I love smoked chicken lollipops. I think they are one of my favourite things to make. They are a little show-off’y, and the first few times making them, it is very time consuming. But with a little practice, smoked chicken lollipops are a great appetiser to serve when you have company that you want to impress.
The great thing about chicken lollipops is, they are succulent smoky balls of chicken meat cooked in a butter bath. They are mouthfuls of meat, with no worries about chewing the meat away from the bone. They even have their own handle! What is not to love?
If you do not have a smoker, you can follow the directions here, to make them in the oven.
I use my salt free smoky chicken rub, mixed with kosher salt in this recipe. If you are using an off the shelf chicken rub, omit the salt, and use directly.
Some recipes for chicken lollipops required you to remove the small bone inside of the chicken drumstick. I have done this, but I have found that the amount of work required to remove the bone is not worth the pay off. If you really want to impress your guests, removing the small bone may be worth it, but I usually skip it. The same goes for the tendons inside of the chicken. Many recipes say to remove them, but I tend to only clean up the tendons that stick out of the ball of chicken meat.
Smoked Chicken Lollipops
Succulent smoky balls of chicken meat cooked in a butter bath. They are mouthfuls of meat, with no worries about chewing the meat away from the bone. They even have their own handle! What is not to love?
Preparing to make the lollipops
If using a salt free chicken rub, mix the chicken rub and salt together, and set aside. If you are using an off the shelf rub, you can skip this step.
Cut 24 pieces of foil into squares roughly 4 inches by 4 inches in size.
Clean the chicken drumsticks
Using a sharp paring knife, cut around the small end of the drumstick making sure to cut through all the ligaments and skin.
Remove the knuckle and any cartilage from the small end of the drumstick. If it is too slippery, you may need to use a kitchen towel to grip it better.
With the knuckle removed, use your finger to separate the remaining meat from the bone on the chicken drumstick. Leave the meat attached at the end of the drumstick, but loosen up the meat around the middle part as best as you can.
With the meat loosened, pull the meat down towards the bottom, and ball it up.
Place the chicken in a disposable foil tray.
Repeat this process for all the remaining drumsticks.
Foiling and seasoning the chicken
Take on of the drumsticks, and wrap the foil around the bare bone, making sure to cover the exposed bone.
Season the chicken with the chicken rub.
Place the chicken, meat side down into the disposable foil tray. I use a 8x11 foil tray that fits 24 drumsticks well. You can use smaller trays if you need to, but you will need to use more than one. If the tray is too large, you can ball up some foil to hold the chicken drumsticks so they stand up.
Repeat this process for the remaining chicken drumsticks.
Cut the stick of butter into small pieces, roughly a half a tablespoon to a tablespoon each. Place the butter on to the chicken, spreading around as evenly as possible.
Smoking the chicken
Pre-heat the smoker to 300°F to 350°F.
Once the smoker is pre-heated, add the smoke wood of choice.
Place the tray of chicken on the smoker, and smoke for 60 minutes.
Remove the tray from the smoker.
Remove the chicken drumsticks from the tray, and lay on the grill of the smoker. Adding additional smoke wood if required.
Continue to smoke the chicken for an additional 45 minutes to an hour.
Preparing the chicken to serve
Allow the chicken to cool for a couple minutes.
Remove the foil wrapping from the chicken, and serve.