The Drumstick Dinner

Thanksgiving Dinner Turkey Drumstick Leg On Paper Plate free creative commonsphoto © 2009 D. Sharon Pruitt | more info (via: Wylio)

Just to be clear: That drumstick in the photo is not one that I cooked.

It’s January (did you know?), so we’re back on the budget wagon. This means stern lectures and cash envelopes and a trip to a grocery store I don’t usually shop at because it had a great deal on chicken.

Unfortunately, that chicken (to be more precise, ONE bag of that chicken) wasn’t exactly what I intended to buy. What I THOUGHT I was buying: frozen, skinless, boneless chicken breasts. What I DID buy: frozen chicken drumsticks.

Drumsticks! Who BUYS drumsticks? And for crying out loud, what am I supposed to DO with them?

Of course I didn’t realize I’d bought a bag of the wrong chicken until it was thawed out and opened. If I’d realized it before then, I would have simply posted on Facebook and found a local friend who – for reasons I cannot possibly fathom – likes drumsticks.

Now, I’m going on and on about how awful drumsticks are, but I certainly wasn’t raised that way. I remember well a time when my brother and I would fight over the fried drumsticks at a chicken dinner, and OH, what a treat those slimy, stringy pieces of chicken were.

But for the life of me I cannot remember why.

See, for many years now, I’ve been a chicken snob. Not “snob,” as in I’ve got to have the highest quality chicken or anything. Just as in refusing to eat it on the bone and cutting off any trace of fat or gristle.

I know. I KNOW. I never would have made it in the pioneer days. Or any days other than today when you can buy a bag of frozen, skinless, boneless chicken breasts for $4.00. But seriously. Just typing the word gristle up there kind of creeped me out.

But we’re adhering to our grocery budget this month! And I’m not going to be wasteful! No leftover left behind!

Or something.

So, I did what any modern mom would do, and I got online to figure out what on earth to do with these stupid drumsticks. And the world of Twitter and Skype did not let me down.

After getting several great recommendations (Much better than the one a while back that suggested I read “a recipe book,” because she finds that is helpful. For real?), I found a recipe that seemed perfect. It was simple, it used (mostly) only ingredients I already had on hand, and it was a Pioneer Woman creation.

You can’t go wrong with Pioneer Woman, right?

Oh, but you can. Or, more accurately, I CAN.

Without going into the most gory details (do you KNOW how much skin is on a drumstick? or how HARD it is to pull it off?), let me just cut to the chase. The dinner was a DISASTER.

The recipe called for dipping each drumstick in a yogurt mixture, coating in panko breadcrumbs and then baking until crispy. I didn’t have yogurt but was convinced sour cream and/or mayo would work. And, really, are panko breadcrumbs really THAT much different than the plain, fine ones I have? (Yes. Yes, they are.) And even though I knew I should use my biggest baking dish, it was dirty, so surely my smaller one would work just fine.

Um, no. And no. And NO.

My sour cream/mayo/garlic/parsley mixture was, in hindsight, too thick and glopped on way too much. The regular breadcrumbs were too grainy and made for poor (or, really, non-existent) crispy-ness. And cramming those nasty drumsticks into a too-small pan and then expecting them to crisp up – or even COOK ALL THE WAY THROUGH IN AN HOUR? Apparently that was just too much to ask.

I didn’t take a picture. If you were wondering, which my friend Kelly (who encouraged me to share this delightful tale with you) was this morning. No way. Looking at the chicken – even after it was [FINALLY] cooked through – was enough to make me gag.

Mark ate one piece of the chicken, and then we threw it into the trash. It was the saddest grocery day of the year. I think I heard a little whimper from my cash envelope…or maybe that was me.

I don’t even have a lesson learned or upbeat summary for you. Just the lingering sadness of a dinner gone wrong, SO wrong. Who knew I could feel like I’ve let down the Pioneer Woman and Dave Ramsey in one night?

Tried any new recipes lately?

32 Comments The Drumstick Dinner

  1. Lauren January 7, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    Not sure if you are talking about the HyVee chicken breasts. We went to HyVee because they were only $3.99. I absolutely LOVE that chicken. We buy it no matter what, but it was exciting to see it on sale. Bummer, that you grabbed the wrong stuff.

    1. Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect January 8, 2011 at 9:33 am

      I actually got them at Price Chopper. HyVee had a limit and the bags were 2.5 lbs. Price Chopper didn’t have a limit on how many bags you could buy AND their bags were 3 lbs. And….yes, I actually went through all this before deciding!

    1. Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect January 8, 2011 at 9:32 am

      I believe you. Kind of. ;)

  2. nicole January 7, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    I’ve not had this happen with chicken, but I have had to dump a meal in the trash and call for takeout. It happens to all of us at some point I think. Oh, and I always have to cook meat longer than a recipe indicates.

    1. Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect January 8, 2011 at 9:32 am

      You’re right. I think anyone who tries something new will have this happen at some point. Too bad it couldn’t have happened BEFORE I decided to get serious about our budget!

  3. Sarah B January 7, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    Love this “Who knew I could feel like I’ve let down the Pioneer Woman and Dave Ramsey in one night?” It makes me laughs! Thanks!

    1. Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect January 8, 2011 at 9:29 am

      Well, seriously. It was just a failure in every department!

  4. Corrina January 7, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    Dying at the “Dave Ramsey & Pioneer Woman” line. I may chuckle all evening about that! Hey, at least you try :)

    1. Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect January 8, 2011 at 9:29 am

      Oh, I try. I try a lot. It just doesn’t always work out like I hope!

