Apparently once a year I get a wild hair to cater a wedding. Last year was for some friends of mine, where guests ate awesome Mediterranean Meatballs, Shrimp Scampi, Primavera Quinoa Salad, and fruit kabobs (you can get those recipes on this post). This time around the guest list doubled and the location got more interesting… it was small town Montana or bust for this girl! Yep, I had the privilege of feeding about 175 people at a rural county fairground pavilion. And by fairground I mean about a city block’s worth of dirt and gravel with a few shabby metal structures to shelter the areas where animals get to show their stuff after receiving a surprising amount of primping–not a ferris wheel in sight.
And I loved it.
I’ll write about the experience later, but for now I want to share with you one of the recipes served: Lime Chimichurri Grilled Drumsticks. These were perfect alongside pulled pork sandwiches, baked beans, broccoli salad, macaroni salad and fresh fruit. Note that this was not a Paleo wedding… I’ll cook for anyone 😉 The groom is a firefighter for the town, so hearty pulled pork sandwiches was a natural choice for the main protein. To partner with it, I wanted a bright and tangy protein to highlight the savory pork and these drumsticks did not disappoint!
Traditional chimichurri uses red wine or even white wine vinegar as the acid, but I thought limes would be a fun play on the sauce. I thought it tasted pretty good when I did my test batch at home, so why not put it in front of a million strangers and see if they agree? Thankfully, they did.
2 pounds drumsticks
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
1 tsp lime zest (from one lime)
pinch of red chili flakes
1 large clove of garlic, well minced
1/2 tsp kosher salt
about 5 grinds of fresh black pepper
1/4 cup lime juice (from about 3 limes)
1/4 cup olive or avocado oil
Optional: extra chopped cilantro and fresh limes to garnish
Prepare the marinade by combining the parsley, cilantro, lime zest and juice, red chili flakes, garlic, salt, and chosen oil in a food processor.
Add the marinade and drumsticks to a large, sealable plastic bag or a dish with a secure lid. Marinade overnight.
When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C).
Transfer the drumsticks to an oven-proof baking dish without any of the excess marinade. So just lift it out and allow the marinade to drip away a bit before putting the chicken in the baking dish. Discard the marinade.
Cover with foil or a secure glass lid and bake at 350°F for about 35 to 40 minutes. This should par cook the chicken.
If you were meal prepping for the week and didn’t want to fully cook this recipe, you could refrigerate the chicken again at this point, then pick it back up another day and finish on the grill.
To finish the dish, grill the chicken at a medium-low heat (between 250°F to 300°F is about right) to allow the skin to crisp. It’s usually about 5 to 7 minutes per side at that temperature. Grilling to hot and fast will likely set your chicken on fire as that fat renders out from the skin, so try to avoid rushing it.
Finish with a squeeze of fresh lime and a sprinkle of chopped cilantro, if desired.
If you’d prefer to just grill the marinaded chicken, which is totally fine, it will take about 30 minutes total. Get the grill up to about 400°F so the grill is preheated. Then place the chicken down, close the lid and reduce the temperature to low, around 250°F to 300°F. (Again, keeping that temp to high will ignite the fat.) Turn the chicken about 5 to 7 minutes in, once the chicken can be lifted without any skin sticking to the grates. Meat will naturally release from the grill when it is ready to be turned, which gives you a nice safety net if grilling is a newer thing for you. Finish with fresh lime and cilantro before digging in!