Grilled Buttermilk Turkey Drumsticks

Grilled Buttermilk Turkey Drumsticks
Buttermilk Turkey Drumsticks on the Grill Daniel Kaesler/EyEm/Getty Images
Prep: 18 mins
Cook: 2 hrs
Marinating Time: 4 hrs
Total: 6 hrs 18 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Yield: 4 to 6 turkey drumsticks
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
618 Calories
32g Fat
44g Carbs
39g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 618
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 32g 41%
Saturated Fat 6g 31%
Cholesterol 174mg 58%
Sodium 1981mg 86%
Total Carbohydrate 44g 16%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 38g
Protein 39g
Vitamin C 2mg 10%
Calcium 151mg 12%
Iron 3mg 15%
Potassium 687mg 15%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Turkey drumsticks are a great meal for the entire family; kids like them because they can eat them with their hands, and adults enjoy their rich flavor and moist texture. In this recipe, the buttermilk not only adds a distinctive taste but also works well as a marinade, tenderizing the meat. The combination of buttermilk, Dijon mustard, honey, and herbs imparts a nice tang and freshness to the turkey, and the barbecue basting sauce adds a deep color and rounds out the flavor.


  • 4 to 6 turkey drumsticks

  • 1/2 cup olive oil

  • 2 (16- to 18-ounce) bottle barbecue sauce

For the Marinade:

  • 2 cups buttermilk

  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard

  • 3 tablespoons honey

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano

  • 1 teaspoon dried dill

  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a medium bowl, combine all the marinade ingredients until thoroughly mixed through. Place drumsticks in a resealable plastic bag and pour over marinade. Seal the bag and allow the turkey to marinate in the refrigerator for 4 to 12 hours.

  3. Preheat grill to medium heat. Once up to the temperature, right before placing turkey legs onto the grill, oil the grill grates. This can be accomplished by using a large pair of outdoor cooking tongs, oil (preferably a high smoke point oil), and a folded paper towel. Grasp the paper towel with the tongs and dip liberally into the oil. Run the towel across the grill grates and repeat this process about 3 to 4 times. This will create a non-stick surface. 

  4. Remove the drumsticks from the plastic bag and discard the marinade. Place the turkey legs on the oiled grill grates. Cook on medium indirect heat for 2 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 185 F, turning once to cook evenly. Brush with the barbecue sauce every 15 to 20 minutes after the first hour of cooking time.

  5. Once cooked through, remove the drumsticks from the grill and let rest for 3 to 5 minutes before serving.


  • It is always best to grill food that is at room temperature so the inside cooks at the same rate as the outside. So be sure to take the bag of marinated turkey legs out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before you plan to place them on the grill.
  • If you like the skin of your turkey drumsticks really crispy, you can first grill them over a high heat and then move them to the lower heat for the remainder of cooking time. Just be sure to remove the legs from the hotter side of the grill once the skin is nicely charred. And it is best not to roll or move the legs around too much or the skin may stick to the grates and then come off of the turkey. Just turn over once to assure even cooking.

White Meat Vs. Dark Meat

While white meat is lower in calories and fat than dark meat, it really isn't a significant amount. And when you factor in how thighs and drumsticks are more nutritious than breast meat, it should remove any guilt when enjoying a turkey leg. Dark meat has double the amount of iron and zinc than white meat and four times the amount of vitamin B-12.

Recipe Tags: