These Thai-inspired maple balsamic marinated chicken drumsticks are perfect for a family dinner or backyard barbeque. This marinade recipe can just as easily be used for chicken wings or even breasts, as it is for the chicken drumsticks I used. Maple balsamic marinated wings make a great finger food or appetizer at parties!
Keep in mind, the larger the cut of meat the longer it will need to marinate to absorb all of the delicious flavors. If you’re into heat, you can also kick up the spice factor by adding your favourite chilli or hot sauce to the marinade mix. In this recipe, I roasted the chicken drumsticks in the oven at 375F, but once it warms up outside you can easily cook these on the BBQ. Just take care not to slather the glaze on too thickly otherwise, it will drip onto the flames and cause the BBQ to flare up. This creates a lot of smoke and soot, ruining the taste of the glaze on the chicken, and nobody likes that.
Marinating Chicken 101
So let’s dig in! First, you’ll want to start by getting all your ingredients together, and mixing them together in a large bowl. Make sure that the bowl is large enough to accommodate whichever meat you have chosen to marinate. When marinating meats (chicken especially), it is best to marinate the meat in the fridge, this reduces the amount of time spent at room temperature and in the “Danger Zone“(the temperature range where bacteria multiplies the quickest).
According to Health Canada, food items are not supposed to spend more than 4 hours in the danger zone, to reduce the risk of food-borne illness. This might sound like a lot of time for something to be sitting out at room temperature, but keep in mind, this includes the time the product has sat out in the store while it was being packaged, the drive home from the store, prep time at home, cooking times, and then the cooling of the food as well if that applies.
Maple Balsamic Marinated Drumsticks
Once you have the marinade mixed together, ladle out half of it into a small pot or pan to heat on the stove. This will be your “sauce” if you want a little more after the chicken is done marinating and cooking. Add your chicken to the rest of the marinade, and toss it really well! Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty and really mix the marinade through. You want to make sure that every little part gets covered with the marinade. Cover the bowl and place it in the refrigerator for half an hour. The balsamic vinegar in this marinade helps tenderize the chicken while at the same time adding that punch of flavour that balsamic gives to food. The older (aged) the balsamic vinegar is that you choose to use, the deeper and sweeter the flavour will be in the end product. If you are just using a cheaper product though you can always add a splash or two more to suit your taste.
Make sure to taste test the marinade BEFORE adding the raw chicken! – Chef Markus
Once the chicken has finished marinating, place the raw balsamic marinated chicken drumsticks on a sheet pan. You have two options here; you can place the chicken on a roasting grill, (like I have), or place them directly on a greased sheet pan or one lined with some parchment paper. If you use the roasting grill, the chicken will take on more of a roasted and glazed look and will cook more evenly all the way around.
You will need to regularly baste the chicken with the marinade mix (the portion you used to marinate the chicken in), to ensure the meat stays tender and evenly glazed. If you place the drumsticks directly on the sheet pan, the juices and marinade, that drip off the chicken will collect in the pan and prevent the bottom half of the chicken from glazing over properly. If this is the route you chose, you can use the portion of the marinade you set aside earlier and toss the drumsticks in that once fully cooked.
Roast the marinated chicken in a pre-heated oven at 375F for about 1 hour. Make sure that you baste the chicken often, the sugar will caramelise as it cooks, and create a delicious tacky glaze. The drumsticks should be done after an hour, but you will also see the meat start to pull away from the knuckle portion of the drumstick when fully cooked. You can either serve them right away with the extra thickened sauce, or cool them down and save for another meal. Obviously they taste best fresh from the oven!
- Marinade & Glaze:
- 3 cloves Garlic - minced
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup oyster sauce
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp oil
- 1/4 tsp crushed red chilies
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 lemon zested and juiced
- 1/4 bunch chives finely chopped
- 3 lb chicken drumsticks or wings
- Mix together all the ingredients for the marinade and set aside half of the mix.
- Marinate the chicken drumsticks in half of marinade mix for about 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
- Roast the chicken in the oven at 375F for about 1 hour, making sure to baste the chicken often with the raw marinade mixture. If cooking on a barbecue, grill chicken 3/4 done before starting to glaze the meat with a brush. keep brushing the glaze onto the chicken until desired deliciousness is achieved.
- While the chicken is roasting in the oven, heat the saved marinade mix and simmer. Thicken with either cornstarch or roux until the sauce coats a spoon. Keep hot and use as extra dipping sauce or pour over the meat right before serving for extra sticky juiciness.
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