Last Sunday I was in the mood for something substantial to snack on during my afternoon of football. I had chicken drumsticks in the fridge thanks to my mom who had hooked me up when I had gone over for dinner the night before (I think she bought a package of about 600 from Costco, or maybe it was 24) and drumsticks and football would seem to go hand in hand. I love spicy food and I love contrasting flavours in a dish, hence the idea for spicy chicken drumsticks with a honey dipping sauce. All of the quantities are approximate, so feel free to adjust each element upward or downward to suit your taste.
- 7 chicken drumsticks
- 2 tbsps olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1/2 tsp smoked chipotle powder (next time I’ll actually use a lot more to take the heat level up another few notches)
- 2 tbsps paprika
- 2 tsps sea salt flakes
- 1 tsp cracked black pepper
- pinch of cinammon
- honey and chili flakes
- Combine the spice rub ingredients (everything except for the honey and chili flakes) in a small bowl.
- Coat the drumsticks with the rub and marinate for at least 2 hours (the longer the better, overnight would be ideal).
- Heat a bit of olive oil in a cast iron pan over high heat.
- Add the drumsticks and brown them for 3 minutes, turning constantly. Lower the heat to medium and continue browning them for another 3 minutes. Tip: This first browning step is key. We eat with our eyes first, so you don’t want to see grey anemic looking drumsticks. If you want the drumsticks to be tasty make sure they look tasty.
- Remove the drumsticks from the pan and clean the pan (I don’t like putting the pan in the oven with oil in it).
- Re-baste the drumsticks with the rub (don’t worry, you’re putting them into a very hot oven next, so no need to be concerned about raw chicken germs) and then return them to the pan.
- Roast in the oven for 20 minutes or until the skin is crispy (flip them every 7 minutes or so). I set my oven to “convection roast” at 425 degrees (adjust yours accordingly).
- Remove the drumsticks from the oven and tent them under foil on a serving plate for about 7 minutes.
- Serve with lemon wedges and honey with chili flakes in it.
The salty, spicy chicken, the tangy lemon and the sweet honey melded together to create a veritable party in my mouth.
The good thing about cooking drumsticks like this is that it’s hard to mess them up. You need to pay attention while browning them, but once you slide them into the oven to roast you’re pretty much on autopilot. They’re small enough that you don’t have to worry too much about undercooking them and at the same time moist enough that you can let them roast for a long time (even longer than the recommended 20 minutes) without drying them out. Once you make these and enjoy them with an ice cold beer or two you’ll wonder why you should every settle for sketchy frozen chicken wings or “nuggets” next time you’re craving some chicken to munch on during your sporting event of choice.