  5. Shelly @ Life on the Wild Side January 7, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    Just so funny, Mary. I will never look at a drumstick the same again.

    I’m not a fan of the drumstick either, but recently some missionary friends who (usually) live in Brazil had us for dinner. She made a traditional Brazilian mean of chicken drumsticks, beans, and rice. It was delish! Should i get the recipe for you? ;)

    1. Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect January 8, 2011 at 9:27 am

      I’m sure someone else could fix drumsticks and they’d be delicious. But I’m telling you, I never want to attempt it myself again! (Soooo gross….!)

  6. Charlie January 7, 2011 at 7:38 pm

    That line about letting down both DR and PW on the same night?
    TOTALLY worth the $4 you threw away globbed with sourcreammayogarlicbreadcrummys on it.

    I am GAFAWING over here. I don’t use the G word lightly either. Laughing my cotton-pickin-head-off. Mary, you just made my entire night. And I’ve had a pretty stellar night already! You put the generic off brand cherry RIGHT ON TOP!!!!!!

    GAFAWING, I tell you!

    1. Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect January 8, 2011 at 9:26 am

      Yay!!! I’m so glad my sad little story could be a part of your already-great night!! (For the record, it was LIGHT sour cream. If that helps…?)

      1. Charlie January 8, 2011 at 11:44 am

        I suppose we could count that as a help….
        Although I’m not sure that your forceflex trahs bag really cares… ;)
        This is STILL making me laugh!

  7. Eos Mom January 8, 2011 at 9:18 am

    I’m sad to say that many many times when I’ve tried a new recipe, it’s ended up in the trash. :-( Its very discouraging, but how else will I ever add to our famimly favorites or get out of this dinner rut?! Ugh!

    1. Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect January 8, 2011 at 9:23 am

      I know. It’s a struggle for me, too, especially with a husband who’s kind of picky. We get sick of the same meals over and over, but half the time we try something new, it doesn’t work out! I guess I’d rather try than not, but still – I’d rather not waste food, too!

  8. Donnie January 8, 2011 at 10:14 am

    You poor thing. You cook just like I do…lol….With it just being the 2 of us it is not as simple as cutting a recipe in half. I just consider most of the sites as “Food Porn” which is what hubby calls it. No problem, he watches Handyman shows and doesn’t do that either. I made plain fried pork chops and he “said, whats that smell, cooking again? Now you know why I post about restaurants.

  9. chelleybutton January 8, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    I actually don’t mind drumsticks if it’s fried chicken, particularly the KFC kind. ;) I think it’s because they’re smaller so I don’t have to eat as much. Hmm, so maybe I don’t like them that much after all. ;) I buy rotisserie chickens from Wal-Mart though, and always throw out the drumsticks (I still feel like it’s worth it though, b/c it’s usually ~6 meals worth of good chicken, for $5). I agree about gristle — hate the word even. Ugh. Sorry it didn’t turn out! At least it wasn’t just Mark this time. ;)

  10. Kathy @ House of Hills January 8, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    Oh my word. I actually pulled some drumsticks out of the freezer and was coming to see what recipe you chose. I’m SO sorry it turned out so…um… not good…
    It makes a GREAT story though!
    And, having just started the envelopes for the first time ever, I SO feel your pain there.

    1. Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect January 10, 2011 at 10:02 pm

      The envelopes are SO HARD!!! We’ve tried it several times before, but I’m more serious than in the past. Of course, it’s easy to say that when it’s still the first half of the month. ;)

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  12. Rachel January 9, 2011 at 10:07 pm

    I totally get you on the whole “chicken snob”, no bones, no fat thing. When I have to eat meat on the bones, I feel like should be in some nature documentary sitting in the middle of the pride of lions who are tearing into their freshly caught wildebeest. No, thank you!

    Anyway, your story made me laugh. You’re not the only one who’s had kitchen disasters – there have been plenty in my house, too!

      1. Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect January 10, 2011 at 9:55 pm

        Please do! Jessie (Vanderbilt Wife) has made it with great results, but she did point out that she actually followed the recipe. Unlike me. :)

    1. Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect January 10, 2011 at 9:56 pm

      Haha! Your description of eating meat on the bone as being in a nature documentary cracked me up!!!

  13. alece January 12, 2011 at 11:29 pm

    it has been WAY too long since i’ve been over here… and this post was the perfect “welcome back”. you crack me up, mary. seriously. i could so envision your entire drumstick debacle going down, complete with grossed-out facial expressions. hilarious! thank you for the laugh, friend.

    (and i am so a chicken snob as well… which i don’t think missionaries are really “allowed” to be.)

    1. Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect January 17, 2011 at 1:53 pm

      Welcome back! I promise, should you ever come to visit me in person, I will not fix chicken. :)

  14. Nony the Slob January 13, 2011 at 1:19 pm


    My kids love drumsticks, so I thought I’d be frugal and buy some to cook for them when I make boneless skinless breasts for us. Apparently, I do not make them the way the fried chicken places do, and it was decidedly NOT a success.

    1. Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect January 17, 2011 at 1:52 pm

      I tell you, sometimes this frugal business is not worth it! ;)

  15. Tiffany July 13, 2012 at 8:10 am

    Oh my! I’ve had similar cooking experiences. Mostly with chicken with bones not being any where near done after an hour in the oven. It just takes longer than they usually say.

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