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This recipe is for the “drumstick-only” personality types who will not hesitate to fish out the last lower leg joints from a bucket of fried chicken. Like many fried chicken recipes, ours relies on buttermilk for tenderizing the chicken, plus pickle brine for seasoning the bird from the inside out.

Photo: Lauren V. Allen

Recipe: Fried Chicken Drumsticks

Yield: 4 servings



Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper and place inside a large, resealable plastic bag. Add the buttermilk and pickle brine (if using), seal, and refrigerate for at least 4 and up to 12 hours.


In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and cayenne (feel free to add more spices or adjust the seasoned flour to your liking). Working with 1 drumstick at a time, remove the chicken from the marinade (no need to let the excess liquid drip off) and dredge in the flour, making sure to coat the entire drumstick. Transfer to a plate and let sit at room temperature for 10 to 30 minutes.


Place a wire rack inside a rimmed baking sheet and preheat the oven to 200°F. In a No.10 Dutch Oven, heat the oil to 350°F. Add half of the chicken and fry, turning the drumsticks over every few minutes and adjusting the heat as needed to keep the oil temperature around 325°F. Continue frying the chicken until golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers 165°F, 10 to 15 minutes total. Transfer the chicken to the wire rack and keep warm in the oven while you fry the second batch. If not serving right away, refrigerate the fried chicken and reheat in a 400°F oven until crispy, 10 to 15 minutes.

Seasoning Rating: Best

Frying is just about the best way to build seasoning in a cast iron Dutch oven.

Seasoning Ratings:

Best—These dishes are the best options for building resilient seasoning, and surefire choices for getting tricky pans back on track.

Better—The best way to keep your skillet in great shape is to cook frequently, and cast iron-friendly dishes like these are your bread and butter.

Safe—These recipes won't strip seasoning away from your pan, but won't really add any, either.

OK—Be sure to clean up promptly. Recipes with this rating might feature acidic ingredients which can affect seasoning if not washed soon after cooking.