Have you tasted dark meat chicken lately? I’m ashamed to confess I’m one of those people who usually avoids dark meat because it’s higher in saturated fat than white. But after last night’s dinner I realize just how much I’ve been cheating my taste buds. Not only that, but dark meat contains a handful of nutrients in much larger quantities than are found in the breast including several B vitamins, zinc, and heart-healthy taurine. (I learned this recently for a magazine story I’m writing, which inspired me to pick up drumsticks at Whole Foods in the first place.) What this means: Just like everything else you put on your plate, variety and moderation are key when it comes to the poultry you choose. Good thing because tossing some drumsticks, thighs, and wings into the mix can really break up chicken-breast monotony and, let’s face it, taste so much better, too. They actually taste like chicken!
In general, I’m not a fan of store-bought marinades. If you look at the ingredient label they often contain things you don’t need such as artificial coloring, MSG, heaps of sugar and salt, and odd ingredients like xanthan gum (I still have no idea what that is). Of course when you make your own, which only takes a few minutes, you know exactly what goes in there and thus what you’re putting into your body. (Clearly I’m on my nutritional soapbox today. We’ll just go with it for now, okay? I’ll make some homemade ice cream or butterscotch brownies after yoga later and gracefully step back down. It’s all about balance, right?) Anyhoo, I like to experiment with different homemade marinades and what I’ve found is that it’s pretty difficult to mess them up (even for me). If you combine flavors you know you enjoy there’s a very good chance you’ll be happy with the result.
This marinade is no exception. Originally, I planned to follow a recipe for one from Cooking Light, but I soon found myself adjusting quantities, skipping certain ingredients (basil oil…wtf?) and adding others (Sriracha!) The result was a citrus-y, soy, and ever-so-slightly spicy flavor that had me tearing through the skin cavewoman-style. Served alongside grilled asparagus and corn on the cob it was pretty much my idea of summer on a plate.
Grilled Citrus-Soy Chicken Drumsticks
8 oz 100% orange juice
Juice of 1 lemon (about 2 Tbsp)
1 1/2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp bottled chopped garlic
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1/4 tsp hot chili oil
2 Tbsp Sriracha (add more for additional heat)
Salt & pepper
8 chicken drumsticks
Add marinade ingredients (orange juice through salt & pepper) in a large bowl. Whisk to combine. Pour into zip-top bag. Add drumsticks. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or up to 12. Turn bag occasionally to coat chicken evenly.
Heat a grill to medium and lightly coat grates with cooking spray. Grill chicken for 30 minutes or until done, turning about every five minutes to prevent burning. Remove from heat and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes before serving.