Grilled Buffalo Drumsticks on a Pellet Grill

One of my all time favorite meats to throw on the grill is chicken drumsticks.

Drumsticks don’t get the attention they deserve in the barbecue community for the simple reason of they are not “sexy”.   Drumsticks are cheap and easy to cook which, seems to me, is a perfect combination.

Especially when you baste them with a bunch of Buffalo sauce right before they come off the grill!!

Hot and Fast Grilled Drumsticks

Keep reading and I will show you exactly how easy it is to make these amazing grilled drumsticks on your pellet grill!

Prepare the Drumsticks for the Grill

Getting the drumsticks ready for the grill is a two step process.  First we brine the legs and then we apply a little seasoning to the skin.

Easy, peasy!

Brine the Drumsticks

A lot of folks don’t want to go through the hassle of brining chicken but, trust me, it makes a huge difference in how juicy they are in the end.

Start with a basic brine, add it to a one gallon Ziploc bag, and place the drumsticks into the brine.

Basic Brine

  • 1 quart water
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

Let the legs brine in the refrigerator for 2-4 hours.

Remove the chicken from the brine, rinse under cold water and pat dry with paper towels.

Season the Drumsticks

We are going with the absolute bare minimum of seasoning on the drumsticks.  The meat has already been flavored by the brine and the skin is going to get coated with Buffalo sauce later.  The seasoning we stick on the skin now will have little impact on the final flavor.

Dry Rub

  • 1 tbls Morton Season Salt
  • 1 tbls black pepper

If you don’t have Seasoned Salt then regular table salt will work fine.  Lightly coat the drumsticks with the dry rub.

Seasoned Chicken Drumsticks

Grill the Drumsticks With Your Pellet Grill On High

Crank your pellet grill to its highest setting.

I was using a Z Grills 1000 Series which tops out at 450F.  Depending on if you are using a Traeger, Pit Boss or Camp Chef you will probably have a different High temp.

It doesn’t matter which grill you have…crank it to High! Don’t worry too much about the exact temperature.  For example, in another post I shared I grilled the chicken legs at 375F on my pellet grill and they came out amazing.

Pellet Grill at 450F

This is going to be a fast cook at high temperatures so I do not believe the choice of wood pellets is going to make any difference.  I was using Royal Oak Charcoal pellets and the flavor was very neutral.

Get the drumsticks on the grill, close the lid, and flip them every 10 minutes.

After about 20 minutes the skin will split and that little leg tendon will pop up like Nature’s little built in thermometer!

Chicken is close to done

Baste the Drumsticks with Buffalo Sauce

After 20 minutes of grilling it is time to hit the drumsticks in Buffalo sauce.

I was using Sweet Baby Ray’s Wing Sauce for this cook and liked the product.

Sweet Baby Ray Wing Sauce

If you would like to make your own wing sauce then here is a great recipe we use for smoked wings:

Buffalo Sauce

  • 1 stick of butter (8 tbls, melted)
  • 12 ounce bottle Frank’s Hot Sauce
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika

I debated whether to baste the sauce onto the drumsticks while they were on the grill or if I should take them off the grill and dunk them into the sauce.

I went with basting them on the grill and think I made the wrong decision.

Buffalo Sauce on Drumsticks

I think basting was the wrong decision because a lot of the sauce rolled off and hit the grease tray and I got hit in the face with a blast of vaporized Buffalo sauce…not fun!

After the drumsticks are sauced, close the lid and let the chicken grill for about 10 more minutes until an internal temperature of 185F is reached.

These are going to be extraordinarily delicious!

Grilled Buffalo Drumsticks

Grilled Buffalo Drumsticks

Grilled Buffalo Drumsticks

Chicken drumsticks are brined, seasoned and then grilled at high temperature before being basted in Buffalo sauce. This is a delicious and highly affordable Game Day Feast.
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 3
Calories 325 kcal


  • 3 lbs chicken drumsticks
  • 1 quart water
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp Morton Seasoned Salt
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 stick butter (8 tbls, melted)
  • 12 ounce Frank's Hot Sauce
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika


  • Combine the brine ingredients and mix well.
  • Place the drumsticks into the brine and refrigerate for 2-4 hours.
  • Remove the chicken from the brine, rinse and pat dry with paper towels.
  • Lightly season the drumsticks with the dry rub.
  • Set your pellet grill to High (450-500F)
  • Place the drumsticks on the grill and turn every ten minutes.
  • Prepare the Buffalo sauce.
  • After 20 minutes of grilling add the Buffalo sauce to the drumsticks.
  • Grill for another 10-15 minutes until the drumsticks reach an internal temperature of 185F.


For extra points on presentation you could do a little knife work up front and turn the drumsticks into chicken lollipops.
Talk about an easy, and incredibly inexpensive, way to impress a crowd!
Keyword Grilled Buffalo Drumsticks