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