Crispy Lemon Pepper Beer-Brined Drumsticks

I’m going to give you the secret to the most insanely juicy chicken you’ve ever made. Even on a grill, or in a high heat deep fryer, or a hot oven, it keeps its finger-lickin’ juiciness in a way that will baffle and amaze your guests. You don’t even have to share your secret –maybe you’re just that good. Maybe you make the best chicken ever and it’s just your pure awesomeness that gives it the perfect balance of crunch and juicy meat.

Or maybe it’s the beer.

Giving chicken a long soak in a beer brine is the secret to the world’s most flavorful chicken. Beer is a natural meat tenderizer, letting that chicken cook a bit longer without drying it out. Sure, it takes a few extra hours and you have to plan ahead, but it’s well worth it to be known for making the best chicken ever. You don’t even have to tell anyone how easy it is.

Crispy Lemon-Pepper Beer Brined Drumsticks

Yield: 4 servings

  • 1 ½ cups buttermilk
  • 12 ounces pale ale
  • 1.5 lbs chicken drumsticks
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


  1. In a large bowl or baking dish, stir together the buttermilk and beer. Sprinkle the chicken on all sides with salt. Add to the marinade.
  2. Cover the chicken and chill for 8 to 24 hours.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. In a shallow bowl, stir together both kinds of breadcrumbs, basil, oregano, zest and flour.
  5. One at a time remove the chicken pieces from the marinade and roll in the flour mixture until well coated, pressing the mixture into the chicken.
  6. Place on a baking sheet; repeat for the remaining chicken.
  7. Drizzle with olive oil.
  8. Bake at 400 F for 20 to 22 minutes or until the chicken is golden brown and the internal temperature reaches 165 F.

Photo credit: Jackie Dodd