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Korean Oven Fried Chicken Drumsticks With My Handy Dandy NordicWare Chicken Leg Griller

If you read my blog, you already know that I am absolutely crazy about gochujang, the korean fermented hot pepper paste. As a wise old lady I know through the tv says, I put that shit in everything.

I also harbour a deep and abiding love for fried Korean chicken wings and they are usually the first thing on the menu to get into my belly when we eat at This End Up, one of our favourite spots to eat in Toronto. They are spicy, sticky and sweet, covered in toasted sesame seeds and super messy to eat - basically everything  you could ever want in a wing. Unfortunately, I don't deep fry at home for many reasons. As I tell anyone who will listen, I am terrified of burning my house down and you know my deaf, farsighted old pooch would never make it out in time. I just don't trust myself with a vat of boiling oil. Honestly, who would?

Due to my deep frying gestalt, I started making panko breaded baked chicken with the sauce to satisfy the craving when I couldn't make it out to the west end and I was very happy with the results. That dish has made my heavy dinner rotation and I didn't really think of taking it any further until I received this Chicken Leg Griller in my swag package from Nordic Ware, one of generous sponsors of the Food Bloggers of Canada Conference. I have to admit, I kept looking at that thing and thinking "what the hell am I going to do with this contraption?" 
I am not really a jalapeño popper type of gal and, although I love wings, it never really occurs to me to buy just drumsticks. But drumsticks are just giant chicken wings if you think about it and I love chicken wings so maybe this griller wasn't so ridiculous, after all.

I waited for the right moment to take it for a test drive after having that little revelation. I had found this fabulous method of oven frying chicken on Just as Delish a while back that really works - the chicken comes out of the oven with dry, crispy skin and is dangerously close to deep fried. I am all about anything that gives the illusion of hot oil frying while sparing my family any trauma.  It was time to combine the awesome oven frying technique with the chicken leg griller AND the sticky Korean gochujang sauce and see what would pop out of the oven. 

Well, I am thrilled to report that crispy, oven fried chicken legs popped out of the oven and once they were rolled around in the sauce and sprinkled with sesame seeds and scallion that we were rewarded with a pretty perfect fake fried korean chicken leg. Our bellies were full, our family home was spared and our old, senile dog would live to see another day.
Doesn't get better than that. 

Oh and that griller is pretty great - the chicken cooks evenly. Since the meat is standing the air circulates around it so you don't have to bother with turning it and all of the fat drips off and down into the bottom of the cookie sheet. If you are feeding many mouths and make chicken drumsticks on a regular basis it is definitely worth investing in. I don't know if I would actually buy it myself, only because there are only three of us and I would almost never cook that many drumsticks at once but now that I have it, I will use it.

*obviously, I received the Nordic Ware chicken leg griller as a gift but my opinions cannot be bought, yo.

Spicy Korean Drumsticks

adapted from Just As Delish

6 to 8 chicken drumsticks

1/2 tsp salt

2 tbls cornstarch

Toss the chicken with the salt and cornstarch until the chicken is completely coated. Put them in the fridge, uncovered, for at least 2 hours or all day. Uncovering the chicken is a trick I learned from my Chinese friends - it really makes the skin crispier after it's cooked.


1 tbls canola oil

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1/3 cup ketchup

1/3 cup korean rice syrup or corn syrup 

1/4 cup gochujang

1 tbls cider vinegar

*garnish with toasted sesame seeds and sliced green onions

Make the sauce:Heat a frying pan over med heat and saute the garlic in the oil for a minute to soften it up before adding the rest of the ingredients. Cook, stirring pretty frequently so it doesn't burn, for about 3 minutes and then take the pan off the heat and set aside until the chicken is done. You can also do this while the chicken is cooking if you are organized and have everything all measured out of course.
So, when it's time to cook, pre-heat the oven to 475FI am using my drumstick stand but if you don't have one, bake them on a rack set over a baking tray. Make sure you oil the rack so the skin doesn't stick to it and line the baking tray with some foil to catch the fat drippings and make for an easier clean up.Roast the drumsticks for about 30 minutes (if your drumsticks are huge, cook them for a bit longer). If you are using a rack set over a baking tray, turn the drumsticks halfway through to make sure they are cooked evenly. Since I am using the handy, dandy drumstick stand I just walked away for half an hour.When they are done, Toss them in the Sauce and sprinkle them with toasted sesame seeds and chopped green onion.

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