This is one of those dishes that smell so insanely good while you're cooking that your friends will start getting giddy and crowding around you, asking again and again, "Are they done yet?" I know the feeling well. My dad lives in Thailand, and when he takes me to the markets, these are the aromas that waft all around me: the sharp smell of chiles, the fresh punches of basil, browning chicken, and garlic—so much garlic. It takes control of me, and I think, "I have to eat—now!" That's the feeling I have re-created here by combining bright flavors and using the grill to intensify them. This dish is the perfect starter, and one of the best ways there is to treat underused, underappreciated drumsticks.
Servings: Serves 8
  • 16 chicken drumsticks
  • 4 Tbsp. (2 ounces) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 16 basil leaves, preferably Thai basil
  • 15 basil leaves , preferably Thai basil, cut into 1/4-inch chiffonade
    Note: To chiffonade the basil, stack the leaves and roll as tightly as possible into a cylinder. Cut across the roll so that when unrolled, the basil will be in thin, ribbon-like strips.
  • Coarsely ground fresh black pepper
  • Marinade
    • 9 Tbsp. fish sauce
    • 6 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
    • 6 Tbsp. freshly squeezed orange juice
    • 6 Tbsp. granulated sugar
    • 3 Tbsp. Japanese soy sauce
    • 3 Tbsp. chile paste , preferably Sriracha or sambal
    • 9 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
    • 12 garlic cloves , peeled, halved, germ removed, and grated on a Microplane grater
    • 6 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
    • 3 Tbsp. soy sauce
    • 3 Tbsp. fish sauce
    • 6 Tbsp. lightly packed dark brown sugar
    • 6 Tbsp. mirin
    • 6 Tbsp. apricot preserves
    • 1 medium jalapeno chile , thinly sliced
    • 1 1/2 Tbsp. chile paste , preferably Sriracha or sambal
    1. Combine all of the marinade ingredients in a medium bowl.

    Place the drumsticks in an extra-large resealable plastic bag (or divide between two large). Pour over the marinade, squeeze out any excess from the bag, and close.

    Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 8.

    2. Position two heavy-duty aluminum foil-wrapped firebricks on one area of the grate, and preheat all areas to medium-high.

    3. Lightly butter the bottom of two baking dishes or two disposable aluminum pans (using 2 tablespoons in each), preferably 131⁄2 x 9 5/8 x 2 3⁄4-inch lasagna pans, then divide the water between the two pans.

    4. Remove the drumsticks from the marinade letting any excess run off and remain in the bag.

    Place the drumsticks in the prepared pans, skin side down. The drumsticks will be touching, but should be in an even layer in the pan.

    Lightly bruise the basil leaves using the back of a chef's knife and arrange evenly across the drumsticks. Cover the tops of the pans with heavy-duty aluminum foil and crimp to seal.

    5. Stack the pans on the bricks, close the lid, and cook, rotating the pans from top to bottom once halfway through cooking. Cook for 20 minutes.

    6. Meanwhile, place all of the glaze ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake to combine.

    7. Remove the pans from the grill. Carefully, because the steam can burn, peel back the foil. Turn all of the drumsticks over. Cover the pan and seal. Place back on the bricks, close the lid, and cook, rotating the pans once halfway through cooking, for 20 minutes.

    8. Remove the pans from the grill. Arrange an even layer of paper towels on a sheet pan or work surface. Place the drumsticks on the towels, turning to dry on all sides. At this point the drumsticks should rest for at least 15 minutes, up to 2 hours, or can be cooled and refrigerated for up to 1 day.

    9. When ready to finish, give the glaze ingredients a quick shake and pour into a baking dish or disposable aluminum pan, preferably a 13 1⁄2 x 9 5/8 x 2 3⁄4-inch lasagna pan.

    Dredge the drumsticks in the glaze and place on the grate, flipping, jockeying, stacking, reglazing, and turning occasionally until all sides are well marked and lightly charred, about 15 minutes.

    Roll the drumsticks in the glaze a final time and sprinkle with the basil chiffonade and the black pepper.

    At this point the drumsticks can be held on the bricks on low in a covered grill for 30 minutes, or transferred to a serving platter.

    From Serious Barbecue by Adam Perry Lang. Copyright © 2009. Published by Hyperion. Available wherever books are sold. All rights reserved.


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