These Beer Marinated Grilled Drumsticks are a simple masterpiece. A straightforward, budget-friendly recipe that’s made for the grill and perfect for feeding a crowd. These little drummies are juicy, charred to perfection and are loaded with smooth, dark beer caramel flavors. I swear to you, you’re in for the BEST beer marinated chicken recipe on the internet!
Love a good, comforting chicken recipe? Add Canja de Galinha – Brazilian Chicken and Rice Soup to your menu!
To say I’m royally obsessed with this beer marinated grilled drumsticks recipe is a legit understatement.
First, it combines two things I love: beer marinated chicken legs—drumsticks to be precise—and it’s charred to perfection on the grill! Booyahhh!
Second, all you really need to make it are a few ingredients – paprika, brown sugar, barbecue sauce, olive oil, lotsa garlic (or that Brazilian sofrito I know you have in your fridge, riiiiight!?), and of course, the beer—which we’ll talk more about in just a minute.
All in all, these grilled chicken drummies are a pretty frugal recipe that taste like a million bucks!
The simple beer marinade imparts the caramel undertones of the dark beer we’ll use, and that, amigos, makes the perfect combination of flavors for dark meat chicken!
Besides adding flavor, marinating with beer also gives the chicken a moist, and tender texture, too. You know why? Because the enzymes in the beer help break down tough fibers in meat to make it extra tender.
I feel like this is all that needs to be said about these grilled drumsticks, but then I’d be cheating you from the real truth about this recipe, which is… it ain’t mine! *plays novela-style dramatic music*
About this beer marinated grilled drumsticks recipe
Well, well, well… My brother Vitor is the person responsible for this delicious beer marinated grilled drumsticks recipe. He’s one of our family’s OG barbecuers, or churrasqueiro as we say in Portuguese, and no culinary degree and professional kitchen experience will stop me from asking his excellent advice on all things grilled. He’s good at it, meus amigos… real good!
Another thing you should know about my brother is that he’s a Sommelier, and beer specialist—like, for reals. He opened the very first bar in his town specializing primarily in artisanal beers—and he grew it to become the best local bar.
While he’s passed on the bar ownership torch to new owners to take on his life’s most important role of being a full-time stay at home dad, you can rest assured the man knows a thing or two about the subject at hand.
What kind of beer works best for this marinade?
Originally, my brother created his beer marinated grilled drumsticks recipe with Xingú, a Brazilian black lager beer. Since I can’t get my hands on that here in the U.S., he suggested I use Modelo Negra. If you can’t find Modelo Negra, any other Dunkel-style “dark” lager or Schwarzbier will work in this recipe, too.
Overall, we’re looking for a medium-bodied dark lager that’s fresh and smooth, and ideally, has some sweet notes in it. If you don’t know about lagers, ask someone in the beer section of your preferred beverage store to point you in the right direction.
Tips for making the Best Beer Marinated Chicken EVAH!
Brazilian Kitchen Abroad is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
Use a bowl. In this recipe, we have a lot of marinating liquid, making it challenging to find the right size bag, let alone make sure it sits properly in the fridge. Because of this, I prefer to use a bowl. (Also, God forbid that bag breaks in your fridge! You’d be cursing me out for weeks, and I want none of that. K? K.) Make sure you use a bowl that is large enough to accommodate all the drumsticks plus the marinade (this 4-quart/4-liter bowl is the one I use).
Prepare the marinade. In a separate bowl, combine the barbecue sauce, sugar, paprika, olive oil and garlic. Next, pour in the beer and whisk to combine. Notice we’re not using any salt in this marinade. We’ll salt it Brazilian-style with sal grosso style rock salt only when it’s time to grill.
Marinate the chicken. Place the drumsticks in your large bowl of choice and pour the beer marinade over them. Gently toss to coat them all, and try to get them as submerged in the liquid as possible. Then, cover the bowl with kitchen wrap (I really love the Glad press’n seal for this!), and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or preferably overnight – which is what I do.
Grilled Drumsticks: Tips for how to grill chicken legs
Prep the chicken. Take the chicken drumsticks out of the fridge about an hour before you plan on grilling them, and drain/discard the marinade. This will ensure the meat isn’t all the way cold when it hits the grill and will help make sure it cooks evenly. Be sure to leave the drumsticks in the bowl so that you can season them with salt shortly.
Prep the grill. When you’re ready, preheat your grill and finally, add in the grilling salt to the chicken, mixing with your hands to coat.
Grill, baby, grill. Lay your chicken drumsticks on the hot grill so that they are evenly spaced and over direct heat. Cook, turning every 5 or so minutes, for about 30 minutes, or until they are charred to perfection and reach an internal temperature of 165F degrees on an instant read thermometer.
What to serve with grilled drumsticks?
Just about anything pairs well with these! Tasty beer marinated chicken drumsticks would be great served along with any of your typical barbecue side dishes like potato salad, pasta salads, coleslaw, or even a nice bean salad.
More grilling recipes you’ll love:
Beer Marinated Grilled Drumsticks
- 4 pounds chicken drumsticks
- 12 ounces Dunkel-style "dark" lager such as Modelo Negra
- 3 Tablespoons Brazilian Sofrito, or 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 Tablespoon paprika
- 1 cup barbecue sauce
- 1 Tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- sal grosso style rock salt for grilling
For the Marinade:
- In a large bowl, combine the garlic, the paprika, the barbecue sauce, the brown sugar, the olive oil and whisk to combine.
- Next, add in the beer and whisk to combine.
- Add in the chicken drumsticks and stir gently to make sure they're all submerged in the marinade.
- Cover the bowl with kitchen wrap, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or preferably overnight.
- About an hour before you intend to grill the drumsticks, remove the bowl from the fridge, and pour out the marinade and discard. Leave the drumsticks in the bowl.
- Preheat your grill.
- Immediately before grilling, add in the grilling salt to the chicken drumsticks and mix to combine with your hands or tongs.
- Lay your chicken drumsticks on the grill so that they are evenly spaced and over direct heat. Cook, turning every 5 or so minutes, for about 30 minutes, or until they are charred to perfection and reach an internal temperature of 165F degrees on an instant read thermometer.