Cheep Eats

I’m a kid at heart; drumsticks are still my favorite.

No matter where you live or what your food budget, you’ve been affected by the sweeping rise in costs at the grocery stores. In the U.S., the basic increase is at about 10% over the last year — somewhat less for produce and somewhat more for meat. To make it through the check-out line without crying, folks have resorted to all sorts of strategies, many of which include reducing meat purchases much of the time. (I’m a constant store cart snooper and am both amazed and saddened by by what shoppers have resorted to in order to feed their families.) While I’ve got the cash to feed our small family of two plus doggies, I, too, have been forced to cut back or at least look at the best buys to keep us fed. Chicken is always a hugely popular dinner yet the ubiquitous boneless breasts many people (not me) have lived on are now sometimes simply out of sight. I did just hear their prices seem to be beginning to drop; thank goodness. What’s available for a song (Why is a song cheap?), however, are the drumstick portions of chicken legs and how wonderful, how easy, and how delectable they are. Chicken legs are not just for kids any longer!! I’ve got a few ways to show you to cook and serve them, including the simplest way, which is to only brown them stove top and finish them in the oven. Sure there are sauces or rubs and great sides like grilled corn or a filling vegetable salad (see above) and only you know exactly how YOU’d want to eat them.

Oiled, seasoned, browned on top of the stove and finished in the oven.

The first thing about chicken legs (and here we’re talking about thighs and drumsticks together or separated–they are often interchangeable) is this: there’s little that can be done with a whole chicken or chicken breasts that can’t be done with chicken legs. (Ok, there’s Chicken Piccata and so on; I know you’ll need a breast there, but you can also bone it yourself.) That goes for chicken salad, chicken with rice casseroles, chicken sandwiches, chicken tacos, chicken enchiladas, chicken soup, and on and on. Sure you might have to shred/chop a little more than with breasts, but you’ve also just saved…how much? The second thing about chicken legs is dark meat is tastier than white. Always. It has more fat, which makes it moister and easier to cook. Darned hard to overcook dark meat, too. It almost keeps getting better the more you cook it.

There are 30 drumsticks in this package. That would be 32 cents each.

Your savings depend on where you buy your chicken. If you’ve purchased it at the traditional grocery store, you might see a price like the one below ($1.62 per pound marked down) for cage free legs. (Please, whoever runs the universe, let me eat chicken legs from chickens who got to run.) But should you hit COSTCO, you’ll find 99 cents a pound for plain legs (above) and $1.79 for seasoned legs. Think oil, crushed red pepper, and lots of garlic. For 80 cents, I think you can season your own legs. Your own drumsticks, I mean.

Most people acquainted with chicken shopping at COSTCO are aware of the inexpensive already-roasted chickens (speaking of incredible buys), but also of the humongous packages of pre-cooked and chopped chicken breast. Because that’s so popular with the high-protein diet crowd and the thighs go into COSTCO’s taco packages, that leaves Alyce’s much-loved drumsticks. What in the world are you going to find for 99 cents per pound but these gorgeous drumsticks?! Rhubarb is $8 a pound at my grocery store, for God’s sake.

Here are a few ideas for cooking them (see more under TIPS). Keep in mind you can nearly always sub bone-in chicken drumsticks for bone-in chicken thighs or even use a combination. Should you have a recipe for boneless chicken thighs, you probably can use bone-in drumsticks or bone-in thighs as long as you add a little extra cooking time.

STOVE TOP TO OVEN: Stovetop grilled, sauced, and finished in the oven–today’s printed recipe.
STOVE TOP TO OVEN: Browned on top of the stove with onions and finished in the oven with fresh thyme.
OVEN: Oven-roasted legs with sheet pan potatoes, onions, and asparagus served on arugula.
AIR FRYER: Drumsticks drizzled with a little oil, seasoned with s&p, garlic powder, and a pinch each of paprika and cayenne pepper. Air fried at 400 F for 10 minutes, turned, and air fried another 10 minutes or until over 170 F.
STOVE TOP TO OVEN: More Time at the Table One-Pan Bacon Chicken Legs with Cabbage, Potatoes….
STOVE TOP AND OVEN: More Time at the Table Parmesan Chicken Drumsticks with Rosemary White Beans
USES COOKED CHICKEN: More Time at the Table Baby Kale and Chicken Salad (Can use chicken drumsticks instead of thighs here.)
OVEN/SHEET PAN: More Time at the Table BBQ Bacon Chicken Thighs with Cheesy Potatoes and Broccoli… (You can sub drumsticks here.)

If you’re interested in the basic recipe to get you started and I sure as heck hope you are, try this:

Mustard BBQ Chicken Legs

You can use any barbecue sauce you’d like on these CHEEP EATS legs (or none), though the mustard sauce, with an additional swig of Tabasco, gives them a certain puckery tingle not found in traditional red barbecue sauces.
3-4 servings


  • 6 chicken legs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • Carolina Mustard BBQ Sauce from See link (below) on blog for recipe and my notes to cook briefly and add Tabasco.


  • PREHEAT OVEN TO 350 F and set rack at center.
  • HEAT OVEN-PROOF STOVE TOP GRILL or cast iron skillet over medium high heat for 2-3 minutes.
  • SEASON CHICKEN LEGS: In a medium bowl, toss chicken with oil until evenly covered. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper.
  • ADD CHICKEN TO GRILL OR PAN and brown well on one side. Turn and brown well on the other side. Brush each leg on both sides with mustard sauce.
  • PLACE GRILL OR PAN IN THE OVEN and cook another 20-30 minutes or until chicken is done through with no pink remaining and/or at 170+ degrees F.
  • SERVE HOT, WARM, AT ROOM TEMPERATURE, OR COLD. Store leftovers well-covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Do not freeze.


Copyright Alyce Morgan, 2022.

MUSTARD SAUCE: Carolina Mustard Barbecue Sauce from Self Proclaimed Foodie. I heated all of the ingredients in a 2-quart sauce pan, added a good swig of Tabasco sauce, and let it simmer about 10 minutes before using. Many thanks to Self Proclaimed Foodie!!

Drumsticks with homemade fries? Sure. I cut two medium skin-on russet potatoes in my food processor using the French Fry disc. A knife works just as well, though not as quickly. In a medium bowl, I tossed them with a tablespoon of olive oil and seasoned them well with salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, and a pinch of ground cayenne pepper. I cooked them in the Air Fryer for about 20 minutes (tossing once midway through) on 390 degrees F. Our best Air Fryer fries.


More ideas for cooking chicken legs:

Baby Kale and Kluski Noodles with Chicken (More Time at the Table)

Chicken Thigh Recipes/ALLRECIPES

Chicken Drumstick Recipes/BON APPETIT

10 Pro Tips for Grilling Chicken Drumsticks/CHAR BROIL

Want to use a dry rub for your chicken legs? Read up here: Dry-Rub Barbecue Chicken Recipe/ALLRECIPES


below: Living in Colorado is always interesting. This little video was shot in our back yard the other day….

below: Granddaughter Piper, now 8, came to spend her birthday with us last week. Here she is grilling burgers and dogs with her Papa Dave in the rain. She is 5 feet tall!!

Thanks for keeping me company in the kitchens. As always, you’re inspirational!

What’s YOUR favorite piece of chicken? My mom liked to say, “I like the breast and all the rest.”

Happy late summer,


Summer in a breakfast at our house. Grilled buttered seeded sourdough rye bread topped with a cheese omelet and our perfect tomatoes. Pepper, naturally.

One thought on “Cheep Eats

  1. Pingback: One-Pot Drumsticks and Rice with Vegetables (Stove Top) | More Time at the Table

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