Lip smacking BBQ drumsticks

This BBQ sauce is sweetened with dates instead of traditional brown sugar
Lip smacking BBQ drumsticks
5 servings / 45 mins

Prep  10 min / Cook 35 min

These delicious drumsticks are coated in heavenly homemade barbecue sauce. Sweetened with Medjool dates, this is guaranteed to be your go-to sauce. Use it with grilled meats for that everlasting taste of summer. Turn up the heat factor if you like things extra spicy.

  • 1 tsp (5 mL) canola oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) fresh ground pepper
  • 2 cups (500 mL) tomato passata
  • 3/4 cup (175 mL) chopped pitted Medjool dates
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) hot pepper sauce
  • 10 skinless chicken drumsticks (about 1 kg/2 lbs)
  1. In a saucepan, heat oil over medium heat and cook onion, garlic, thyme, chili powder and pepper for 3 minutes or until softened. Stir in tomato passata, dates, vinegar, Worcestershire and hot pepper sauce and bring to a simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Scrape into blender and purée until smooth. Makes about 2 1/2 cups (625 mL) of sauce.

  2. Place drumsticks on greased grill over medium heat for 10 minutes. Turn and grill for 5 minutes more. Start brushing with about 1 cup (250 mL) of sauce, turning often and basting for about more 10 minutes*.

  3. Serve with some of the remaining sauce, if desired. Cover and refrigerate remaining sauce for up to 2 weeks.

  4. * Use a digital food thermometer to check that chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).


  • You can use the same amount of skinless, bone-in chicken thighs instead of drumsticks.
  • Food safety move: measure out 1 cup (250 mL) of the sauce for basting the chicken. Cover and save the rest in the fridge for later.
 Nutritional info per serving (2 drumsticks)
  • Calories: 229
  • Protein: 27 g
  • Total Fat: 8 g
    Saturated Fat: 2 g
    Trans Fat: 0 g
    Cholesterol: 97 mg
  • Carbohydrates: 12 g
    Sugar: 10 g
    Fibre: 2 g
  • Sodium: 182 mg
  • Potassium: 491 mg

 Recipe developed by Emily Richards, PH Ec. ©Heart and Stroke Foundation 2014.