry rub. Store in an airtight container with a lid for up to a year.
It may seem like the chicken would be dry at such a high temperature, but with the help of that juicy bacon, and luxurious sauce the meat stays perfectly juicy. The higher temperature also helps to break down some of the connective tissues so the meat is not chewy.

Nutrition

Calories: 775kcal | Carbohydrates: 83g | Protein: 35g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 168mg | Sodium: 3170mg | Potassium: 955mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 69g | Vitamin A: 2665IU | Vitamin C: 2.2mg | Calcium: 120mg | Iron: 4.5mg
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