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Cajun spice-rub chicken

September 7, 2010
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I am of the firm belief that chicken drumsticks have been neglected in our lifetime. Changing back recently from a vegetarian of 4-5 years to a fully-fledged carnivove involved the decision to try to buy ethically. Unfortunately this generally clashes with life under a student budget, leading to many minutes spent staring at the poultry section of Tesco/Sainsbury trying to work out a cheap way of eating. FYI: chicken thighs are much cheaper, and I think sometimes tastier, in dishes such as casseroles and stirfrys. And secondly: the humble chicken drumstick. Purchasable at many a southern necessity per £, and great for packed lunches and BBQs. Both are cheaper than chicken breasts, and can be bought quite reasonably either as Organic or Free range.

My father has an excellent way of cooking drumsticks for the BBQ. He cooks the pieces of chicken whole in a large pan of boiling water, seasoned with salt, pepper and a whole onion, for approx. 10-15 mins. Then he marinades the pieces in a secret recipe (which i must steal), before finally BBQing. The result is chicken that is cooked safely, retains its moisture due to the boiling (unlike roasting), and only requires minimum time on the BBQ to finish cooking and crisp up.

Sadly I had neither a BBQ or a large pot (or an onion actually). For these chicken legs, I turned to the spice rub method. Basting/marinading the drumsticks first is another effective way of giving them lots of flavour without a kilo bag of charcoal.

[aside. Drumsticks really don’t look like drumsticks]

To create the marinade rub, first baste the drumsticks with a little bit of honey, to make the skin stick to the rub and also add a slight sweet edge. Next prepare the rub:

(for about 10 drumsticks)

  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • large pinch salt and papper
  • crushed garlic cloves x 2
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne (do to taste. This gives them quite a kick)
  • 1 tsp chilli powder / to taste
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp ketchup
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil

Add the olive oil last to the spices, until you have a good thick paste. I believe in tasting everything (as long as it’s safe. I would probably advise against licking the chicken legs, if you were tempted for some reason. If you were tempted, you may require supervision) so adjust seasoning. Then with a pastry brush, liberally apply the mixture to all sides. Leave to marinade ~1 hr in the fridge, then bake in a preheated oven Gas Mark 7 for 30-40 mins. Check halfway through and turn the legs, and again at 30 mins, to see if the juices run clear. Then try to eat without licking your lips / fingers [quite impossible].

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