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I decided it’s about time I start cleaning out my freezer and seeing what I can use and what needs to be thrown away. This package of drumsticks was occupying the back of the second shelf. I don’t really know a whole lot of things to do with drumsticks, but the first thing I immediately think of is barbecue. I kind of needed something quick and easy too – I didn’t want to spend all day in the kitchen.

This recipe does take some think-ahead time because you start the day before, partially cook the chicken, and let it marinate in the sauce until you’re ready to use it, but actual preparation the day of is very simple. You can use whatever barbecue sauce you like, and using a bottled sauce would certainly make it an even easier recipe, but I wanted to try one from Cooks Illustrated (originally published for serving with pork), and I’ve included that recipe here for you as well.

The chicken turned out great, and the sauce was sweet and sticky and good. It made for a great summer meal! You can also use this recipe for thighs, and I’m sure other parts of chicken as well. This is a halved recipe, so if you have more than two people you may want to double it.

Barbecue Chicken Drumsticks (Recipe found here)

  • 5-6 chicken drumsticks and/or thighs, with skin on
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce (or one recipe Cooks Illustrated sauce below)

PREP DIRECTIONS:

In oblong storage container (I just used a large bowl), pour 1/4-1/2 cup barbecue sauce on bottom and tilt to evenly coat.

Put chicken into dutch oven or other large pot with a lid. Fill with water until water is about 2 inches higher than chicken. Bring to a boil and cook 15-20 minutes – no longer, or chicken will be tough. Pour into colander to drain water.

While chicken is in colander, turn on cool water, and while holding chicken leg under water, pull off skin and any fat (meat will be tender so be careful not to pull off any meat pieces).

Place each skinned piece into the prepared container. If using thighs, place the piece meat-side down, the side the bone isn’t sticking out of.

Pour the rest of the barbecue sauce evenly over the chicken, making sure to cover all the meat. Cover container (I covered the bowl with plastic wrap) and put into fridge either for the rest of the day or overnight. Because the chicken is hot, it absorbs more of the sauce flavoring.

COOKING DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place coated pieces of chicken in greased oblong or square pan. Bake for 40 minutes. Alternately, you can grill.

CI Barbecue Sauce (Slightly adapted from Cooks Illustrated July & Aug 2009)

  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup molasses (calls for light or mild, all I had was dark and it was fine)
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar

Bring all ingredients to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat; cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce is reduced to about 1 cup, 5-7 minutes.

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This chicken was unbelievably delicious. The trick? Slow cooking it in the oven, breast-side DOWN to absorb all the lovely juices, as found at Soup of the Day.

The chicken completely fell off the bone when we served it up, which meant it was a cinch to pull the rest of the meat off afterwards to store for leftovers. I served it with carrots and stuffing (from a box… don’t judge me).

In the last 45 minutes of cooking, the directions say to add 1 cup of water and 1 cup of white wine. At this point, I re-covered it to finish baking, but my “sauce” didn’t reduce like Traci describes, and I’m wondering if I should have left it uncovered for those last 45 minutes.

However, I assure you either way should be fine – I ended up with plenty of this gorgeous broth that I’ll be saving for some future recipes:

The only drawback to this recipe is time, but I think I will continue to use the breast-down technique in the future. I’m not a fan of bone-dry white meat 🙂

Here’s the jist of the recipe:

Upside-Down Chicken (Recipe found here)

In a large oven-safe pot with a lid (I used a crockpot insert and covered with foil because I didn’t have anything else), place whole chicken breast-side down.

Add a generous amount of salt and pepper, and other spices if desired (garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, oregano, etc). Drizzle a good amount of olive oil over the top and rub it into the chicken.

Cook uncovered at 375 degrees for 30 minutes, then turn down to 325 degrees, cover, and cook for 2 hours.

In the last 45 minutes, add desired vegetables, 1 cup water and 1 cup white wine.

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