Grilled Chicken and Pinot Gris

Transform your Sundays with Spicy Chicken and Pinot Gris


It’s official. Summer is over and Football is here. As summer’s warmth gently fades away it’s replaced each Sunday with the collective glow from millions of tailgate and backyard grills. While once the exclusive domaine of burgers and Brats, and there is nothing wrong with a well-cooked burger or Brat might I add, today’s tailgaters are more adventuresome than ever.

It’s not uncommon to find an amazing array of food at many football games today: Jambalaya, Chili, Quesadillas and even deep fried Turkeys have made more than their share of appearances. I prefer to keep thing, well a bit handier. Working off the backyard grill cuts down my clean up duties as does making sure most of the snacks are finger foods.

Weaving all these elements together and trying to retain some credibility at a tailgate can be a challenge, but not when you’re making spicy grilled chicken drumsticks. I wouldn’t dare call these Buffalo style but they are a meaty take on those spicy standbys.

What to expect:

Pinot Grigio is one of the world's most popular wines. Also known under the French moniker Pinot Gris, and even the German Ruländer among others, it's a chameleon of a grape producing a range of styles, from the light fruity Italian style that has gained popularity to a more mineral, flinty and rich wine favored by the French, particularly in Alsace, and emulated by many in the new world.
2007 Paul Blanck Pinot Gris
While I might be tempted to reach for a Grand Cru Pinot Gris, this version is lighter, yet has a rich mouthfeel and lovely subtle spice tones that can handle the heat and spice of the chicken dish. And it will still pair well with that Bratwurst!

Spicy Grilled Chicken Drumsticks
Spicy and well seasoned, these Chicken Drumsticks are perfect for your next tailgate or any time you want an easy, flavorful grilled chicken dish. This marinade works equally well with chicken thighs, wings, and even whole chickens. To see the recipe click here.

This recipe requires some forethought. Marinating the chicken overnight is essential.

 For the marinade:

 In a large bowl combine

  •  1/3 cup Mayonnaise
  • 1 medium onion, finely minced or pureed in a food processor
  • 1/2 cup Hot Sauce, I prefer Crystal brand but your favorite will work
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsps crushed Chipotle peppers
  •  (If you don’t want to make the drums too hot add 1tbsp Smoked Paprika instead)
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  •  Blend all the ingredients thoroughly and put in a large food storage bag.This marinade can be made a day or two ahead.

    The night before you plan to serve the chicken, add it to the marinade bag and toss to coat the chicken thoroughly. It’s always a good idea to flip the bag once or twice over the course of marinating to keep each piece in contact with the marinade.

    This marinade recipe works well for 2 to 2½ lbs of chicken drumsticks

    When the Chicken is marinated, ideally for at least 8 and up to 12 hous, it’s time to prepare the grill.

    You’ll want to use some indirect heat to get theses drumsticks cooked and then finish them directly over the coals to finish them and get them crisped.

    Prepare your coals in half of your grill, and let them ash over, they should be nice and hot, 450F if you have a thermometer than can measure your grill temperature.

    Remove the drumsticks from the marinade and place them close enough to the coals so that they will cook but not directly over the coals to avoid flare-ups.

    Turn the drumsticks every 5-7 minutes to allow them to cook through evenly. The drumsticks should be cooked through in about 25-30 minutes at which time you can move them to directly over the coals for a minute or so on each side to get them golden brown. Chicken is done when its internal temperature is 165F.

    Allow chicken to cool a bit so that it retains its juices and enjoy!

    You can use this marinade fro thighs, wings, or even whole chickens if you prefer.

    For spicy food it’s generally recommended that one stick with wines that are light in tannins and lower in alcohol.  One might turn to a white wine for a recipe like this though finding one with enough flavor to strand up to this might be a challenge. An Alsatian Pinot Gris would be up for the task

    Mentioned in this article


    • Snooth User: Sung
      Founding Member Hand of Snooth
      5 3

      I noticed the Spicy Grilled Chicken Drumstick recipe doesn't have any salt as an ingredient. Do the drum sticks need to be seasoned with salt and pepper prior to sitting in the marinade?

      Sep 18, 2009 at 11:27 AM

    • Snooth User: Tamar1973
      94767 77

      The bottled hot sauce probably already has salt in it.

      I have a Korean chicken wing recipe that would go well with this, too.

      Sep 18, 2009 at 12:18 PM

    • Snooth User: John Andrews
      Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
      36106 3,448

      It might be the wrong to say here ... but I can't do wine at a tailgate. To me that is just wrong. The wings though, they are all good at tailgate.

      Sep 18, 2009 at 1:16 PM

    • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
      Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
      89065 238,748

      Tamar got it. The hot sauce contributes a fair amount of salt to this recipe and the extended marinade period allow the meat to soak up quite a bit. You can always add some salt to taste once they are done but I have yet to have to.

      Hey John, It's a twist off. Just make believe it's a big beer bottle!

      Sep 18, 2009 at 1:34 PM

    • Snooth User: Philip James
      Founding Member Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
      1 12,575

      John - for those of us NYC'ers that dont own a car, I can happily drink wine with wings at home at least

      Sep 18, 2009 at 2:13 PM

    • There is no better wine to tailgate with than Wild Pelican. It comes in a Red Bull like can and taste very nice. It is a great wine for the great outdoors or asphalt parking lots. :)
      Cans don't break, portion control is important before a game and the graphics are really upscale.

      Sep 18, 2009 at 2:46 PM

    • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
      Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
      89065 238,748

      You know what? A can of Tempranillo would probably be a great match for these drumsticks! I have never heard of Wild Pelican but I'm gonna keep an open mind about them and see if I can't scare up a few.

      Thanks for the unusual suggestion!

      Sep 18, 2009 at 3:30 PM

    • Snooth User: Philip James
      Founding Member Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
      1 12,575

      OK, the girlfriend and I actually made this over the weekend, although we substituted Tabasco instead of the recommended Spice. The marinade was insanely spicy as a result, so we tempered it with some Worcestershire sauce. Worked very well on the chicken - although maybe a touch more salt.

      We paired it with a Grenache Blanc / Viognier blend (no PG in the house):

      Sep 21, 2009 at 7:44 PM

    • I think this recipe has some great potential. However, you should probably sear the meat first . . . It's easy, just situate the hot coals on one side of the grill, put the chicken over the grills just enough to get a good sear on them. Then, once this is accomplished move the chicken to the opposite side of the grates (not over the coals) and close the lid to create a convection. It will take a good 30-60 minutes . . . but that's why you brought the wine! Because of the fat content in the skin, this method will naturally make the drumsticks crunchy and the interior will still be succulent. I'm looking forward to trying the recipe and to the gentleman above . . . . YES, I will definately add salt before grilling.

      Sep 21, 2009 at 10:51 PM

    • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
      Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
      89065 238,748

      i heart wine, you are more patient than I!

      Tabasco is much hotter than Crystal or Franks. Each sauce will create a unique and distinctive marinade so this really becomes a set of recipes!

      Sep 22, 2009 at 9:11 AM

    • wonderful

      Sep 24, 2013 at 9:20 AM

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