HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Chicken leg challenge/Drumstick Drama...a throwdown from my husband.

My husband went grocery shopping and bought a large "family" pack of drumsticks with the idea that we would have sort of a cook-off. The plan is to each take half of them and prepare them 2 different ways (for a total of chicken legs 4 different ways) and then have our friends judge them.

I would be interested in what rubs/marinades/cooking styles you would use or would love to see any recipes/suggestions.

I am considering some sorth of Tandoori seasoning/yogurt marinade and perhaps some sort of ginger/soy/garlic mix...I know not terribly out there but that is just what pops in my head at this moment (liable to oscillate wildly though).

Thank you in advance!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. If you want to win, look up a recipe for jerk paste. You'l need thyme, allspice, ginger, cinnamon, chiles, and some green onion. I'd also rock the tandoori. If you have a decebt grocer in the area, I'd look for something line Shan brand tandoori masala (box of dry spice mix.) For the jerk, a jar of Walkerswood Jerk Seasoning (it's a short, squat jar with a paste inside.)

    You'll win.

    7 Replies
    1. re: gordeaux

      Gordeaux, thank you for your suggestions...your confidence inspires well...confidence. Also thanks for your response as this was my first time posting. I have been "lurking" for quite awhile, then just recently created a profile and just now dove into this wonderous community. I feel positively giddy.

      1. re: Averygrrl

        steve raichlen has "rasta rub" which is a hot and delicious jerk rub. this is a version, but i can't find his exact recipe. http://www.grillinggifts.com/Rasta-Ri...

      2. re: gordeaux

        I was also going to suggest jerk chicken but make the paste yourself and leave the store bought at the store (JMO) and besides, it's easy to make if you throw everything in the food processor...marinate it overnight and grill it on a real grill, not a stovetop plate. The judges will be licking their fingers.

        1. re: Cherylptw

          Half and half soy sauce and bourbon, ginger, garlic, brown sugar and black pepper for a marinade. Overnight is a good amount of time. Grill or bake the legs. Take the marinade and reduce it to syrup-like consistency and then pour it over the cooked legs. Think fried chicken wings with oyster sauce at a chinese joint, with a twist.

          1. re: WiscoKid

            is this the marinade for that "bourbon chicken" that the food court chinese places offer as tempting samples?

            i went to pinterest for bourbon chicken legs! wow, they all look fantastic. now i want some for breakfast. ;-). http://pinterest.com/search/pins/?q=b...

            1. re: alkapal

              It is my take on the bourbon *whatever* you see on menus. I had never tried it before and this is what i came up with when i gave it a whirl at home.

              1. re: WiscoKid

                can't go wrong with those ingredients, can you? yum!

      3. Honey coriander chicken fits the flavors you describe. It's pretty quick to throw together, and we love it. I first discovered this dish in "Gourmet's Parties", published 1997. My recipe calls for four pounds chicken parts whereas the recipe to which I've linked specifies a whole chicken, cut-up, otherwise it is identical to the one in my book. It will work great with legs/leg quarters, in fact that's my preference for this recipe. I also usually grill this chicken, so I've found it is essential to add a tablespoon of oil to the marinade. I usually don't bother to make the accompanying peanut sauce, but since you're in a challenge situation, might as well go for it! Here's the link:


        4 Replies
        1. re: janniecooks

          jannie, that is a very interesting recipe. i wonder what cuisine it is most informed by….maybe indonesian? it looks tasty. honey is always a great touch with poultry, too.

          1. re: alkapal

            Alkapal, I think you're right that it might be of Indonesian origin. When I did a google search initially transposing the words in the recipe title I got back a number of Indonesian recipes, but they weren't quite the same as the one I've been making. Using the correct name got me a link that matched the one in my book.

          2. re: janniecooks

            Great for drumsticks

            I have made this or very close (for many years) too from one of the issues of Gourmet (although I do not remember honey in the peanut sauce and it used lime not lemon, I thought). I never slit the chicken pieces, but always let it marinate for 24-48 hours. I think there is an error Step 2 where is says "prepare peanut sauce" - it should be prepare marinade.

            I love it hot or cold or room temperature.

            1. re: mscoffee1

              You're right about the errors, thanks for pointing them out. No honey in the peanut sauce. I overlooked that since I never make the sauce. Lemon juice is called for in the book, but I think Lime juice would be equally good.

              I do slit the chicken, just out of habit I guess, and also prefer at least overnight marination.

          3. indian tikka and japanese teriyaki get my vote for two marinades.

            instead of the tikka, you might want to try one of my favorites: chicken hariyali…it basically is a tikka marinade plus mint and coriander. dee-lish!

            1. Today I'm going to be trying a Filipino chicken Adobo based on this recipe http://www.tartineandapronstrings.com... - seems like it could be a contender for your cook-off. Love the idea of the cook-off!

              1. Chicken Marbella.

                Chicken shallow-braised with cider and shallots. Brown the skin first, pour off excess fat, then add onions and mix to deglaze the pan. Chop a peeled apple and add. Season with your choice of herbs and spices, then arrange drumsticks so the area with the most skin faces up. Pour in cider so it comes no more than half-way up the drumsticks, which will keep the skin from being rubbery.

