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How to Cook Barbecue Chicken Drumsticks in a Slow Cooker

by M.H. Dyer

Chicken drumsticks cooked in a slow cooker provide a tangy, sweet and spicy meal for a casual get-together or picnic. Preparation doesn't get much easier -- put the sauce and drumsticks in the slow cooker in the morning, then let the mixture cook to savory perfection. Provide plenty of napkins, because these meaty drumsticks, best eaten with the fingers, are messy. For an even easier dish, save time by using your favorite bottled barbecue sauce.

Place the drumsticks in the slow cooker.

Heat a small amount of butter or cooking oil in a skillet, then saute minced garlic and chopped onion for about three minutes, or until the garlic and onion are tender. Place the garlic and onion in the slow cooker.

Mix barbecue sauce ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Start with ketchup and apple cider vinegar or apple juice, then blend in small amounts of maple syrup, molasses or honey. Season the sauce with salt and pepper and flavorings such as hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce or mustard.

Pour the barbecue sauce over the drumsticks. Cook the mixture on low heat for six to eight hours or on high for three to four hours. The drumsticks are done when a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a drumstick registers at least 180 degrees Fahrenheit.

Transfer the drumsticks to a serving plate. Skim the fat off the surface of the barbecue sauce, if necessary, then pour the sauce over the drumsticks. You can also serve the drumsticks directly from the slow cooker.

Items you will need
  • Butter or cooking oil
  • Skillet
  • Minced garlic
  • Chopped onion
  • Ketchup and apple cider vinegar or apple juice
  • Maple syrup, molasses or honey
  • Salt and pepper
  • Hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce or mustard
  • Meat thermometer
  • Serving plate

Tips

  • If the barbecue sauce is thin at the end of cooking time, transfer it to a saucepan. Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 10 minutes. Pour the thickened sauce over the drumsticks.
  • Minced garlic and chopped onion are optional and can be omitted.

About the Author

M.H. Dyer began her writing career as a staff writer at a community newspaper and is now a full-time commercial writer. She writes about a variety of topics, with a focus on sustainable, pesticide- and herbicide-free gardening. She is an Oregon State University Master Gardener and Master Naturalist and holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction writing.

Photo Credits

  • Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images