On The Grill: Spicy Korean Grilled Chicken Lollipops

I’ve always loved the amazing mix of flavors that Korean food has. I remember trying out Bon Chon for the first time (it’s a super amazing Korean chicken location) and just simply falling in love. Their spicy flavors blew my mind with its sharp, spicy, bold, yet sweet notes! Definitely shot up to be among one of my favorites in terms of chickens. The marinade was adapted from Cake N’ Knife’s very awesome recipe!

I’ve also fallen quite in love with the aesthetic look of chicken lollipops. They are essentially just regular chicken drumsticks that had their tendons and portion of the skin cut off at the bone joint. Apart from the appealing look, preparing chicken drumsticks this way serves a functional purpose as well! In a normal drumstick, there is a tendon that runs from the joint all the way through the drumstick. Cooking a drumstick this way tends to tighten up the tendon , it pulls on portions of the meat and makes parts of your drumstick a little harder and rigid. When you lollipop a chicken, you are severing these tendons, which helps keeps the texture nice and soft. Plus, with the clean bone, it makes it easier to keep you and your guests’ hands clean! Now you don’t have to sneakily wipe your saucy fingers on your friend as you give em a handshake or a hug at the next BBQ party! Isn’t that awesome?!

Ingredients:
-12-14 chicken drumsticks
-1/3rd cup Gochujang (Korean red chili paste)
-1/4th cup light brown sugar
-1/4th cup Maggi sauce
-1 Tbsp sesame oil
-1 Tbsp rice vinegar
-4 cloves garlic, minced
-1 tsp kosher salt
-1 tsp black pepper
-White sesame seed for garnish
-Green onion for garnish

Useful Equipment
-Weber Kettle Grill
-Weber Char Baskets or Vortex
-Meat Thermometer
-Marinade Brush

Procedure
Lollipopping and Marinating Chicken
1) Add gochujang, brown sugar, Maggi sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, minced garlic, kosher salt, and black pepper into a mixing bowl. Mix it all up!

Marinade ingredients

2) Lollipop your chicken. Make a small flat cut through the top of the drumstick to help the drumstick stand up. Make a cut around the bone of the drumstick and cut through the skin and tendons. Remove this layer from the drumstick to expose a bare bone. (I included a link to a YouTube video to help you visualize this in the References)

Drumsticks are lollipopped. Pretty sweet!

3) Marinade your chicken in the sauce from Step 1. Let it marinate in the fridge for at least an hour (you can do up to overnight as well)

Chicken in the marinade

Grilling the Chicken
1) Pre-heat your kettle grill with a two-zone fire. If you have a Weber Kettle, you can opt for the Bullseye formation, as seen below:

Bullseye method, involves using two Char-Baskets with hot coals placed in. The drumsticks are placed up-right around the perimeter for indirect heat.

2) When grill is pre-heated and cleaned, add your marinated chicken (standing up) on the outside perimeter of your bullseye, or in the indirect grill zone if you are doing traditional two-zone fire).
3) Cook chicken with the lid on for about 25-35 minutes at 400°F, or until the internal temperature reads about 175-180°F
4) As your chicken is cooking, put your leftover marinade into a sauce pan and boil. Allow to boil for 1-2 minutes with constant stirring. This will help kill off bacteria that would be left from contacting your raw chicken. It also thickens it up.
5) When chicken is at target temperature, remove from oven and brush the boiled marinade onto each side of the chicken
6) Add sesame seeds and chopped green onion for garnish and enjoy!

Observations/Tips
-As you may have noticed, the exposed bones do blacken during this grilling process. If you want to keep the bones from blackening, you can wrap the exposed bone in aluminum foil.
-If you are going to brush more sauce, ensure that your sauce is boiled to kill off any bacteria from the raw chicken. Salmon is good for you, but I can assure you that salmonella is not.
-If you want to be really careful, set aside some marinade before you add your raw chicken during the marinading step. (I still recommend boiling this to thicken up the sauce)
-Chicken is deemed safe to eat when cooked up to a temperature of 165°F. However, drumsticks tend to have more tendons and fibrous tissues that would really benefit in terms of texture if cooked at a higher temp (175-180°F internal temp)
-The Bullseye method is a highly effective way to cook drumsticks, wings, and drummettes. The charcoal in the middle creates a scorching hot pillar of heat. With the lid on, this heat pillar bounces off the lid and onto your chicken, creating an effective oven that will cook meat evenly from top to bottom

References
Cake N Knife’s Korean BBQ Chicken Wings Recipe
BBQ Pit Boy’s Tutorial for Lollipopping Chicken
Bon Chon Korean Wings

3 thoughts on “On The Grill: Spicy Korean Grilled Chicken Lollipops

    1. Yes you totally could! I recommend preheating your oven to 400F, and putting your drumsticks on a parchment lined baking pan, and letting it cook until you reach target temperature (estimated about 30-40 minutes). You won’t get the “charcoal” flavor, but I think the drumsticks will still taste super amazing regardless.

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