Who doesn’t love a tasty, juicy chicken drumstick?
They bring back memories of childhood picnics where you have to eat them with your fingers, no knives and forks please!
What’s more, they are a great protein source as well as containing amino acids and some vitamins.
But they need careful cooking to ensure they are thoroughly but not overcooked as the dark meat can become tough.
There are many ways to cook chicken drumsticks, but today we are going to look at how to cook chicken drumsticks on your stove top without any need to use your oven at all.
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Most of us are probably more used to the traditional forms of either deep frying or oven roasting chicken drumsticks so you might be asking yourself why they should be pan fried instead.
Firstly, some of us simply might not have access to an oven. You might be camping, moving house, or even a student with a simple hob in your kitchenette.
Then, deep fat frying you chicken can turn healthy little drumsticks into high fat diet-breakers. Also, for those without a good quality deep fat fryer, you will end up with the smell of hot oil permeating throughout your home. Plus there is the cost of using all that oil as well.
Finally, oven cooking is an expensive process for just one tray of food so, if that is all you are cooking, it is a bit of waste or money and energy. It’s also a little fiddly and easily forgotten if you have to keep opening the oven door to turn the drumsticks over to ensure even cooking and check if they’re ready.
So it could very well be that pan frying your chicken drumsticks is a more economical, somewhat healthier, less smelly and more environmentally friendly alternative.
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How to Cook Chicken Drumsticks on the Stove
Prepare your chicken drumsticks by making sure that, if frozen, they are thoroughly defrosted. (You really should never cook chicken from frozen as you cannot guarantee all parts will be cooked properly.)
They will cook better and more evenly if cooked from room temperature so try to take them out of the refrigerator 15 minutes (no longer) before starting to cook them.
Pat your chicken dry with a clean paper towel. This dries off any water or saline solution that will have been used in the packing process and will help the skin become deliciously crispy when cooked.
Note: Some people like to wash their chicken before using. But most food hygienists say this may be a very bad idea, as it may transfer bacteria from the outside to the inside of the flesh of the bird, as well as splash pathogens around your home.
Now is the time to season your drumsticks. You can use basic salt and pepper or add some chili powder, Asian spices, garlic powder, paprika etc.; whatever you feel like. Simply mix the dry spices together and rub really well onto your drumsticks and put them to one side.
Take a large skillet, cast iron is a popular recommended option, but a non-stick, non-toxic pan is fine. Put in approximately one tablespoon of the oil of your choice per 6 drumsticks. (Personally, I like olive oil but vegetable or coconut oil will work too.) Place the skillet on a medium-high heat until the oil is hot.
Place each drumstick, skin side down into the pan. The oil should sizzle and spit if the oil is hot enough. It’s best to cook maximum 6 drumsticks at a time in a large skillet. If you try to cram too many in, the oil temperature will drop too quickly and you will get soggy skin.
After 10 minutes, turn the drumsticks over and cook for another 10 minutes, 20 minutes in total. If the skin is browning too quickly, you can reduce the heat a little.
Tip: How to know if your drumstick is ready to turn? When you try to turn it and the skin sticks to the pan, it’s not ready and you need to give it a couple more minutes.
Insert your meat thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken but not touching any bone. The chicken needs to be 165˚F to be safe to eat. If you’re not sure what is the thickest part of the drumstick, try a couple of different areas to be sure. If you have different sized drumsticks and the smaller ones are ready first, remove them from the heat whilst the larger ones finish cooking.
Note: No matter how many times you have cooked chicken and however much of an expert you are, I would always recommend you use a meat thermometer to check for readiness. It not only makes sure the chicken is safe to eat but also stops you overcooking. You don’t need to cut it open and lose those lovely juices to check either!
Remove the drumsticks from the heat and rest them on a draining rack for a few minutes so any excess oil is removed. You can also pat them with a paper towel but do not let them rest on the towel as you will lose all the skin crispiness you worked so hard to achieve.
These drumsticks are delicious hot or cold. If you want to eat them hot, wash your hands, use your fingers and enjoy. If you want to eat them cold later, put them on a plate in the refrigerator until completely cool and then in a sealed container for maximum of 2 days.
I like this type of cooking as it is quick, simple and yet produces tasty results. What’s more, it is always convenient to have some chicken drumsticks ready in your refrigerator for a snack, for unexpected visitors, for a weekend picnic in the park or for hungry children when they come home from school. Add a side salad and some crusty bread and you are all set to enjoy.