Pesto Chicken Drumsticks

  • By: Jack Mancuso

Pesto Chicken Drumsticks - Cuso Cuts

When you think about tailgating or a party where you want to mix and mingle, finger foods are a fantastic choice. Today I’m sharing my Pesto Chicken Drumsticks recipe. It’s not overly complex by way of preparation but is definitely complex in flavor. Your tongue will dance and prepare for compliments.

Chicken Food Safety Tips

There are certain safety tips when it comes to how you handle chicken. For example, you should prepare raw chicken away from other food so the juices don’t mix. Other precautions include:

  • Putting the chicken in a plastic bag before refrigerating to avoid potential drips into other food.
  • Wash your hands before and after handling chicken
  • Always thoroughly wash any surface on which raw chicken sat before using it for other foods, including cutting boards, dishes, and cutting knives.
  • When cooking or grilling chicken, use a meat thermometer, looking for an internal temperature of 165F
  • Move chicken leftovers into the refrigerator or freezer within two hours after serving.

Tools for Pesto Chicken Drumsticks

  • Tongues, grilling mit
  • Kingsford Flavor Booster Charcoal: Basil Sage
  • Chef Knife


  • 2-3 Drumsticks per person
  • Cuso’s Lemon Pepper BBQ Rub
  • Olive oil spray
  • 2 cups fresh basil
  • ¾ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • 2 heads garlic
  • ½ cup pine nuts
  • ½ tsp each salt and pepper


  1. Heat your charcoal to 500 degrees F.
  2. Butterfly the chicken drumsticks
  3. Lightly spray them with olive oil
  4. Sprinkle the drumsticks with Cuso’s Lemon Pepper BBQ Rub
  5. Cook the drumsticks until they reach165F internally
  6. While they are cooking, slice the top of the garlic heads off, and lay them in an iron pan with the pine nuts. You want the garlic smushy
  7. Put the garlic and nuts into a blender or food processor with basil, cheese, olive oil, and pepper, spraying with olive oil
  8. Brush the drumsticks while still on the grill with the pesto.
  9. They are ready to eat right away.

PitMaster’s Memo

The perfect finger food doesn’t make a mess (usually) as you carry it around. It’s not a new-fangled idea. Finger foods began with the French canape and other bite-size hors d’oeuvres. Little plates appeared before servings of main courses, often while there was entertainment. The way the morsels looked was important. Presentation counted for a lot on the aristocracy’s table (think butter sculptures with mini breads).


Asian noodle salad (hot or cold)

Baby spiced potatoes

Corn on the cob, grilled

Honey roasted carrots

Scalloped potatoes with cheese

Stuffed mushroom caps

From the Bar

India Pale Ale


Sparkling white grape juice

Sweet tea



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