Why are people afraid of bones? At least, I assume that’s why so many recipes call for boneless wings and boneless thighs. Stop being scared of bones. Bones are necessary. For flavor. And life.
I love chicken drummies (drumsticks, for the uninitiated) for many reasons. They’re easy to cook. They’re cheap. They’re forgiving. You can eat them with your hands, tearing into the meat like a gluttonous king of yore (or yester-year) whilst flicking the bones to your hounds and wiping your mouth on your sleeve. You can marinate them long in advance, and unlike boneless chicken breasts, they won’t fall apart or get all weird and mealy in you leave them sitting in sauce too long. They’re also fun to cook over a fire, as I’ve learned many a time out at the fabled cabin. Oh, and they’re delicious. Obviously.
Given that summer is upon us, which means it’s high-time to pop a beer and get your grill on, I thought I’d share a simple and forgiving recipe for drumsticks and a few tips for cooking them to perfection.
- This seems redundant considering you’re going to soak them in marinade, but make sure to dry the drummies off by patting them with paper towels. The skin gets all crispy when you remove the excess moisture. Trust me.
- If you’re not going to par-boil them (that’s for another post), make sure to cook them over medium to medium-high heat. I have my grill-knobs on about 50-60% when I’m cooking drummies. The idea is to char without burning.
- Baste your chicken with something sugary as you cook it (especially at the end). The sugar will char, and give the drummies a nice crispy crust.
- Cook them to an internal temp of about 185-190 degrees. Drummies are dark meat, and contain a mess of tendons and such (they are legs, after all) which – essentially – need to liquefy in order to push your food out of “chewy and possibly cooked” and into the realm of “fall-off-the-bone tender”. At a medium/mid-high heat, this might take 30 minutes.
- Let them rest for about 5 minutes after taking them off, if only to protect your eager eaters from burning their hands as they dig in.
- Eat drummies while hanging out with friends, and drinking beer. Because those things make life better.
Simple Teriyaki Drummies
Play around with the ingredients in this recipe. I do.
- 1 lb chicken drumsticks (about 4 or 5 average drummies)
- 1 cup low sodium soy sauce
- 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
- 3 tbs mirin (a high sugar content rice wine condiment – easily found in the Asian food sections of grocery stores)
- 3 tbs brown sugar
- 2 tbs sesame oil
- 1 1/2 inches fresh ginger root – chopped, minced or grated
- 1 shallot – diced
- 1 clove garlic – minced
Remove the drummies from their container (or cut them off your chickens) and pat them dry.
Mix all of the other listed ingredients in a medium bowl, or place them in a large ziploc and shake them up.
Immerse the drummies in the mixture, put it in the fridge, and let them sit for AT LEAST an hour, but up to a day.
Fire up the grill. Preheat it on high if you like, but make sure to turn it down to 50-60% before putting them on.
Remove the drumsticks from the marinade, and place them on the mid-high grill.
Enjoy the sizzling sound.
Turn the drummies every five minutes or so, and baste them with the remaining marinade as often as you like.
Once the juices start to run clear, start checking the temperature. Oh, and get an instant -read thermometer (like this one) if you don’t already have one.
Once they’ve hit 185, take them off the grill, and let them rest for 5 min before serving them up to the hungry masses… but if you have hungry masses, hopefully you made more than a pound of chicken, because if not, you’re about to have hungry, ANGRY masses.
You might want to whip up a batch of sesame noodles to serve them up with, and then make a painfully ironic nest like I did for the piece of chicken below: