Drumming Up Ideas

Chicken is the big sale item this week at Hannaford.

Usually we eat boneless chicken breast, and that is mainly in 10 lb pre-frozen bags purchased at BJ’s. It’s more than the good sale prices of $1.99 and below, like this week’s $1.77, but it’s well below the customary full price, and it’s less work than boneless breasts bought fresh at the supermarket. Those require more trimming. Nonetheless, I regularly buy some when it’s on sale, using it fresh and then freezing the rest.

I happen to like dark meat. For me it’s always been a huge treat to get a turkey or chicken drumstick especially. I also don’t generally mind eating it right off the bone, or being made more rather than less aware of the meat’s living animal origins. Boneless is handy, but not my strong preference. It’s insanely cheap to buy and roast a whole chicken or turkey when on sale (or even not so on sale), so I’m the one who handles that as I am not generally bothered by it (besides having an until recently unknown natural talent for it).

Last week, dinner at my grandmother’s house was drumsticks baked falling-off-the-bone done, as it should be, in approximate no peek chicken style. No peek chicken involves water, onion soup mix, dry rice, other details I am probably forgetting, and chicken baked in a pan, covered with foil most of the time, resulting in strongly flavored rice and chicken that didn’t require a lot of effort or attention. I should re-obtain the original recipe sometime.

It turns out that Valerie loves dark meat. The worse/greasier, the better. It probably didn’t hurt that the chicken was very flavorful throughout, but our little vegetarian rabbit girl singlehandedly ate most of a drumstick.

I recently had a conversation with someone who, to cut back on grocery spending, recently started buying mainly bone-in chicken and boning it, or cutting as much as possible off the bones as the case may be, herself. That made me wonder if perhaps I should do that. But then, it depends on the cost to effort ratio. Is it really worth buying split chicken breast for $1.49 on sale and boning it when boneless is $1.77? How about when boneless is $2.20? How about when the gulf between $2.20 in $22 increments and $1.49 in $5 increments is almost insurmountable, you’re so broke? Guess it always depends.

So when I was buying milk and bread the other day, I picked up a pack of the $1.77 boneless breasts, which will probably get used, with the rest freezer fodder. I noticed drumsticks, nice looking ones, on sale for 59¢ a pound, which either I had missed or was absent from the flier. Or circular. That’s a regionalism, no?

I bought a big pack of drumsticks, costing next to nothing, figuring at least feeding me and the kids something different. Which is the real point of this post; soliciting ideas for their preparation. I’d been musing about the possibility of tossing them in the crockpot, just to sort of cook them with barbecue sauce or whatever without using the oven, or maybe to cook them off the bone and make shredded chicken stuff. Which I’d wondered about doing with other bone-in chicken, like the breasts. It’d feel like boneless breasts would be “too good” for that sort of treatment.

Alternatively, I’d probably cook them in a frying pan, be it in “fried chicken” form or not. Which made me think of a rub, shades of the way I have lately been doing steak destined for burritos. Which made me think of the “bring your own meat” poolside cookout we’ll be attending on the 4th, to which we’d planned to bring mainly hot dogs, perhaps a couple frozen burger patties.

So here I am soliciting ideas, while leaning toward possibly concocting a rub or a sauce or a marinade and bringing the drumsticks to the cookout for proper grilling and sharing with the other people who’ll be there.

Thoughts? On drumsticks specifically or chicken generally? Lacking a grill and it being summer, we’d normally lean crockpot or stovetop methods, which is why the exception of using someone else’s grill is tempting.


  1. triticale

    You need to figure both labor cost and bone weight. Boneless chicken, especially on special, has come down in relative price in the time I’ve been buying it. Time was I could cut up a whole fryer, set the boneless breasts aside, look at them at regular price and figure the rest was free. especially with my time being worth more, it no longer pays off like that.

  2. Pingback: The Married Guy Cook » Blog Archive » Drumstick Rub and Grill Experiment

  3. PJ

    I think this is changing, now (a year later), given the way prices are going. In my walmart in Oklahoma, chicken breasts are $3/lb and that’s only if you buy the largest possible package.


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