Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Ginger Soy Glazed BBQ Chicken Drumsticks: Why I shouldn't be embarrassed in front of my family but still am

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.

Printable recipe

Delicious for your next outdoor party


Jenny Chang said...

Thank you for the recipe and all of the inspiring pictures! I made this for a potluck we went to on 4th of July and I got so many compliments. I wasn't able to fire up my grill but I baked the drumsticks on a wire grill (with a roasting pan underneath) in the oven at 400*F for about 37-40 minutes and they turned out so juicy yet crispy. Thanks again!

The Witch said...

No wonder your kids hounded their poor Grandfather for his dinner. We made these this week and they were fantastic. They're definately going into regular rotation at our house. Thanks so much for sharing.

Into my own said...

Jenny, thank you for sharing your recipes. I made your ginger soy chicken thighs on the grill yesterday and so super tasty. I bought drumsticks today because they were on sale! And was surprised to see that you don't marinate them before grilling? Why the differentiation? And do you think I could cook the sticks up today and then grill and slather with glaze right before serving? My dd is turning 11 and loves drumsticks but kids are not super patient..... Thank you for your time and advice!

Joanne Choi said...

Hi into my own...
The difference between the drumsticks and the thighs is basically cooking time. Skin on, bone in drumsticks just take that much longer to cook - so any sort of marinade or sauce with a sugar content in it will burn and scorch before the chicken meat cooks properly. Over very low heat, with lots of care, it probably could be done, but I actually think it is very difficult. So in this case, since the drumsticks take such a long time, it is better to do it as a glaze so that the drumstick really cooks all the way through before the glaze has a chance to burn.

You might want to try cooking up the drumsticks in the oven as the first commenter Jenny did...and then transferring to the grill. Or just doing them in the oven which would be a lot less maintenance and watch as the grill heat is never so steady as an oven.

Into my own said...

Thank you so very much for your quick response. Makes sense. I just fired up the grill! The birthday party kids are sure to be hungry when they get home from laser tag. Thank you again!

Susan said...

I bought drumsticks with the intention of doing oven fried chicken (a personal fave of mine) but decided to try something different. I gave your recipe a shot using white wine in place of sake (don't have it) and one tsp of ginger powder. I also used garlic salt on the chicken during the initial cooking stage. I didn't grill for low-maintenance cooking. I think the grill would have infused the flavor better, but the glaze was delicious. Thoroughly enjoyed by my munchkins and hubby! THanks for recipe!

Anonymous said...

I do not have sake. Is there something else i can use in place of it?

Joanne Choi said...

if you don't have sake, just leave it out or replace it with white wine.

Jasmine said...

Joanne - have you used this glaze on vegetables? I'm hosting a BBQ this weekend and one guest is a vegetarian so I was thinking of making tofu/veggie kabobs and use this sauce to glaze the veggies and serve it over rice. Or do you have a sauce recommendation? Thanks!

Joanne Choi said...

On tofu I think it might be too sweet? I'm not sure how easily tofu kabobs would cook with this on it as it is very sweet and could burn. I would tell you to either braise the tofu http://weekofmenus.blogspot.com/2009/07/braised-tofu-vegetarians-can-braise-too.html

or do this pan fried version.

Roxanna said...

Looks fantastic! Ginger Soy Glazed BBQ Chicken Drumsticks recipe is perfect for my daughter's birthday party. She want's lots of pork and chicken barbecues, that's why. I'm planning to use gas barbecue accessories in order to impress my daughter and her friends, hoping to receive rave gas barbecues reviews from them. It's on me to buy gas barbecue accessories next week in a gas barbecues sale to prepare for the event.

Thanks for the creative and well-written post, Joanne! It's funny!

ann said...

If I choose to roast the chicken legs in the oven, can I mix in the marinade and roast as usual?


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