Turkey Drumsticks – Our Christmas Eve Tradition

(Last Updated On: December 30, 2009)


When my wife and I were preparing to celebrate our 1st Christmas together, we were looking for someone special to make for dinner on Christmas Eve. After a trip to the grocery store, I came up with turkey drumsticks. We have been making these drumsticks every Christmas Eve for the last 5 years. As I have become a better cook, the drumsticks have become better too. The process begins with a brine that will keep your drumsticks moist and add additional flavor. We normally buy 3 drumsticks so the recipe is based on that. If your drumsticks are frozen, make sure to defrost them first.

4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 pound of ice

Place a saucepan with the broth along with the peppercorns over medium heat. Add the sugar and salt to the broth and cook until they are dissolved. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the ice, to bring the temperature down (you don’t want to boil the drumsticks!). Place the drumsticks in a gallon size plastic bag and add the liquid. Place the bag in a dish just in case it leaks and place it into the fridge. Allow the brine at least 2-3 hours to work. I would not go more than 6, or you might end up with some salty turkey.

When it is time to cook take your drumsticks out of the bag and pat them dry. You will now need the following items for additional flavor:

canola oil
fresh rosemary, thyme, and sage

Rub each drumstick with canola oil, just enough to make it shiny. Cut up the herbs and rub them all over the drumsticks. The amount of herbs you will need depends on the size of the drumsticks. While you are doing this you can heat your oven to 500 degrees, we are going to start high in order to get some nice coloring on the outside, then we will turn it down to 350 for the rest of the way.

When your drumsticks and oven are both ready, place them on the center rack of your oven and cook them for about 10-15 minutes (this may produce some smoke in your kitchen, especially if you haven’t cleaned your oven this decade; I would recommend cleaning your oven before doing this recipe). After that time is up, turn the oven down to 350 and insert a probe thermometer into the biggest part of the largest drumstick. Be very careful that you don’t hit a bone or your temp reading will be off. Since drumsticks are dark meat you will want to cook them until they reach a temperature of 180 degrees. I would plan on about 1 to 1 1/2 hours for them to be done, but it depends on how big the drumsticks are and your oven. When you take them out let them rest for 5-10 minutes before cutting into them.