Crispy Chili Chicken "Drummies"

Menu Part: 
Cuisine Type: 
Eight student servings

“What makes this dish unique is that we bake the chicken instead of frying it in oil,” explains Eli Huff, owner and executive chef at Salt Food Group, the company developing menus for Union Public Schools. A take on traditional restaurant-style chicken wings, these drummies are served within the sports-themed concept at the Collegiate Academy high school as part of a reimbursable meal, as well as à la carte. “It has been very popular in all of the schools we work with,” Huff says. “We put this item on both regular lunch menus we design and à la carte menus for a quick grab-and-go snack served with fries.”


2 cups buttermilk
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp. hot sauce
1/2 yellow onion, sliced
5 sprigs fresh thyme (or dried)
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 tbsp. kosher salt
1 tbsp. black pepper

Chicken Flour Mix
3 pounds chicken drummies, rinsed, patted dry
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. kosher salt
2 tbsp. white pepper
2 tbsp. paprika
2 tbsp. granulated garlic
2 tbsp. chili powder
2 tbsp. dried thyme


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Fit sheet tray with wire rack and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In large bowl, mix together buttermilk, lemon juice, hot sauce, onion, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper. Add chicken and coat with buttermilk mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3 to 12 hours. (Note: Marinating chicken in buttermilk makes it incredibly moist with delicious flavor. Substitute 3 pounds of any cut of chicken for drummies.)
  3. Mix flour and seasonings together. (Note: Hold any excess seasoning to sprinkle over chicken when it finishes cooking.)
  4. Remove chicken from marinade, letting excess drip off. Dredge through seasoned flour mixture, pressing to help it adhere.
  5. Place chicken on wire rack-fitted sheet tray. Bake 40 to 45 minutes, until golden and crisp. Serve with your favorite sides. (Note: When served with whole-grain biscuit, fresh fruit and milk, three to four drummies can count as reimbursable meal.)
Source: Union Public Schools, Salt Food Group Consulting LLC (Tulsa, Okla.)

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