Steven Raichlen's Barbecue! Bible


Maple-Sriracha Glazed Chicken Drumsticks



  • Yield: Makes 12 legs, serving 4 to 6 as a main course
  • Equipment: Wood chips or chunks for smoking (if using the latter, soak in water for 30 minutes, then drain)
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For the chicken:

  • 1 quart water
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 1 quart ice water
  • 12 chicken drumsticks (3-1/2 to 4 pounds), preferably organic
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons black peppercorns

For the glaze:

  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 6 tablespoons Sriracha, or more to taste

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped chives

Step 1: Make the brine: In a large saucepan over high heat, bring 1 quart of water and the salt, cloves, bay leaves, and peppercorns to a boil. Stir with a wooden spoon until the salt dissolves. Stir in the ice water to cool the brine quickly. Add the drumsticks to the brine (make sure they’re completely submerged) and refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours.

Step 2: Remove the chicken from the brine and drain well. Dry each drumstick with paper towels. Discard the brine.

Step 3: Set up the grill for smoke-roasting and preheat to medium (350 degrees). Arrange the drumsticks in a single layer in the center of the grill, flattest side down. (The outside of the drumstick will have a more rounded shape.) Divide the wood chips between the piles of coals. Cover the grill and smoke-roast the drumsticks until the skin is crisp and nicely browned and the chicken is cooked through, 45 minutes to 1 hour. The internal temperature in the thickest part of the meat should be 180 to 185 degrees. (Higher than is recommended for chicken breasts.)

Step 4: In the meantime, make the glaze: Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in the maple syrup and Sriracha and continue to heat until the mixture bubbles, about 5 minutes. Set aside and keep warm.

Step 5: About 10 minutes before the chicken is done, brush each drumstick on all sides with the glaze and return to the grill. (Alternatively, transfer the glaze to a tall deep container and holding the legs with tongs, dunk into the glaze.) Repeat during the last few minutes. Arrange the drumsticks on a platter and drizzle with some of the glaze. Sprinkle with the chives. Serve the remaining glaze on the side.

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