Grilled Drumsticks with Peach Barbecue Sauce

Adapted via One Lovely Life
Serves: 4 to 6

For the sauce:
♦ 2 slices bacon
♦ 1 bunch fresh thyme (pull out a few sprigs for brine)
♦ olive oil
♦ 1 small onion, diced
♦ 1 shallot, minced
♦ 2 cloves garlic, minced
♦ 2 cups ketchup
♦ 1 (10- or 12-oz) jar peach preserves
♦ 1/4 cup brown sugar
♦ 2 tbsp molasses
♦ 2 tbsp maple syrup
♦ 2 tbsp red wine or cider vinegar
♦ 1 tbsp dry mustard powder
♦ 1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
♦ 1/2 tsp black pepper
♦ pinch (up to 1/8 tsp) cumin

For the chicken:
♦ 2 1/2 to 3 pounds chicken drumsticks, skin removed
♦ 4 cups cold water
♦ approximately 1 cup ice
♦ 1 tbsp kosher salt (coarse salt – do not use iodized)
♦ 3 tbsp brown sugar
♦ a few sprigs fresh thyme

Make the barbecue sauce: using a piece of cooking twine, wrap the bunch of thyme with the strips of bacon to make a “bundle”. Brown bacon/thyme bunch in a small drizzle of olive oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven, for about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the onion and shallot, and cook over medium heat until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more, or until fragrant. Add remaining ingredients, and stir to combine. Cover and simmer about 20 minutes to allow the flavors to blend. You should have about 3 1/2 to 4 cups of sauce (can be made 2 days ahead – highly recommended, as it will allow the flavors to meld).

Make the brine: combine all ingredients (except the chicken) in a gallon-sized zip top bag. Add drumsticks to the brine, adding just enough water to fully submerge the chicken; refrigerate for 2 hours (or at least 30 minutes) before cooking. Remove drumsticks from brine (discard brine); carefully rinse the drumsticks, and pat dry with paper towels. Allow to sit at room temperature for 30 to 45 minutes prior to cooking.

Grill the chicken: preheat your grill to medium/high heat – place the chicken drumsticks onto the grill, skin-side up, and shut the grill. Allow to cook for 7 to 8 minutes – open the grill, flip the chicken and close once more, cooking for an additional 7 to 8 minutes. Continue this process for another three or four flips (for a total 25 minutes). Baste the drumsticks liberally with the sauce, and shut the grill lid – cook for 5 minutes. Open, flip the drumsticks, and baste once more, then close and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Continue basting and flipping until the chicken is fully cooked. Allow to rest for 10 minutes; serve with additional barbecue sauce on the side.

(Note: for baking the drumsticks, spread  over a large cookie sheet covered with foil and sprayed with nonstick spray to prevent sticking. Bake at 450 degrees for 20-25 minutes, rotating halfway through. Remove chicken from the oven, baste and cook for about 5 minutes; flip the drumsticks, baste once more and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Serve with extra sauce).

To read more about this dish and my musical pairing, click HERE.

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