Turn off the stovetop and fire up the grill! This Grilled Sticky Chicken is a fun twist on a classic recipe – it’s perfect for summer dinners in the backyard!
As I was sitting down to write this post, I was reminded of the classic grammar puns. Things like, “Early men hunted mammoths armed with spears.” Really? The mammoths had spears? Or “Let’s eat Grandma.” I think that’s supposed to be “Let’s eat, Grandma.” Same 3 words. 2 entirely different meanings.
You see, as I was writing the title to this recipe, I couldn’t decide if it should be “Grilled Sticky Chicken” or “Sticky Grilled Chicken.” Sticky chicken is a thing. It’s usually cooked in a skillet, but I decided to grill it. Thus I went with Grilled Sticky Chicken.
I could have gone the other way and said Sticky Grilled Chicken. However, that connotation is entirely different. It suggests I grilled some chicken and somehow made it sticky. That’s not very descriptive – and honestly not very accurate either.
Grilled Sticky Chicken
The sticky sauce functions as both the marinade as well as a basting sauce while the chicken is on the grill. (Make sure to keep the marinade and sauce separate for food safety purposes. We don’t want to be brushing our grilled chicken with the marinade that touched raw chicken!)
The marinade/sauce is a simple combination of soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar and honey. I added a bit of minced garlic and chopped green onions in there for flavor, but the base is just 4 common ingredients.
Sticky chicken is typically cooked in a skillet on the stovetop. As the sauce simmers, it thickens and becomes quite sticky. I took a different approach this time and fired up the grill instead of using the stovetop. (After all, I look for any and all excuses to turn on the grill!)
This Grilled Sticky Chicken isn’t nearly as sticky as it’s stovetop cousin. I suspect it’s because the sauce drips off through the grill grates rather than simmers in the skillet. Make no mistake – the flavor is still there! I was just surprised when this sticky chicken wasn’t as, well, sticky as I expected. (You still need to serve this chicken with plenty of napkins, though!)
If you’re looking for a fun outdoor recipe this summer, grab a bag of chicken drumsticks and fire up the grill. The grilled flavor combined with the marinade/sauce is absolutely delicious!
You could serve this chicken with roasted veggies (or grilled asparagus) and a side salad. And for dessert, I might suggest something like a peach cobbler or or these individual cherry pies. Take advantage of that summer fruit while you can!
I hope you enjoy this grilled chicken recipe as much as we do! We enjoyed making this with chicken drumsticks, but we’ve also made this same recipe with boneless, skinless chicken breasts. (The only difference is a shorter cooking time for the breasts.) Happy grilling!
Did you make this Grilled Sticky Chicken at home? Leave a comment or snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog) – I’d love to see your version!
Grilled Sticky Chicken
- ½ cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup honey
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- ¼ cup chopped green onions plus more for garnishing
- 2½ – 3 pounds chicken drumsticks
- vegetable oil for grill grates
- sesame seeds lightly toasted, for garnishing
- Using a large bowl, whisk together soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar, honey, garlic and green onions.
- Transfer ¼ cup of the marinade into a smaller bowl; cover and refrigerate.
- Place chicken drumsticks into a large resealable plastic bag. Add remaining marinade, turning until drumsticks are well coated. Refrigerate overnight.
- The next day, preheat grill to medium-high heat (~375°F).
- Once preheated, brush grill grates liberally with oil to prevent chicken from sticking.
- Place drumsticks on grill and discard marinade left in the resealable bag.
- Grill drumsticks, brushing occasionally with the reserved marinade and turning every 3-4 minutes, until fully cooked (~25-30 minutes).
- Garnish with sesame seeds and chopped green onions before serving.
Looking for more grilled chicken recipes? Check out these other favorites, too: