Slow-Cooked Oven-Baked BBQ Chicken

Slow cooked oven baked bbq chicken recipe

The Spruce / Cara Cormack

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 90 mins
Total: 105 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Yield: 15 drumsticks
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
765 Calories
31g Fat
59g Carbs
61g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 765
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 31g 40%
Saturated Fat 9g 43%
Cholesterol 190mg 63%
Sodium 1600mg 70%
Total Carbohydrate 59g 21%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Protein 61g
Calcium 99mg 8%
*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.)

This chicken recipe is slow-cooked, baked in the oven, for delicious fall-off-the-bone tender chicken legs that are covered with bbq sauce for an absolute delight.

You can make this very easy homemade barbecue sauce, adapted from culinary author and barbecue expert Steven Raichlen's sauce recipe. It takes about 5 minutes to put together, and just 10 to 15 minutes to simmer. If you transfer the sauce to a clean jar and store it in the refrigerator, it will keep for several months.

Drumsticks are one of the least expensive cuts of chicken you can buy, and, of course, kids love them because they are meant to be eaten by hand. They are cheap because they are the dark meat parts of the chicken, and in general, many people prefer white meat. But to skip the dark meat is really to miss out. When they are on sale, you will be amazed at how economical a big batch of drumsticks can be—and they look very nice piled up for a party.

Cooking the chicken at a low temperature allows the meat to become tender and stay juicy, without the barbecue sauce turning too brown and possibly burning. Make sure to line the baking sheet with aluminum foil, and spray that with nonstick cooking spray, both to prevent sticking and also (maybe more importantly) to make cleanup a snap.

Serve it with coleslaw, baked beans, or potato salad for the perfect picnic-type meal, or select a few of your favorite sides to round out the meal.


Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Slow cooked oven baked bbq chicken ingredients
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  2. Preheat the oven to 300 F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, and spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray.

    Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  3. In a non-reactive saucepan, make the sauce by combining all of the ingredients—ketchup, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, molasses, mustard, tabasco sauce, rub, and pepper—except the drumsticks. Slowly bring it to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently.

    Combine barbecue sauce ingredients in saucepan
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  4. Reduce the heat to medium-low and gently simmer until dark, thick, and richly flavored, about 10 to 15 minutes.

    Reduce heat to medium low
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  5. Place chicken drumsticks into a large bowl, and pour some sauce over them. Toss the chicken in the sauce until well-coated. 

    Chicken drumsticks in large bowl
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  6. Using ​tongs, transfer the chicken to the prepared baking sheet, leaving any remaining sauce in the bowl. Make sure the drumsticks aren’t touching.

    Chicken wings on the baking sheet
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  7. Bake for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours, basting once midway through the baking time with the remaining sauce in the bowl. 

    Baste the chicken
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  8. Bake until the chicken is fully cooked through and the outside has a nice glaze. Serve hot or at room temperature and enjoy.

    Bake until chicken is cooked through
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

How Do You Know Chicken Legs Are Done?

The easiest way to tell if your chicken legs are done is by using an instant-read thermometer. Safe temperature for baked chicken is 165 F. If you don't have a thermometer, poke the thickest part of the leg with a fork, if the juices run clear, it is done.