Oriental Chicken Drumsticks – Tidy Tastes for Hot Weather Dining.

Ireland is experiencing a period of glorious hot, sunny weather. It’s currently the warmest spell since 1977. In Ireland, when the warm weather hits, we strip off, rush out and burn our pasty skin to a nice lobster red. Families and gangs of what are euphemistically described as ‘youth’ descend on our beaches. Following long periods in the sun, blistering themselves and spreading a desecration of used nappies (families) cans (youth) and litter (everybody, it seems), they return to their homes for an evening family barbecue. Most satisfy themselves with spurious meats in radioactive looking sauce from the supermarket. Life can be better than this. Let me show you how.

If you have been out with your family/mates throwing soiled nappies, beer cans and crisp packets around your local beauty spots, you might like to try my Oriental Chicken Drumsticks. I guarantee you they are a delight. They will improve your manners and may even cause you to think a bit about the environment in which we live.

Oriental chicken drumsticks

Simple ingredients for beautiful food.


  • 12 free range chicken drumsticks
  • 4 or 5 stalks of lemongrass
  • 3 or 4 chillis
  • 5cm (2″) piece of ginger
  • 6 cloves (or two single bulb) of garlic
  • 2 teaspoons of ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of mirin
  • 2 or 3 spring onions
  • 3 or 4 shallots
  • 1 lime

As you can see from the list above, the marinade is not prescriptive. You could also swap out the mirin for fish sauce but use less if you don’t want a salt overload. You could also throw in a handful of coriander if you like.

Take everything bar the chicken and lime and roughly chop and peel as appropriate. Add it all to a blender.

Oriental chicken drumsticks

This is a flavour packed marinade worthy of any barbecue.

Get a sharp knife and cut deep slashes in the chicken meat. This does two things. It allows the marinade penetrate the meat and also makes for more even cooking.

Oriental chicken drumsticks

Don’t be afraid of the deep cuts.

Place the chicken in a bowl and pour over the marinade. Rub it into the chicken just like you might rub Factor 50 onto a toddler at the beach. Cover and place it in the fridge for a few hours (the chicken, not the toddler).

Oriental chicken drumsticks (4 of 7)

This looks very gloopy. That’s how you want it.

Heat the barbecue to hot, then turn it down to medium-low. We want to cook the chicken through, not burn the outside and sicken the diners.

Oriental chicken drumsticks

This sticky marinade will make a mess of the barbecue. Unlike the beach, you can clean it up later.

Just before taking them off the grill, squeeze the juice of the lime over them. Serve these as a tasty starter or with a big salad if there are only a couple of you dining. You will not be disappointed. When you are finished, go and clean up the beach.

Oriental chicken drumsticks

Perfect hot weather food. Enjoy it.

Footnote on cooking chicken in hot weather: When you are preparing chicken in warm conditions, be sure to wash everything (including yourself) frequently and thoroughly. Wipe down surfaces with soap or disinfectant. You do not want to get poisoned by your culinary ineptitude. 

When cooking it, do it low and slow as I suggest. Same reason as above, except you might poison the family too. 

With that said, enjoy the barbecue and the lovely summer weather. 

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Latest comments
  • Beautiful, Conor. This will be my lunch tomorrow! Thank you – but no B-B-Q, just frying pan. Enjoy your Sunshine 🙂

  • They look so delicious 🙂

  • From the land of barbecue, I thoroughly endorse your safety and cooking notes. And ideally, don’t handle the meat with bare hands, it’s why God invented tongs. It makes me want to scream when I see people transfer the meat from dish to grille bare handed, wipe their hands on their apron and go on to touch everything else.

    • Or use those same tongs for the uncooked and cooked chicken… Although I suppose the chillies may help some in warding off bacteria (which is why they are used so much in hotter climes).

      • Exactly! Keep a big jug of hot soapy water beside the barbecue, and leave the tongs in it till required.

      • Maybe incivility is the wrong word; certainly ignorance… There’s another factor, which is that barbies are a male province and there’s a certain perception that worrying about germs is fundamentally unblokelike, and by extension, unAustralian! 😉

  • Oh Conor: This is not just delightful dinner, but breakfast, chewing alongside my big mug of coffee, lunch and evening TV snack 🙂 ! Have to try your spicing a soon as have time to defrost my usual huge pile of drumsticks from the freezer . . . ‘Oriental’ indeed: beginning up in Japan and travelling thru’ China right to Thailand without an airline ticket ! Love Carina as ‘Bangalore Girl’ also but will ‘irritate’ Kate by admitting my hands usually are fully in use when handling the legs . . . but they do get washed ! Oh: oven for me . . . . And, off topic – how did the Tour arrive so soon and suddenly . . . I am definitely not ready this year but shall be ‘there’ of course . . .

  • Hi Conor, this is a great inter-Asian curry paste and I’m sure those drum sticks were delicious. The weather here has been amazing, too, and I wonder whether we should have taken the opportunity to visit the Ireland and Britain in such favorable conditions (as I’m pretty sure I would normally enjoy everything but the weather and perhaps the food in some places).
    The drum sticks seem to look small in the ingredient shot? Your suggestion to rub (apparently random) toddlers on the beach may raise some eyebrows 🙂

  • PS to avoid any issues with undercooked or overcooked chicken, I would cook these sous vide first and then finish them on the BBQ. The nice thing about that approach is that they are done when they look done on the outside.

  • Conor, surely you can’t tell irish people to cook chicken on a bbq without cremating it in an oven first? We’re too stupid about both hot weather and chicken to take good advice. I like that you have faith in us, but – really?!

  • Funny you should mention the weather. My sister and brother-in-law were just in Ireland and encountered absolutely gorgeous weather. Everyone they met commented on how unusual it was. Of course, they weren’t complaining. They had a ball. (By contrast, when I was there years ago, I had to wear a sweater—in mid-August!)

    The chicken looks lovely. That paste has all the Asian flavors I love. Will give it a go this weekend.

  • We can relate to much of what you said, & especially for me personally the sunburns! It’s hot here, too, and the closest I get to tanning is when all my freckles run together!! Those drumsticks look good, but that pic of the marinade being poured over – that is pure food porn in my book!!

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