Grilled Ginger-Glazed Turkey Drumsticks

Grilled Ginger-Glazed Turkey Drumsticks

By Our Chef, Phillip Schaaf

You’re going to love how easy this recipe is. It’s great for either a semi-fast weeknight or a feast for two-to-four people. It can also easily be scaled up for a weekend cookout with lots of friends.

The Technique

The first step is to season the drumsticks—just a liberal sprinkle of salt and pepper will work fine. Place the seasoned drumsticks in a baking dish or a bowl and refrigerate for about 6 hours or overnight. The glaze—similar to a Chinese five spice but using ginger ale reduced to a syrupy consistency with fragrant whole spices to add depth—can be made at this time, too.

What You'll Need

Turkey or chicken drumsticks

2 Cups ginger ale

2 Tbsp dark brown sugar

4 green cardamom pods

1/2 cinnamon stick

2 star anise pods

pinch of kosher salt

The Recipe

  1. Combine all ingredients in a sauce pot and bring to a boil.

  2. Continue cooking until the liquid has reduced to about 1/4 cup and is visibly thick.

  3. Once the glaze has reached the proper consistency, remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. The glaze can be held under refrigeration for at least a week.

The Shortcut

Throw some aromatics—onion, bay leaves, jalapeños, or garlic ,whatever your taste—into a pot of cold water, along with the drumsticks and bring to a simmering boil. Gently boil the drumsticks until they reach 160 degrees internally. This will take about thirty minutes. This shortcut will be helpful if you are preparing several drumsticks for a party, or if you’re wanting to serve this dish on a weeknight and want to break up the prep work a bit. Precooking the turkey legs will also assure doneness without over grilling and getting too much char. Once the legs are done, remove them from the pot and let them air dry on a roasting rack. Once they have cooled a bit, they can go straight to the grill or they can hold in refrigeration for a couple of days until you are ready to finish them off.

The Grill

  1. Prepare your grill to cook at medium high heat, either charcoal or gas. If you’ve chosen the shortcut, grilling will only take about 15 minutes. If you are grilling raw drumsticks, it will take up to an hour to reach the desired temperature.

  2. Once the grill is ready, oil the slats a bit to discourage sticking. Add the drumsticks to the grill and let them cook for a couple of minutes before applying the first round of glaze.

  3. Use a silicon brush to glaze the legs. Keep turning and glazing every couple of minutes until the legs take on a deep amber color and nice char to the outside. Once the temperature reaches 165 internally, they are ready to pull from the grill.

The end result no matter which path you take to get there will be a smoky and sweet, rich and flavorful grilled turkey drumstick that can be eaten off the bone like a savage or pulled from the bone and served over a dish of your favorite noodles or rice, or as an bold and flavorful turkey sandwich.