Grilled Paprika Drumsticks

Last Updated on January 14, 2024

Grilled chicken drumsticks are an easy way to please the summer barbecue crowd, especially when you super-charge the flavor by marinating them in a mixture that combines tangy sherry vinegar and both sweet and smoky paprika.

If you’re not familiar with it, there are three types of paprika: Sweet, smoky and hot. Sweet paprika, sometimes sold as just “paprika,” is made from dried and ground sweet peppers, and has a mild, slightly sweet flavor with a hint of a bitter edge. Smoked paprika is made from dried smoked peppers and lends a rich smoky flavor, sometimes with a tinge of heat. Hot paprika, made from dried hot peppers, is spicy. You can swap it in for sweet paprika in recipes where you want to add some heat, or use it in place of cayenne or crushed red pepper flakes. We combine two types in these paprika drumsticks for complex flavor.

Some tips:

  • Keep the heat low. Paprika is one of the stars here, and it burns over high heat.  Take your time here and keep the grill at medium heat.
  • If you’ve never grilled lemons before, you’re in for a treat. Lemons become juicier and a bit sweeter, adding a cool and refreshing hit to the drumsticks. Lemons are best cooked hot and fast, so place those over your grill’s hot spots.
  • You can use bone-in, skin on chicken thighs instead of the drumsticks, if you prefer.

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 minced garlic from about 3 cloves
  • 1 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 2 tsp Diamond Crystal kosher or 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp finely ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 12 ButcherBox Drumsticks defrosted and pat dry thoroughly
  • canola oil for grilling
  • 3 lemons halved
  • Fresh parsley leaves for serving


  • In a large bowl, which together the olive oil, both paprikas, garlic, vinegar, salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes. Add the drumsticks; turn to thoroughly coat each drumstick. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or 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 the grates and lightly slick them with a kitchen rag or brush dipped in canola oil. Lightly brush the lemon halves with canola, sprinkle lightly with salt and set on a baking sheet.
  • Take the drumsticks out of the bowl, wiping off any excess marinade, and place them on the grill. Cook, turning a few times, until golden brown with some char and cooked through (an instant-read thermometer stuck into the thickest part of the meat away from the bone should read 165ºF), 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer the drumsticks to a serving platter and tent with foil to keep warm.
  • Place the lemons, cut sides down, on the grill and cook until charred, about 3 minutes. Transfer to the serving platter; serve immediately.
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