The Super Bowl is fast approaching and we have been testing recipes for the big party. One problem we were having is that nothing quite holds sauce like deep fried meat, - those crispy bubbles on the surface of the skin just grab on to all the delicious sauce. I, on the other hand, do not like standing over a pot of hot oil to cook things. I would much rather place a tray of food in the oven and check back on it a few times.
Like most of life's questions, Google has the answer. Specifically, a YouTube channel called Food Wishes, where Chef John made some crispy baked chicken wings. He reminds me of the chef version of ZeFrank. Go subscribe to his channel. He is hilarious.
These oven baked drumsticks, inspired by Chef John, use some kitchen chemistry to replicate the taste and texture of fried chicken. I have attempted to find some scientific explanation, but Serious Eats is the source that everyone points to for explaining how baking powder makes poultry skin crispy. Apparently, it adds some alkalinity to the skin, allowing the proteins to break down, and mixes with chicken juices to release carbon dioxide which forms tiny bubbles on the surface.
Don't worry - it will not have any baking powder taste.
Crispy Chicken Drumsticks
1200g chicken (about 2.5 lbs)
2 tsp kosher salt *(1 tsp salt if using small pieces like wings)
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 tbsp Club House Roasted Garlic and Peppers Seasoning
2 tbsp baking powder
Jeow Bong Honey Sauce
1/4 cup Jeow Bong
1/4 cup Honey
2 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
Preheat the oven to 425 F (220 C). Wash the chicken and pat dry. Place in a bowl.
Mix the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl. If you are not using the Club House Roasted Garlic and Peppers Seasoning, use an extra teaspoon of salt.
Pour dry ingredients over the drumsticks and stir to coat.
We put our chicken in the oven right away at this point.
Serious Eats recommends that you leave the chicken up to 24 hours, uncovered in the fridge to allow the baking soda to form the carbon dioxide bubbles and the salt to dry brine the meat. They also use the inverse proportion of salt to baking soda (a lot more salt and way less baking powder), so keep that in mind.
Once fully coated, arrange on a baking rack, on top of a foil lined baking pan. Put in the oven for 60 minutes, and turn every 20 minutes.
We tried to put the chicken directly on the foil lined pan once, and the skin just stuck to the pan. Learn from my mistakes and use the rack.
When you turn the chicken, you might notice some areas of white. Do not worry, we will be flipping the legs over one more time, and if the white is still there we will spread chicken fat drippings on the white part and it will crisp up beautifully in the last 20 minutes.
Use a thermometer to make sure the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 F (75 C) or higher.
You could eat the drumsticks right now, as it is. They are delicious. But the sauce makes it so much better.
Mix the sauce ingredients together and toss to coat. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and green onion. Enjoy!