When you are with your family, you really are supposed to be able to relax, chill out and be completely at ease and comfortable. After all, with your family, you have grown up and shown both the best and worst of who you are, and they have hopefully really seen it all.
Only sometimes because of my kids, I still get embarrassed. Case in point, today Mom went out and picked up some chicken drumsticks with the intention of braising them for the kids. I casually mentioned that sometimes the kids didn't like braised things (I think it is textural for them) and so I would make a different kind of chicken, perhaps one that is barbecued on the grill. Mom looked a bit skeptical, but I said that the kids would probably prefer it over the braised so she agreed to let me cook them the way I wanted.
I decided to barbecue the chicken and then finish it with a slightly sweet soy ginger glaze. The result was a chicken that my kids could not get enough of. There were 10 drumsticks and my children finished 8. Mom caught my eye and raised her voice through the madness of three kids trying to eat chicken saying, "Save two for your father." I did. I set two aside, and after the kids had finished decimating chicken, Father (Grandfather to Son and Daughter) came home and sat down to eat his meal.
I shoo'ed the kids away from the table, saying that Grandpa needed to eat quietly and the next thing I knew, Daughter #2 sat down right next to Grandpa, without making eye contact with anyone. She did however, repeat over and over, "I want chicken. I want more chicken. Mom is there more chicken?" all the while Grandpa has his own two pieces on the plate. I muttered, "There is no more chicken so go and do something else."
Daughter #2 wouldn't budge and kept on saying, "More chicken, more chicken, chicken."
Another moment later, Daughter #1 came by and also started saying, "More chicken." Grandfather took a bite of the chicken and Daughters practically yelped with jealousy. I shushed them and said, "You already had yours," and then Grandfather picked up the other chicken and asked, "Do you guys want it?" At this point, Grandma interjected saying, "The kids already had their portion. Those three tiny kids ate eight pieces of chicken already. They don't need more." Grandfather shook his head and asked, "Maybe they need nine pieces?"
I felt my face flush as I realized Grandfather felt compelled to give up his own food to feed my children. Again, my children were embarrassing me with their ravenous appetite. But I think it had to do with the fact that the chicken just tasted so good. Even Grandfather, with his incredibly picky palate commented, "The chicken tastes much better than usual!" (Usual is Mom's cooking, so I don't know how she felt about THAT.) I told Grandpa to eat his and gave Son and Daughter some fruit and the promise to cook them some more of this chicken.
The recipe is very straightforward - cook the drumsticks and then baste with the glaze, but it really does require some patience in the cooking, as barbecuing drumsticks, with the skin and the bone requires a certain amount of patience. Set aside 45 minutes just for the time of cooking the drumsticks.
Ginger Soy Glaze BBQ Chicken Drumsticks
Makes 10 drumsticks, which barely fed my three children
10 chicken drumsticks, with skin still on
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons sake
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons ginger, finely grated
2 tablespoons garlic, finely chopped
Toasted sesame seeds for garnish (optional)
In a heavy saucepan, add all ingredients for glaze together and cook until simmering, reduce heat, and maintain low simmer for 15 minutes. Once it has simmered for 15 minutes, set aside. The mixture will not be super thick, but it will be somewhat reduced and the flavors concentrated. This can be done ahead of time and allowed to cool to room temperature.
In a large bowl, toss chicken with olive oil and several good pinches of salt and pepper. Coat chicken pieces well. Set aside until needed.
Heat grill to medium high. Over high heat, place chicken onto grill. The ultimate goal at this juncture is to crisp up the skin, which will require some time to crisp up. Watch carefully. If you are confident enough to shut the lid and grill, go ahead, but be careful not to burn the chicken, because no sauce can cure burnt chicken. I generally choose not to close the lid so that I can carefully monitor my chicken, but that may be due to my own lack of confidence in my skill.
Carefully cook and crisp up all sides of chicken until it is a lovely golden brown, about 30 minutes.
Once chicken begins getting golden, move to a slightly cooler part of the grill and begin basting with the glaze. Slowly glaze and cook, repeating over and over until chicken is fully cooked and cooked through. (you can test for this by piercing the chicken at the thickest part and seeing if the juices run clear.) I generally like cooking my drumsticks VERY well, so that the meat is well cooked and not overly juicy. Cook for an additional 15-20 minutes, glazing and cooking carefully.
Serve, sprinkled with some crushed toasted sesame seeds.
Delicious for your next outdoor party