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.
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.
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.
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