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Sweet BBQ Drumsticks

Photo: Victor Protasio

Serves 4 (serving size: 2 drumsticks)

Many traditional barbecue sauce recipes start with ketchup—a great base because it’s already thick and sweet. Here, we use hoisin sauce as the starting point of a citrus-spiked BBQ sauce; it works just as well as ketchup, lending sweet, salty notes with warm spice notes of star anise. We look to 2 kinds of citrus for big flavor boosts: orange juice for mellow sweetness and lime juice for tang. You can also substitute cider or white vinegar for lime juice if you don’t have that fruit on hand. Be sure to line the baking pan with foil coated with cooking; the sticky-sweet sauce would make a hard-to-clean mess if it went directly on the pan.


  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 (4-oz.) skinned chicken drumsticks
  • Cooking spray

Nutrition Information

  • calories 230
  • fat 5.5 g
  • satfat 1.3 g
  • monofat 1.9 g
  • polyfat 1.4 g
  • protein 26 g
  • carbohydrate 18 g
  • fiber 1 g
  • cholesterol 118 mg
  • iron 1 mg
  • sodium 529 mg
  • calcium 23 mg
  • sugars 14 g
  • Est. Added Sugars 12 g

How to Make It

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Boil hoisin sauce, orange juice, honey, lime juice, salt, and minced garlic 2 minutes; reserve 1/4 cup. Place drumsticks on a foil-lined baking sheet coated with cooking spray; brush with half of remaining sauce. Bake at 400°F for 40 minutes or until done, turning and brushing with other half of sauce after 20 minutes. Serve with reserved 1/4 cup sauce.