Who isn’t a fan of chicken wings? Julian’s dream dinner has always been a big plate of wings. Last week for his birthday, that’s exactly what I made him, only there were two giant plates of chicken wings on the dinner table instead of one. Talk about dreams coming true. I roasted the wings in a super hot oven on a wire rack—that’s key because it allows for even circulation of the heat and prevents the bottom from getting soggy—until they got super crispy and crunchy. Then I dunked them in a sauce made of melted butter and hot sauce. Classic wing sauce for not so classic wings. They tasted just like their fried counterpart, but my body didn’t know the difference, so I was able to eat as many as I could before I passed out from a food coma. A chicken wing food coma. Best night ever on all accounts. After that evening, I realized that crispy chicken in the oven was key to a happy life. So I thought the most logical thing to do next is recreate the same dish, but with bigger chicken because sometimes chicken wings are too tiny and eating twenty wings doesn’t seem justifiable for a well balanced dinner.
I like wings, probably not as much as Julian, but I enjoy them from time to time. I’m more obsessed with the drumettes rather than the piece with the two bones. Do you know what I’m talking about? Am I making sense? Am I a crazy person? The answer to all of those questions is yes, definitely yes. As I was saying though, the little drumettes make me feel like I’m a giant eating tiny food. Since the drumettes are my favorite piece of the wing, and since drumsticks are essentially larger versions of them, it only makes sense that I’d like try my hand at buffalo-ing them. We ate a lot of chicken drumsticks as a kid, so its nice to find new ways to eat them now as an adult. They remind me of my childhood. If you’re in need of a quick weeknight meal, packed with so much flavor, look no further. This is it. I know what I’m talking about.
Let’s start by seasoning the drumsticks. This is the perfect time to really flavor the chicken so that the meat is super tasty. If you just count on the sauce to do all of the flavoring then you’ll end up with one noted chicken. That’s not what I want for you. You deserve something better than that.
Toss the chicken in olive oil, salt, pepper, granulated garlic, granulated onion, dried oregano, dried thyme, paprika, chili powder, Worcestershire sauce, and liquid smoke. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or over night.
**Note: Liquid smoke is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a smokey flavoring that comes in liquid form. It’ll give your chicken a subtle smokey taste as if you cooked them on the grill or smoker. You can find it in well-stocked grocery stores or online. It’s completely optional, so if you can’t get a hole of it, then you’ll be fine.**
Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil paper and place a wire rack over it. Arrange the chicken in a single layer and roast in a 475ºF oven until crispy, golden brown and cooked through, about 20 to 25 minutes. Flip them over half way through roasting.
**Note: Chicken should register about 160ºF with a instant read thermometer. I say that loosely because poultry is actually fully cooked at 165ºF. I usually take it out at 160ºF and then allow it to rest for about 10 to 15 minutes. It’ll continue to cook until 165ºF by then and allow the juices to redistribute to the chicken.**
Once the chicken is done. It’s time to dip it into the sauce. Our spicy buffalo sauce. In a shallow dish, whisk together the melted butter, hot sauce, and BBQ sauce.
**Note: Traditional buffalo wings are tossed with hot sauce (Frank’s Red Hot is best) and melted butter. Since I want these to taste just like chicken wings, that’s what we’re using. The BBQ sauce cuts through the spicy hot sauce. It helps keep the heat at bay.**
Once you dip the chicken into the sauce, return it to the wire rack over the baking sheet. Return to the oven and cook for an additional 10 to 15 minutes longer. It’ll give the sauce a chance to stick to the chicken.
Once the chicken crisps up again, then it’s done. You’re good to go. Remove from the oven and let the drumsticks cool a bit before serving. You can brush the chicken in more sauce right before serving.
Serve the drumsticks for dinner with salad or mashed potatoes. I’m also a big fan of serving this chicken with white rice (it’s great with the heat from the chicken and sauce) and a salad on the side with ranch for the dressing. The coolness from the ranch is perfect.
If you want to keep these as an appetizer—think about it, they’re just large chicken wings basically so it’s totally acceptable—then serve them with blue cheese dressing and sliced carrots and celery. Don’t forget the cold beers to wash it all down.
**Tip: I’m not a fan of blue cheese so if you’re like me and have some taste (kidding) then serve them with ranch instead. It’ll have the same creamy cool factor as blue cheese.**
If you want to keep these wings super crispy, reserve from rolling them around in the sauce and doing the second bake. These drumsticks are perfect served that way with the sauce on the side for dipping. It’s a great way also to control the spiciness from the sauce. Although, it’s not that hot, I promise. Just has the right kick to it.
I like the idea of having chicken wings for dinner, but since these are drumsticks that taste just like chicken wings, I think we can feel better about the choices we’re making in life. These are more substantial and make for the best game day or super bowl meal.
- 2 pounds chicken drumsticks
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
- Couple dashes liquid smoke (optional)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 3/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon granulated onion
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 cup hot sauce
- 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons BBQ sauce
- blue cheese dressing, for dipping
- carrots and celery, for serving
- Preheat oven to 475 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil and place a wire rack over it, set aside.
- In a large bowl, toss together the drumsticks, olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke (if using) and seasonings until evenly combined. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in fridge for about 1 hour or overnight for maximum flavor.
- Arrange the chicken on the prepared baking sheet in a single layer. Roast until golden brown, crispy and a thermometer registers 160 degrees F, about 20 to 25 minutes. Make sure to flip over halfway through roasting. Remove from oven and set aside.
- In a shallow dish or bowl, whisk together the hot sauce, melted butter and BBQ sauce. Dip the drumsticks in the sauce, making sure to coat both sides, and then return to baking sheet. Return to the oven and cook for another 10 minutes. Serve chicken with blue cheese or ranch and carrots and celery. Enjoy!
- Yield: 4 to 6 servings