Grilled Paprika Drumsticks

Last Updated on September 17, 2023

Grilled chicken drumsticks are an easy way to please the summer barbecue crowd, especially when marinated with a tangy sherry vinegar and sweet yet smoky paprika mixture like in this recipe. If you’re not familiar with it, paprika has multiple lanes. Sweet paprika is just that: sweet. It’s made from dried and ground sweet peppers, usually bell peppers or other mild chile peppers. On the other hand, smoked paprika, also known as pimentón, is made from dried, smoked peppers. Smoked paprika is available in varying levels of heat but generally has a slightly spicy kick. If you’re a spice connoisseur, companies like Burlap & Barrel source multiple kinds of sustainably farmed and fresh paprikas.

A couple practical notes: This recipe calls for grilling the drumsticks at a lower temp. Why? That’s because, albeit an amazing spice, paprika can go from delicious and flavorful to charred and burnt over a very high heat, so take your time here and use less charcoal or just turn the gas down a bit. If you’ve never grilled lemons before, you’re in for a treat. Lemons become juicier and a bit sweeter, helping cool and refresh the drumsticks. Lemons are best cooked hot and fast, so place those over your grill’s hot spots.

Grilled Paprika Drumsticks

4.25 from 4 votes
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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tbsp sweet paprika
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped or grated garlic
  • 1 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 2 tsp Diamond Crystal kosher or 1 teaspoon fine
  • sea salt
  • 1 tsp finely ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp dried chili flakes
  • 12 ButcherBox Drumsticks defrosted and patted very dry
  • canola oil for grilling
  • 3 lemons halved
  • fresh parsley leaves for serving


  • In a large bowl place the olive oil, paprikas, garlic, vinegar, salt, black pepper and chili flakes. Whisk to combine and add the drumsticks. Toss to coat each drumstick really well and let sit in the fridge for at least 2 hours but up to overnight.
  • Thirty minutes before you’re ready to cook, take the drumsticks out of the fridge. Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for medium heat, making sure to clean grates and lightly slick them with a kitchen rag or brush dipped in canola oil. Lightly brush the lemon halves with canola and set on a sheet pan.
  • Take the drumsticks out of the bowl, wiping off any excess marinade as best as you can, and place them on the grill. Turn a few times as needed to evenly cook. Once they are golden brown, with some char and cooked through (165ºF), transfer them to the sheet pan with the lemons. Place the lemons, cut side down, on the grill and cook until charred. Transfer back to the sheet pan with the chicken.
  • Serve the paprika drumsticks immediately.
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