                Brown chicken, pour off excess fat, add onions to deglaze, then add an undiluted can of cream of mushroom soup (hate to admit this but it's yummy in this use) and cover the pan, cook over low heat until meat is done. You may need to add a little water or wine partway through if the sauce is drying out too much. But if you use enough (a lot of) onion, it supplies enough liquid.

                1. My first thought would be the Buffalo Chicken Drumstick. I discussed it some time ago here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/829233

                  My second thought would be to simply soak them in buttermilk and hot sauce, dredge in seasoned flour, and fry 'til crispy.

                  Nothin's gonna beat fried chicken legs in a contest and with this two-fisted approach, you'll get both the gold and the silver.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: MGZ

                    mgz, we must be on a mind meld, because coming back to this thread, i was also thinking: hmmmmm, what about a perfectly fried chicken drumstick? and also i was thinking about buffalo style, too. no kidding. the same two things. wild, huh? ;-).

                    now everyone is gonna go out and buy a bunch of drumsticks. actually, i'd buy a bunch of chicken thighs instead. that is my favorite piece of the chicken.

                    1. re: alkapal

                      "Great minds" and all.

                      I eventually tried the "smoke then fry" concept I detailed in the other thread. Although a lot of work, I assure you that it is a true contest winner.

                      1. re: MGZ

                        smoked then fried.

                        beautiful words…beautiful!

                    2. re: MGZ

                      scrolling through i was thinking the fried chicken from ad hoc. amazing stuff.

                    3. Zarela Martinez has a wondeful saucei none of her earlier cookboks called Manchamanteles. This loosely translates to tablecloth stainer. I've made it with chicken before and it copmes out great. She has a link on her site for it where she used pheasant.


                      1. Another riff on fried would be Korean fried chicken. Usually done with wings, but also works with small drumsticks. Good luck!


                        1. I can think of a few ideas:

                          Sumac chicken. Just rub some Sumac spice on the chicken with some salt before roasting

                          Mayonnaise/Cornflake chicken: coat the chicken in a light layer of mayonnaise and then roll in cornflake crumbs mixed with a bit of salt and paprika for color. Put on a rack and roast in a 400 degree oven until crispy and the chicken is cooked through.

                          Jerk chicken as suggested is great, but please make it yourself, it's easy and SO much better than store bought. Also, let it marinate for at least 48 hours if you really want it to permeate the meat. In fact, I will also usually cut slashes in the meat almost to the bone, before rubbing the marinade all over it, to help flavor it.

                          Greek Style: Put 5-6 garlic cloves, some olive oil, oregano (or Rosemary), salt, pepper and lemon zest in a blender and turn into a paste. Separate the skin from the chicken and smear this under the skin. Slice the lemon in quarters and lay them around the chicken pieces. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes or so (depends on whether you are baking leg quarters or just drumsticks). Before serving, squeeze some of the lemon juice from the roasted lemon quarters on the chicken.

                          Braised: I usually will do this with a nice red wine like a Burgundy. Slice up a couple of large Spanish onions into thin slices, sautee in a pan with a bit of olive oil until browned. Add a couple of garlic cloves, smashed, some fresh or dried thyme and rosemary and nestle the chicken among the onions. I usually take the skin off when I do this, but if you don't, I'd brown the pieces first. Then, i'll pour a cup or so of the red wine over everything, or at least until the chicken is partially submerged. Simmer gently for 20 minutes covered, then take the cover off and simmer 20 minutes more, to reduce the liquid. Serve over noodles.

                          1. Another easy one is Spanish

                            Season with salt, pepper and smoked paprika. Bronw legs then set aside.

                            Add diced onion, ham and red bell pepper plus 1 tbs more of the paprika to the pan and cook until the onions start to brown. Return legs to the pan with a cup of chicken stock and cook until the legsd are done. It works out well served with rice.

                            1. My husband makes a Morrocan inspired dish using the drumsticks, chicken broth, some tomato paste, lemon slices, cinnamon and chick peas. It is quite good.

                              1. I may as well jump on the chicken challenge wagon...
                                Chef John Besh has a fried chicken recipe I've made more than once and for the simple ingredients it is absolutely delicious. It's called, " John Besh's not fried, fried chicken. I'll post the link below... it's the 3rd recipe down on the page:

                                Here are the ingredients (because I never met a recipe I couldn't tweak):

                                1 cup no fat mayo (I use full fat Hellman's or TJ's organic)
                                1/4 teaspoon Tabasco (I use 1 teaspoon)
                                1 teaspoon Zatarain's creole mustard (I use grainy Dijon)
                                1 pound Italian style panko breadcrumbs (Pastene makes seasoned BCs & I use less)
                                6 each boneless skinless chicken thighs (I use any dang chicken parts I want - w or w/o bone)


                                1. I use these a few diffrent ways.

                                  Arroyo's con Pollo - http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/da...

                                  The soffrito is easy - freezes very well and is nice to have on hand.

                                  Jerk Chicken Sliders - It's a winner for sure


                                  (see my changes in the comment section - I've never made 5 bucks worth of chicken taste so good).

                                  I would second the Tandori Chicken as well - get a rub from a local indian market if you can - add yoghurt, ginger, garlic and lemon to marrianate - it's really good.

                                  Finally, I normally use a whole chicken and break down but Coq au Vin is very nice as well. I use Anne Burrel's recipe on the foodnetwork site.