I could eat a Bacon Wrapped Chicken Lollipop for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and I’d be happy! Juicy, perfectly tender chicken drumsticks are liberally seasoned with a homemade BBQ rub, wrapped in bacon, and slow grilled for maximum flavor and the best texture I’ve ever had in a drumstick.
What is Lollipop Chicken?
Lollipop chicken is gaining popularity in the BBQ scene these days, and for good reason. Affordable chicken drumsticks are trimmed right at the bone joint and the chicken is shaped to form little handheld meat lollipops. My version includes a bacon wrap before hitting the grill for a low and slow smoke session.
To add that final touch that will really make these chicken lollipops feel like candy, I baste liberally with a super sweet and shiny BBQ glaze. You can use your favorite competition style BBQ sauce, but my absolute favorite sauce for these chicken lollipops is my homemade Whiskey Peach BBQ Sauce. It is just thin enough to thoroughly coat the chicken lollipops while letting that smoked bacon shine through.
How to Make Chicken Lollipops
Step 1: Trimming your drumsticks for lollipop chicken
There are two methods for getting your chicken lollipops ready for the grill. Some people use kitchen shears to snip through the skin and connective tissue right at the base of the meat and then remove the skin leaving the bone joint in tact. You can see exactly what that method looks like HERE in my Honey Garlic Chicken Lollipops recipe.
My current favorite way to prepare them now is to use a sharp knife and cut clean through the bone right below the joint. From there you simply push the skin and meat down from the bone so the bone is exposed. Once your bones are exposed, you can wrap them in foil to prevent the bone from turning dark during the smoking process.
Step 2: Wrapping your chicken lollipop in bacon
I recommend using regular bacon for this recipe, nothing too thick or thin. As you wrap your bacon, make sure to tuck the ends of the bacon pieces into the bacon above it. This prevents the ends from coming loose during the smoking process. If you aren’t confident in your bacon end tucking abilities, go ahead and use a toothpick to secure the bacon.
Step 3: Chicken lollipop on the smoker
Once your lollipops are seasoned and bacon wrapped, it’s time to cook! I make these in my smoker for a little extra flavor. If you don’t have a smoker, you can cook these on your regular grill over indirect heat (no flame underneath) or in your oven. Just make sure the grease has a place to go so your lollipops aren’t sitting in that liquid and you’re not getting constant flare-ups from the fat dripping down. I cook my chicken lollipops at 225 degrees F and I like to use apple or hickory wood in my smoker.
Use an internal thermometer to check the temperature of your drumsticks (I like this $29 instant read Thermopop from Thermoworks). When the internal temperature reaches 135 degrees F, increase the heat in your grill to 375 degrees F to finish rendering and crisping the bacon. Once the internal temperature of your chicken lollipop reaches 175 degrees F, it’s time to glaze! You can use whatever BBQ sauce you like, but shoot for something sweet and on the thinner side. They’re called lollipops after all, so they should look nice and shiny! My absolute favorite sauce for this is my Whiskey Peach BBQ Sauce. It’s just sweet and shiny enough to look beautiful on these lollipops.
Normally with chicken you are aiming for an internal temperature of 165 degrees, but with drumsticks I like to grill to 185 degrees F. After you glaze the lollipops, close the lid and allow the chicken to continue cooking. The meat will still be incredibly juicy and the higher temperature will break down some of the connective tissue in the drumstick so you don’t end up with any stringy or chewy pieces.
Bacon Wrapped Chicken Lollipop Recipe Video
In case you wanted a little more in-depth look at exactly how I made my Bacon Wrapped Chicken Lollipops, check out my Youtube Video! I post a new instructional BBQ and grilling recipe each week, so be sure to click over to YouTube and subscribe to my channel!
- 6 chicken drumsticks
- 2 Tablespoons Hey Grill Hey’s Sweet BBQ Rub link in recipe notes
- 6 strips bacon
- 1/2 cup Whiskey Peach BBQ sauce link in recipe notes
Preheat your grill or smoker for indirect cooking at 225 degrees F.
Prepare your drumsticks by using a sharp knife to cut off the end of the drumstick leg, just under the bone joint. Press the meat down, away from the end of the exposed bone so the bone forms a handle for the lollipop.
Season the chicken meat on all sides with the sweet rub. Wrap each drumstick in a piece of bacon and either tuck the ends of the bacon or secure with a toothpick. Wrap the exposed bones tightly with a strip of aluminum foil.
Place the chicken lollipops on the grill and cook until they reach an internal temperature (not touching the bone with the thermometer) of 135 degrees F. At this point, increase the heat in your grill to 375 degrees F to crisp the bacon.
Close the lid and continue cooking until the internal temperature reaches 175 degrees F. Brush the lollipops on all sides of the meat with BBQ sauce. Close the lid and continue cooking until you reach an internal temperature of 185 degrees F.
Remove the lollipops to a serving platter or cutting board and allow to rest for 10 minutes before removing the foil from the bones and serving.
Hey Grill Hey Sweet Rub: https://heygrillhey.com/recipe/best-sweet-rub-grilled-pork-chicken/
Whiskey Peach BBQ Sauce: https://heygrillhey.com/recipe/whiskey-peach-barbecue-sauce/