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Grilled Thighs and Drumsticks

When Mom makes chicken, this is the way we like it prepared. It's juicy, has great barbecue flavor and makes a big batch, so it's perfect for a summer picnic and family reunions. -Brenda Beachy Belvidere, Tennessee
  • Total Time
    Prep: 10 min. + marinating Grill: 30 min.
  • Makes
    14 servings


  • 2-1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups cider vinegar
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 4 tablespoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons prepared mustard
  • 4-1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Liquid Smoke, optional
  • 10 pounds bone-in chicken thighs and chicken drumsticks
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt


  • In a large bowl, combine the first 11 ingredients. Pour into two large resealable plastic bags; add equal amounts of chicken to each bag. Seal bags and turn to coat; refrigerate overnight.
  • Drain and discard marinade. Prepare grill for indirect heat. Using long-handled tongs, moisten a paper towel with cooking oil and lightly coat the grill rack.
  • Sprinkle chicken with seasoned salt. Grill chicken skin side down, covered, over indirect medium heat for 15-20 minutes on each side or until a thermometer reads 170°-175°.

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Average Rating:
  • susantodd630
    May 24, 2020

    I have made this at least 5 times. I cut the water in half, or don't add it at all. I made it again tonight, and 5 hours later my grill still smells like this chicken and makes me drool. I normally never make a marinade involving brown sugar, but this one is just exceptional. Lots of ingredients, but worth every bit of effort.

  • stjohnj
    Jun 1, 2017

    We are not big fans of chicken legs so I wanted to do something special with the ones I had. I did not have any Liquid Smoke so hopefully that was the explanation for lack of flavor. I marinated for the 24 hours and expected more flavor. Disappointing!

  • zegunism
    Jul 10, 2016

    No comment left

  • dschultz01
    Sep 8, 2015

    This was a great marinade. I cut it in half and used about 5 boneless chicken breasts (still had way too much marinade!). I reserved some of the marinade to use for basting during grilling, and it came out very moist and flavorful.

  • luigimon
    Jun 28, 2014

    This is sooooo good! The flavor is out of this world! We had it with TOH's Old Fashioned Potato Salad and Country Baked Beans. Oh my gosh, the flavors compliment each other so well. Try it all together!!!

  • marrwoman
    Jun 8, 2013

    This chicken marinade is the best. It's like having the barbecue sauce infused into the meat. It's great for a large crowd and very kid friendly. I've made this for several cookouts and always to rave reviews. You won't be disappointed!

  • ValerieMS
    Aug 9, 2012

    No comment left

  • galinthewoods
    Sep 13, 2011

    I made only half of this recipe and it turned out great. The marinade gives the chicken a great flavor when it is first cooked, but when I reheated the leftovers it helped to brush it with a little barbecue sauce.

  • Planetcaravan19f
    Sep 1, 2010

    I used this recipe for some legs and wings I took camping with me. It kept in the cooler very well, and was very tasty!!

  • bjvogt
    Jul 22, 2010

    No comment left