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Jan 20, 2012 06:46 AM

Buffalo Chicken Drumsticks

OK, so it's that time of year again. A time when the overwhelming majority of Americans gather with family, friends, and even "that couple from down the street," in anticipation of watching the coming year's most expensive new commercials - interrupted only occasionally by what is traditionally a mediocre football game. But, what's really important is the food.

This year, close to three zillion chickens will have their wings detached so that folks can indulge in a truly American food - the Buffalo wing. I say, try something different, let's leave those birds legless as well. Try making the drumsticks! It's not revolutionary, but, come on, it's clever.

Same preparation - fry 'em 'til crispy and coat with a hot sauce & butter mixture.* The drums are a bit meatier, more flavorful, and significantly cheaper ($.79 per pound vs. $2.49). I caution that the pieces used should be from normal chickens - those Frank Purdue monsters are the poultry equivalent of oversized cankles.

The sauce is up to you. I'm sure you've got a favorite. Personally, I'm going to go either with the house blend which is the traditional Frank's and butter, fifty-fifty with some healthy dollops of Dave's Insanity added to the mix, or the traditional with some ground, toasted Szechuan peppercorns and finely minced Habaneros.

* I will leave the blue cheese or ranch debate for another day.

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  1. I shoulda put this one in General Topics.

    1 Reply
    1. An old thread I know, but this one deserves more exposure than it got at the time. Making buffalo-style chicken by replacing the most expensive part of the bird with thecheapest and meatiest part is a stroke of genius. To this method I will add that making 3 deep cuts down to the bone in the thickest parts of the leg helps the chicken cook faster and makes more crispy fried surface area for hot sauce to cling to.

      3 Replies
      1. re: RealMenJulienne

        I'm glad someone else liked the idea. I will need to try your trick for cutting into the legs.

        Recently, I tried making Buffalo Drumsticks by basically smoking the pieces, more of an indirect grilling at about 300 degrees actually, and then tossing in sauce - a mixture of Trader Joe's Hot Sauce, melted butter, and Bone Suckin' Sauce. The results were quite tasty. It led me to think that the really, really, really over the top way to do this would be as follows:

        First, I'll "lollipop" the drums by cutting away the attaching skin, etc. at the base.

        Second, I should let them sit in an overnight rub of salt, ground chile, and some brown or demurra sugar. I suppose that it would be wise to towel off the rub in the morning given the fact that . . .

        Third, I'll smoke them for somewhere around two hours at about 200 degrees (time and temp always being subject to the prevailing conditions).

        Fourth, after allowing the smoked legs to cool, throw them in the fryer to crisp before finally tossing them in the sauce. The big question at this stage is how many times do I have to try and go through all this production to make these before I figure out the right sauce combo???

        In the interim, however, I think I'm going to make a batch with the "original recipe" quite soon. Thanks again for resuscitating this thread. I got me thinkin' . . .

        1. re: MGZ

          Sounds like an interesting experiment, athough I would be wary of the naked spice rub burning and turning the oil bitter.

          On a related note, I've observed that deep-frying unbreaded chicken this way actually seems to *reduce* total fat in the dish by rendering out the chicken grease. The oil level in the pot actually looks higher post-fry, and there's nothing else in the pot that could account for that. Wishful thinking?

          1. re: RealMenJulienne

            Well, I have no science on it, but given the fat content of a drumstick, I can't say it surprises me. Perhaps, it is because there is a decent amount of water displaced from the legs - then again, that makes very little sense since it should evaporate, right?

      2. I made buffalo chicken drumsticks for the super bowl this year. I put them in the crock pot for a few hours until basically fully cooked, then but them on medium gas grill, turning often, for about 10 minutes to get the skin charred and crispy. Turned out very well and easy if you don't want to do the deepfry route.