Slow Cooker

Slow-Cooker Bourbon BBQ Chicken Drumsticks

March  7, 2021
12 Ratings
Photo by Meredith Corporation
  • Cook time 5 hours 5 minutes
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

Excerpted from Better Homes and Gardens Fast or Slow © 2018 by Meredith Corporation. Photography © 2018 by Meredith Corporation. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved. —Food52

What You'll Need
  • Bourbon BBQ sauce
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 3 tablespoons bourbon or apple juice
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Chicken drumsticks
  • 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 8 chicken drumsticks, skinned, if desired
  • Celery and carrot sticks (optional)
  1. For the bourbon BBQ sauce, in a small saucepan combine the first six ingredients (through red pepper flakes). Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer 5 minutes. Reserve about half the sauce for serving.
  2. For the chicken drumsticks, in a small bowl combine the next six ingredients (through black pepper). Rub seasoning over drumsticks.
  3. Place drumsticks in a 3 1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker. Drizzle remaining sauce over chicken, gently stirring to coat. Cover; cook on low 5 to 6 hours or high 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until chicken is tender. Serve drumsticks with reserved bourbon BBQ sauce.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Emrie Tomaiko
    Emrie Tomaiko
  • Jonathan David Pittard
    Jonathan David Pittard
  • Jamie B.
    Jamie B.
  • Eric Kim
    Eric Kim

13 Reviews

meme S. August 8, 2022
Quick, easy & delish! We like it saucy so I doubled the BBQ sauce, and used crush garlic. It turned out YUM!
brushjl June 30, 2022
I thought the cooking time was perfect. Just enough for the sauce to caramelize making for almost lacquered drumsticks, yum! I used a rib I had on hand, turns out it was pretty peppery. I also used stocky fingers Memphis style barbecue sauce, cuz I wanted to use it up, and it worked really well.
Emrie T. March 7, 2021
Super easy and tasty. I think next time I'll double the BBQ sauce recipe and just drench these bad boys.
Jonathan D. August 18, 2019
Has anyone modified this bad boy for instant pot? Wondering if I can speed up the slow cooking time by using it, but afraid to just "wing it" haha
Jamie B. August 31, 2019
Try this! Add 1 cup chicken broth or water to the bottom of your Instant Pot. Place the pot rack on top. Once you season the drumsticks, place them meat side down in the pot. Cook on Poultry or Manual setting on high pressure for 22 minutes. Naturally release with the warming feature turned off for 15 minutes after cooking and then flip to quick release.
Place drumsticks on a lined cookie sheet and brush with BBQ Sauce.
Broil for 2-5 minutes (watching closely) on each side.
Sarah R. June 21, 2019
A good recipe for weeknights in warm weather. I cooked the chicken on high for one hour and then switched to low to finish it, about two more hours (I used six drumsticks). I used about 3/4 cup of sauce in the cooker with a few tablespoons of water and didn't serve the reserved sauce - they were very saucy! Meat fell off the bone. Served with kale slaw and mac & cheese. Probably will make again this summer!
Ann June 12, 2019
I did remove the skin, but that’s optional. I was afraid it would be too greasy. My chicken was not dry at all, despite doing so, but would have been completely over-cooked if I left it in the slow cooker for as long as the recipe suggests.
Bombsquad6889 August 10, 2023
So how long did you cook it for on what setting that it did not overcook?
Tamera June 12, 2019
Did you skin your chicken?
Emrie T. March 7, 2021
I didn't! Wasn't too greasy either
Ann June 11, 2019
Not a fan. Wanted to love these but they were a no. Too sweet, too much sauce per drumstick—and we are sauce fanatics—and simmering even finely chopped onions for 5 minutes doesn’t cook them enough (so the reserved sauce has rather crunchy onions.) Also, my meat was cooked in less than 4 hrs on low. Glad I checked when I did. They weren’t awful but no repeat performances.
Joe June 10, 2019
Can you explain "through red paper flakes"
Eric K. June 10, 2019
Hi Joe! It just means "from ketchup through red pepper flakes" (so the first 6 ingredients listed).

1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
3 tablespoons bourbon or apple juice
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes