These baked chicken drumsticks are chicken wing killers. Figuratively speaking, of course. I can guarantee that most of you, if not all, will be making these drumsticks in place of chicken wings at least on occasion. Most likely on many occasions. I know I will. And guess what I will be serving at the next Super Bowl party? That’s right, my super crispy, deep-fried-like, Buffalo-style atomic baked chicken drumsticks.
Seeing how popular my extra crispy baked chicken wings recipe has been, I decided to try it on chicken drumsticks. The only change I made was to bump the baking temperature up from 425F to 450F as my experiments gave me the best results for drumsticks at this temperature. The results far exceeded my expectations. I would be very surprised if even the most discerning chicken drumstick lovers did not like this recipe.
The atomic drumsticks taste just like high quality chicken wings and have a similar texture. I suspect that it’s because of the way they are baked – at a very high temperature with an oven fan (convection) on, which crisps up the skin really well while leaving the meat inside tender and succulent. Just look at those gorgeous crispy drummies below.
Prior to baking, drumsticks are dusted with baking powder (NOT baking soda) to help the skin crisp up really nicely. That’s very important.
There will be some white residue left on the drumsticks after baking but THAT’S ABSOLUTELY FINE. You won’t taste it and once you toss your drumsticks with Buffalo or BBQ sauce you will forget it was ever there.
You see, conventionally baked drumsticks, no matter how good a recipe is, will have a somewhat greasy, soft and slightly rubbery skin at the end of the bake. Sure, you can turn on the broiler and crisp them up a bit, but the skin won’t come even close to the results you will get with this method. This method will give you a THIN, RIDICULOUSLY CRISPY, CRACKLY, BRITTLE skin. Just take a look below, do you see how the skin crackled after I poked it slightly with a fork?
Still not convinced? Alright, take a look at this short video I’ve made for all you skeptics.
Toss these drumsticks with some Buffalo sauce and you will have a hard time believing these are not deep-fried, over-sized Buffalo chicken drummettes.
Why the heck do I keep saying that? Why is that even important? OK, I’ll tell you why. I am
cheap economical and always look at things in terms of price/value, or meat to bone and meat to $$$ ratio in this case. According to The Kitchn, the average national price for chicken drumsticks is $1.20 per pound, while chicken wings will set you back $2.40 per pound.
Perfectly Rawsome provides some interesting facts on bone percentage in different chicken meat cuts. Let’s take a look:
Wing – 46%
Thigh – 21%
Leg (drumstick) – 27%
Chicken wing is almost half bone, while chicken leg (drumstick) is only a hair over a quarter bone. That means you are getting TWICE THE MEAT from one pound of drumsticks vs one pound of wings. FOR HALF THE PRICE!
What sauce you use doesn’t really matter as long as it’s your favorite sauce. My personal favorites are Duff’s Hot Sauce and Duff’s Char-B-Q sauce. A mix of these two does the trick for me on both wings and drumsticks. I have yet to find a better sauce, but that’s me. I am sure you have your own favorite sauce that nothing else comes even close to. So use that one.
Inside, the drumsticks are fall-off-the-bone tender and juicy. They are cooked to perfection. For me, drumsticks taste under-cooked until they hit 185F internal temperature or more.
Of course, to get that wonderfully crispy skin they need to be in the oven for the whole 35 minutes at 450F convection. They will hit 185F way before you will be pulling them out of the oven. But that’s TOTALLY FINE! The drumsticks will still be tender and juicy inside. They won’t taste under-cooked even one bit, but they won’t be over-cooked either. They will be JUST PERFECT!
And did I mention fall-off-the-bone tender and juicy inside? These baked chicken drumsticks are the bomb!
- 12 chicken drumsticks
- 2 Tbsp BAKING POWDER (do not use baking soda!!!)
- 2 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
- ¼ cup favorite BBQ sauce for tossing (or to taste)
- 2 Tbsp favorite hot wing sauce for tossing (or to taste)
- (I prefer Duff's Wing and Char-B-Q sauces)
- Preheat oven to 450F.
- Pat chicken drumsticks dry with paper towels really well and place in a large bowl. Sprinkle the baking powder all over the drumsticks and toss well to ensure even coverage.
- Line a large (15" x 21" is ideal) baking sheet with aluminum foil then parchment paper. I use foil strictly to avoid cleaning the baking sheet after baking but you may have a different view on this.
- Lay the drumsticks on the baking sheet, spacing them out generously, about 1-2 inches apart.
- Place the baking sheet in the oven. Set the oven to 450F convection. Bake the chicken drumsticks for 30-35 minutes, until they are nicely browned and crisp. Baking time may be different for you as different ovens bake differently. Start checking at 25 minutes.
- Remove the drumsticks from the oven, place in a large bowl, sprinkle with salt and pepper, add the Buffalo sauce, toss well and serve immediately while they are hot.