Texarkana, TX 79° Tue H 81° L 68° Wed H 89° L 73° Thu H 87° L 71° Weather Sponsored By:

How to make drumsticks ultra-tender

How to make drumsticks ultra-tender

May 14th, 2019 by America's Test Kitchen in Features
This photo provided by America's Test Kitchen shows Grill-Roasted Spice-Rubbed Chicken Drumsticks. (America's Test Kitchen via AP)

With their built-in handles and small size, economical chicken drumsticks are tailor-made for a cookout. So we decided to devise a foolproof way to roast them on the grill to ultra-tender perfection with nicely browned skin and wonderfully juicy meat.

We usually don't brine fattier dark meat, but since we were roasting the drumsticks for a fairly long time in the grill's dry heat we brined them first in salt water to help them retain their juices as well as to season them. A light coating of spice rub also upped their flavor.

We set up a half-grill fire with two zones: On the cooler side we roasted the drumsticks beyond their usual doneness temperature of 175 F to 190 F, at which point most of their connective tissue had turned into rich gelatin and their skin had rendered gently.

Indirect grilling is largely hands off, but halfway through roasting we rearranged the drumsticks, moving those closer to the heat to the outside and those on the outside closer to the heat to ensure all of the drumsticks were done at the same time.

We moved them to the hotter side until the skin was nicely charred and crisp, which took only 5 minutes. Before applying the spice rub, smooth the skin over the drumsticks so it is covering as much surface area as possible. This will help the skin render evenly and prevent the meat from drying out.

 

Grill-Roasted

Spice-Rubbed Chicken Drumsticks

Servings: 6

Start to finish: 40 minutes plus 30-60 minutes brining

1/2 cup salt

5 pounds chicken drumsticks

1 recipe spice rub (recipes follow)

Dissolve salt in 2 quarts cold water in large container. Submerge drumsticks in brine, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Place spice rub on plate. Remove drumsticks from brine and pat dry with paper towels. Holding 1 drumstick by bone end, press lightly into rub on all sides. Pat gently to remove excess rub. Repeat with remaining drumsticks.

FOR A CHARCOAL GRILL: Open bottom vent halfway. Light large chimney starter filled with charcoal briquettes (6 quarts). When top coals are partially covered with ash, pour evenly over half of grill. Set cooking grate in place, cover, and open lid vent halfway. Heat grill until hot, about 5 minutes.

FOR A GAS GRILL: Turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes. Leave primary burner on high and turn off other burner(s). (Adjust primary burner as needed to maintain grill temperature between 325 F and 350 F.)

Clean and oil cooking grate. Place drumsticks, skin side down, on cooler side of grill. Cover and cook for 25 minutes. Rearrange pieces so that drumsticks that were closest to edge are now closer to heat source and vice versa. Cover and cook until drumsticks register 185 F to 190 F, 20 to 30 minutes.

Move all drumsticks to hotter side of grill and cook, turning occasionally, until skin is nicely charred, about 5 minutes. Transfer to serving dish and let rest for 10 minutes. Serve.

 

Barbecue Spice Rub

Makes about 1/3 cup

3 tablespoons packed brown sugar

1 tablespoon paprika

1 tablespoon chili powder

2 teaspoons garlic powder (You can substitute granulated garlic for the garlic powder, if desired)

3/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Combine all ingredients in small bowl.

 

Jerk-Style Spice Rub

Makes about 1/4 cup

If you can't find whole allspice berries, substitute 2 teaspoons of ground allspice.

1 tablespoon allspice berries

1 tablespoon black peppercorns

1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme

2 tablespoons packed brown sugar

2 teaspoons garlic powder

1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard

3/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Grind allspice, peppercorns, and thyme in spice grinder or mortar and pestle until coarsely ground. Transfer to bowl and stir in sugar, garlic powder, mustard, salt, and cayenne.

Nutrition information per serving: 642 calories; 303 calories from fat; 34 g fat (0 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 311 mg cholesterol; 1215 mg sodium; 5 g carbohydrate; 0 g fiber; 3 g sugar; 72 g protein.

For more recipes, cooking tips and ingredient and product reviews, visit americastestkitchen.com. Find more recipes like Grill-Roasted Spice-Rubbed Chicken Drumsticks in "How to Roast Everything."

Getting Started/Comments Policy

Getting started

  1. 1. If you frequently comment on news websites then you may already have a Disqus account. If so, click the "Login" button at the top right of the comment widget and choose whether you'd rather log in with Facebook, Twitter, Google, or a Disqus account.
  2. 2. If you've forgotten your password, Disqus will email you a link that will allow you to create a new one. Easy!
  3. 3. If you're not a member yet, Disqus will go ahead and register you. It's seamless and takes about 10 seconds.
  4. 4. To register, either go through the login process or just click in the box that says "join the discussion," type your comment, and either choose a social media platform to log you in or create a Disqus account with your email address.
  5. 5. If you use Twitter, Facebook or Google to log in, you will need to stay logged into that platform in order to comment. If you create a Disqus account instead, you'll need to remember your Disqus password. Either way, you can change your display name if you'd rather not show off your real name.
  6. 6. Don't be a huge jerk or do anything illegal, and you'll be fine.

Texarkana Gazette Comments Policy

The Texarkana Gazette web sites include interactive areas in which users can express opinions and share ideas and information. We cannot and do not monitor all of the material submitted to the website. Additionally, we do not control, and are not responsible for, content submitted by users. By using the web sites, you may be exposed to content that you may find offensive, indecent, inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise objectionable. You agree that you must evaluate, and bear all risks associated with, the use of the Gazette web sites and any content on the Gazette web sites, including, but not limited to, whether you should rely on such content. Notwithstanding the foregoing, you acknowledge that we shall have the right (but not the obligation) to review any content that you have submitted to the Gazette, and to reject, delete, disable, or remove any content that we determine, in our sole discretion, (a) does not comply with the terms and conditions of this agreement; (b) might violate any law, infringe upon the rights of third parties, or subject us to liability for any reason; or (c) might adversely affect our public image, reputation or goodwill. Moreover, we reserve the right to reject, delete, disable, or remove any content at any time, for the reasons set forth above, for any other reason, or for no reason. If you believe that any content on any of the Gazette web sites infringes upon any copyrights that you own, please contact us pursuant to the procedures outlined in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (Title 17 U.S.C. § 512) at the following address:

Copyright Agent
The Texarkana Gazette
15 Pine Street
Texarkana, TX 75501
Phone: 903-794-3311
Email: webeditor@texarkanagazette.com