Margarita Chicken Drumsticks

Here they are, grilled chicken legs with all the delicious flavors of a margarita. This recipe uses a unique method for grilling chicken that makes it easier and more delicious than ever!

Grilled Margarita Chicken Drumsticks. This recipe uses a unique method for grilling chicken that makes it easier and more delicious than ever!

This Margarita Chicken recipe has all the delicious flavors of a margarita: tequila, agave nectar, lime and salt. So good. I’ve taken these to two potlucks and served them at our 4th of July party this year to rave rave rave reviews.

The method for cooking it is something you might be familiar with if you’ve been to this site before because it’s my favorite. That method comes from this Make-Ahead Grilled Chicken for a Crowd that is not only my favorite way to grill chicken but is one of the most popular recipes on this site.  The reason that it’s such a great recipe and that people love it so much is that it takes all the guesswork and worries out of grilling chicken. You know what I mean, right? You put chicken on the grill and then you stand there turning it from time to time hoping it won’t burn or dry out on the outside before it’s done on the inside. And please please please let it be done on the inside. I’m always terrified that my guests are going to bite into red raw chicken. Yuck.

For the easy make-ahead grilled chicken, what you do is to pre-bake the chicken. It’s cheating a bit, maybe. But you cook it slowly at a low temperature. That keeps it nice and moist. You check that it’s ready with an instant read thermometer, so you’re positive it’s cooked through. Then you put some sauce on it and let it cool, then refrigerate it until you’re ready to grill.

When your grill is nice and hot, you put the chicken on. At this point, you know it’s tender and cooked through. You don’t have to worry about it being raw since it’s only on the grill for a short time. You don’t have to worry that it will dry out either. All that you’re doing is heating it through while getting some nice grill marks and char flavor onto it. You’ll be so amazed at how juicy and delicious it is.

You can use any sauce, really. For this version you put a mixture of tequila, agave nectar, salt and pepper on the chicken before baking. You don’t add sauce to it before grilling for this one. Just rub the chicken pieces with a bit of olive oil then put them on the grill. Then mmmm the final step here. When the chicken comes off the grill you drizzle it with more agave nectar, squeeze on some lime and then, the best part, sprinkle it with coarse crunchy sea salt. It’s got that perfect sweet, sour, salty thing going on. So so good!

Grilled Margarita Chicken Drumsticks


  • cooking spray (or olive oil)
  • 3 lbs. skinless bone-in chicken drumsticks (or thighs)
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar, divided
  • 2 Tbsp. tequila
  • 1/4 tsp. table salt
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 tsp. coarse sea salt (or coarse kosher salt works too)


  1. Preheat oven to 300ºF. Line a large pan with foil and spray it with cooking spray or rub it with some olive oil.
  2. Put the chicken in a single layer on the pan. In a small bowl combine 1/4 cup of the agave nectar, tequila, table salt and black pepper. Drizzle it all over the chicken pieces. Bake for 1 hour. Test that it has reached 165ºF using an instant read thermometer.
  3. Let cool for 15 minutes on the counter. Cover and refrigerate until guests arrive. Brush chicken all over with the olive oil.
  4. Minutes before eating, prepare grill for direct cooking over medium-high heat. Add chicken pieces and cook until grill marks appear on underside, 4-5 minutes. Flip and cook until heated through, another 4-5 minutes.
  5. Remove chicken from the grill and put in a single layer on a serving plate. Drizzle chicken with the remaining 1/4 cup agave nectar and with the lime juice. Sprinkle with the coarse sea salt. Serve.

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