A foolproof way to make chicken drumsticks ultra-tender
With their built-in handles and small size, economical chicken drumsticks are tailor-made for a cookout. So we decided to devise a foolproof way to roast them on the grill to ultra-tender perfection with nicely browned skin and wonderfully juicy meat.
We usually don't brine fattier dark meat, but since we were roasting the drumsticks for a fairly long time in the grill's dry heat we brined them first in salt water to help them retain their juices as well as to season them. A light coating of spice rub also upped their flavor.
We set up a half-grill fire with two zones: On the cooler side we roasted the drumsticks beyond their usual doneness temperature of 175 to 190 degrees, at which point most of their connective tissue had turned into rich gelatin and their skin had rendered gently.
Indirect grilling is largely hands off, but halfway through roasting we rearranged the drumsticks, moving those closer to the heat to the outside and those on the outside closer to the heat to ensure all of the drumsticks were done at the same time.
We moved them to the hotter side until the skin was nicely charred and crisp, which took only 5 minutes. Before applying the spice rub, smooth the skin over the drumsticks so it is covering as much surface area as possible. This will help the skin render evenly and prevent the meat from drying out.
• America's Test Kitchen provided this article to The Associated Press.