This summer was the first one that I owned an actual bbq yet had no man to helm it. Usually, the whole shebang goes something like this: I spend hours preparing the food while the guy drinks beer, then once I'm done, he fires up the bbq puts everything on there and gee whizz, a short time later, it is he who has cooked the meal and is the hero of the party. But is this bbq business really as hard as it looks? I put it to the test when I started cooking everything on my little Webber out on the deck this summer out of sheer avoidance of having a messy kitchen and having to clean the stovetop ( I know some people find it pleasurable, but gimme a vacuum job over a stovetop any day).
Dear readers, I know this will blow your mind but lo and behold, bbq-ing is not something only a male brain can understand! It is actually a really easy and versatile way of cooking that can be more foolproof than you think.
In my experimentations with the best bbq chicken recipes , I made up this drumstick recipe. I have a really good wings recipe involving molasses that is beyond delicious, but did you know that many people still don't like to think that their meat was once an animal with many bones? I needed to get a protein with less bones to appease my guests so this technique was born and it quickly became a favourite , not only for the flavour explosion but also the ease of putting it together in a hurry.
I made this for dinner last night and this picture was taken quickly as people were salivating around me. I am a terrible food stylist but I am an excellent hand swatter, and trust me, you will have to be one as well if you make this- it is that delicious that I recommend you get more chicken than what you think people will want to eat - I never have any chicken leftover and even the vegetarian friends sometimes get tempted into a bite ( can they still call themselves a vegetarian , idk, but I'm flattered either way)
This recipe is paleo, gluten, dairy and sugar free. Serves 2-3 people depending on your hunger levels
for the dry rub
- 6 organic chicken drumsticks
- 2 -3 tablespoons of sumac ( a dried berry spice)
- 1-2 level tablespoon of turmeric
- 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (do change this for taste)
- good oil such as olive oil, tasteless coconut oil, grapeseed oil or expeller pressed sunflower oil
- salt and pepper
for the wet sauce
- 2 jalapeño peppers chopped
- half a bunch of garlic chives chopped
- 4 spring onions or scallions chopped
- juice of 2-3 limes
- a bunch of coriander/cilantro chopped
- olive oil + salt and pepper
In a large bowl, mix the chicken drumsticks with the spices, a good glug of oil and salt and pepper, making sure that the drumsticks are evenly coated with spices. You can do this ahead of time and keep in the fridge overnight for extra flavour, but I find that immediately before cooking is still yummy. Turn the bbq to high, then 5 minutes later, turn the bbq to medium low. Place the chicken on the bbq- it should be hot enough that you hear sizzling. I have found that 10 minutes on one side is a good amount of time to get lightly charcoaled and cooked through. I ended up doing 10 minutes on the skin side with the lid down, then 10 minutes on the other side with the lid down, and then I will do 3-5 minutes on the narrow curves that miss out right at the end with the lid open. This guarantees that the chicken is cooked through properly yet is still juicy. My chicken drumsticks are pretty small - if you have bigger ones and are unsure if the meat is cooked through, I recommend slicing open one of the legs to make sure. Nothing worse than still raw in the middle chicken served!
Whilst the legs are grilling, place all the wet sauce ingredients in a small bowl and mix through. Once the chicken is plated, pour the wet sauce all over it. Voila!
I served this meal with quick sides. Small onions were dipped into olive oil and then thrown on the bbq, and were turned whenever the chicken was. I also made a salad of watercress, rocket, kalamata olives, goat's blue cheese and figs with a balsamic dressing for some healthy greens. I know everyone is so against carbs these days but I'm a total fan so I made some potato and sweet potato chips in the oven as they take just as long as the chicken to cook. I sliced the potato quite thin and added olive oil, sumac, salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme and whole garlic. I then sliced the sweet potato in double the thickness (because it takes less time to cook ) and mixed it with cinnamon, sumac, salt and pepper and of course oil , then added it to the same pan as the other chips. Fan grill on 200-220C and half an hour later you have chips that even the carb avoiders cannot deny.
PS: the beautiful plates are from In The Roundhouse