Grilled Sticky Chicken
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:
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cant wait to make this soon for me can i use tofu or mushrooms can i use my air fryer for this i never had grilled sticky chicken before perfect for my after office meals love your recipes as always brightens up my day everyday after work
I think this recipe could work well with tofu, Ramya! I haven’t tried it myself, but I suspect the sauce will really bring a lot of flavor to the tofu. Give it a try!
Delicius recipe, thank you! Wishes from Lithuania!
Thank you so much!
I love this! I like that they’re both grilled AND sticky!
Exactly! The chicken is grilled and sticky…so that’s where the naming conundrum came in. 🙂 Thanks, Mimi!
words and grammar are fascinating. your chicken sounds great- either sticky and/or grilled 🙂
I’m with ya, Sherry! I do get a kick out of odd grammar things like this. Either way, this chicken is grilled, sticky and delicious! 🙂
Haha, I totally get you on the naming conundrum! I have a recipe that I couldn’t decide between Pizza Waffles and Waffle Pizzas… lol! But this chicken, no matter how you name it looks incredibly delicious!!
Hah – I’m with ya! No matter whether it’s Pizza Waffles or Waffle Pizzas, I’m pretty sure I would be all in. 🙂 Cheers, Michelle!
Great recipe thanks David, we love doing this kind of combination with chicken wings for parties as well, in the oven even. It’s still too cold at night for us to contemplate going outside to use our barbecue, unless we do it early, but when Summer arrives I’ll try your sticky drumsticks, thanks so much.
Hopefully grilling season will be coming soon for you, Pauline! I totally know what you mean though – we recently moved from New York down to North Carolina, so I’m hoping my grilling season lasts a lot longer (and returns sooner!) down here. 🙂 Definitely keep this recipe handy for when those warmer nights return!
I grilll a *lot* of chicken in the summer and am always looking for different kinds of marinades. This one sounds really tasty. Will definitely give it go!
I hear ya, Frank – chicken is often on our menu here, too. Definitely put this one on your radar! And if you’re looking for more inspiration, try this one, too – it’s an old recipe, but it’s one of our standby’s when it comes to grilled chicken! https://spicedblog.com/copycat-chilis-chicken-fajitas/
I’m loving the great weather we’re having here in Scotland at the moment which has meant the BBQ has been out A LOT more than usual. Beginning to run out of recipes for the BBQ so this has come at exactly the right time and sounds absolutely delicious. Plus I think I have all the ingredients on hand. Love a sticky chicken recipe. Even better if it’s grilled! Thank you!
That’s awesome that the weather over the there is good right now! We’re hot here, but we’re finally getting used to it. The grill in the new house is right out on the deck, and I’ve been out there almost every night! This recipe was definitely a favorite – plus, chicken drumsticks are just fun to eat! 🙂 Cheers, Neil!
I must be living under a rock, because I’ve never had sticky chicken, grilled or no! It sounds fantastic, and i love that the marinade ingredients are so simple. I’ll bet it’s a great combination. Happy grilling!
No way are you living under a rock, Jeff! Upper reaches of Michigan next to a wild blueberry patch? Perhaps. But rock? Nope. This is a fantastic grilled chicken recipe! It’s great indoors, too, but I think I prefer the grilled version – shocker, right? 🙂
Oh man, does this ever look good! Love those grill marks and it just looks PACKED with flavour! We’ve been having lots of nice, sunny days this summer, and this is grilled sticky chicken is just the kinda thing I want. Perfect with a side salad!
This grilled chicken recipe does indeed have SO much flavor, Dawn. I enjoy ‘regular’ sticky chicken, but I have to say that this grilled version wins. Plus, it’s just fun eating drumsticks!
Amen to turning off the stovetop and firing up the grill – especially for this mouthwatering sticky chicken! I bet it’s amazing cold too (but good luck having any left over, right?) I love a good grammar pun and, true story, we were in a hotel elevator the other day and the slogan was: “Whatever floor you’re on, our service is on another level.”…lol.
Hah – that is a good pun, Marissa! I hope you guys were visiting somewhere fun! 🙂 Once you get back home, put this grilled sticky chicken on the list. It’s pretty fantastic! And I like where you’re going with the cold grilled drumsticks. Next time…next time!
I’m all about grilling right now. It’s just too hot in the house to cook. This sticky sauce/glaze sounds delish. We’ve got plenty of summer left so I’m sure this will be a regular for us for the next several weeks.
I hear ya, Kathy – I think our grill has been on for the last 5 nights straight! 🙂 This grilled sticky chicken has fantastic flavor, and it’s a fun way to mix up grillin’ nights. Give it a try!