Brined Chicken

Brined Roast Chicken Drumsticks

What’s the best way to cook chicken drumsticks? Well, if your definition of “best” is, juicy, flavorful, and crispy, then you’re reading the right recipe! And the answer lies with brining them first.

Brining chicken in a slightly salty, slightly sweet, solution of water with spices and herbs, makes your chicken salty, sweet, and incredibly flavorful. It also tenderizes the meat, and conditions the skin for perfect crisping. How you cook it from there is up to you. But, brining the chicken over night is the important part.  For this recipe, the chicken is roasted in the oven, inside a cast iron skillet. But you can easily roast it in a roasting pan or baking sheet if you don’t have a skillet.

A very basic brine would consist of water, salt and sugar. But you can add more flavors to your brine with different herbs, vegetables, liquids and spices. So, experiment!

It is ideal to use a food-grade plastic food container for brining. These can be purchased at your local restaurant supply store, or possibly places like, Wal-Mart or Target. For this recipe, a 2-gallon food container was used to brine a whole chicken (not pictured in this recipe), and 8 chicken drumsticks.

Yields: 6-8 Chicken drumsticks


  • 8 chicken drumsticks (skin-on)
  • 1 gallon of spring water or filtered water
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1/3 cup of salt
  • 3 tbsp of Pickling spice mixture
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • Fresh sprigs of oregano
  • 10 garlic cloves, minced


  1. Fill a food container with 1 gallon (4 Liters) of water. Take 2 cups of water out of that and put it in a small pot on the stove and bring it to a simmer.
  2. Add the sugar to the small pot of simmering water to dissolve. Then add the pickling spice and garlic, and steep in the simmering water for 1 minute. Add this hot water back into the gallon of cold water.
  3. Add the salt to the cold water and stir to dissolve.
  4. Add the peeled and quartered onion to the cold water.
  5. Add the chicken drumsticks to the cold water, place 5 sprigs of oregano in the water, put a lid on the container and refrigerate over night.
  6. When ready to use. Drain the chicken, and discard the brine. Use the next day. Letting the chicken sit in the brine longer than a day may cause the chicken to be overly salty.


For this recipe, the chicken drumsticks were put into a slightly oiled cast iron skillet with some sprigs of oregano and a head of garlic with the top cut off. They were roasted in a convection oven at 375 for 45 minutes, and then the chicken skin was crisped by turning the oven up to 400 for the last 20 minutes of cooking. Cooking times may vary by oven.