I'm a lover of lard and butter, and all those rich, delicious old-school traditional fats. So while I've nothing against fat, I do try to avoid frying foods at all costs. I can't handle the mess, and the expense of wasted fats leaves me dizzy. I'm not one to complain about the cost of real food, but neither am I one to waste it. Instead, I rely on my oven (and skill) to yield the same results, and one of my family's favorite foods is Oven-fried Chicken Drumsticks.
I tuck the drumsticks away into picnic baskets, serving them with cole slaw, potato salad, or fermented beets. I toss a few bottles of homemade root beer or water kefir into the basket, and we head on our way - to the park, to the creek or to the various open-air concerts that come together each summer in our little town in the mountains.
Brining for Tender Oven-fried Chicken Drumsticks
The prolonged cooking required for oven-fried chicken drumsticks to acquire they're crispy skin presents a potential problem: dried out meat. When I prepare drumsticks, I start first by brining the meat in a solution of salt, water and honey flavored by a single chile pepper. Brining helps to improve the the texture, flavor and moisture of many cuts of poultry, but pasture-raised poultry sees even greater benefits as it tends toward dryness.
Trick to Getting Crispy Skin on Oven-fried Chicken Drumsticks
To keep the skin on your drumsticks from being soggy, remember to drain the brine very well, and pat the drumsticks thoroughly dry before baking them. Finally, crisp the skin with about 15 minutes in a very hot oven. Then serve.
Very good and crispy!! All the family liked it.
I've been oven-frying chicken (including pastured) for 50 years using my mother's method: preheat oven to 425, put chicken in roasting pan skin-side down and roast 20 minutes; turn chicken to skin-side up, drop temperature to 400, and roast 20 minutes. Serve. Perfect and crispy. I do this with just rubs, or shaken in seasoned flour. If chicken is particularly lean, I sometimes spray the pan first, but it's usually not necessary.
Jenny, I have to tell you that this is the absolute best way to "fry" chicken in the world!! 🙂 My husband asks for this quite often, and brags to others that his wife 'make the best fried chicken'... etc. I have even brined the chicken (I use the entire cut up chicken, not just the drum sticks) for a couple of days, and "ran out of days" because we were heading out of town, so I froze the chicken in the brine, and when we came home I thawed it and continued on with the recipe. .. That was probably the "best" we have ever eaten.. but it's ALWAYS good! I use almond flour for the nut flour. Thank you for making me a hero in the fried chicken world 🙂
Hi, Thank you for the recipe, can't wait to try it...can the chicken be skinless or needs the skin on? Thanks again!
I keep the skin on - the flavor and crunch is better that way.
Would it be OK to brine them for longer than 4 hours?
My family LOVES these chicken legs! Thank you so much for a amazing way to make chicken during the cold winter months. The brining is the absolute key to keeping them so tender and moist. The last 15 minutes of crisping them up is so brilliant. Sometimes baked chicken is so soggy and yuck...but this skin is so eatable! Even the breading is 3 year old approved - with all the peppers and seasonings!! It's very mild.
Thank you again for an excellent chicken recipe.
Chicken came out great, but when i went to turn it halfway through cooking , the skin was stuck to the parchment paper...any ideas?
Amy Raphael says
Can't wait to try this for my poultry loving husband! My oven has a convection setting - would you use it and if so how might you modify your baking times?
mark solesky says
using convection oven, cook @ 325 degrees for 22.5 minutes ,turn & cook for additional 22.5 minutes. Then increase temperature tp 400 degrees & cook for 15 minutes. Hope this helps.
Hey Jenny - wondering if you've ever tried this in your clay pot?
tiffany oconnell says
Thanks Jen for this receipe. I made this for dinner without the chili and it was awesome. The girls loved it too and i am looking forward to the leftovers tomorrow for lunch!
It is awesome! One of our favorites, for sure.