Buttermilk Fried Chicken Drumsticks with Lemon and Thyme

When dividing up a chicken, my druthers always go to the dark meat. So this week’s recipe from Chef Katy has a special place in my hierarchy of reliably great meals. Fried chicken drumsticks are a delight.

By long tradition, tangy buttermilk has been the critical ingredient for tenderness in fried chicken. But buttermilk also adds to the flavor profile. The other important point is to use a high quality rendered fat (such as our grass fed beef tallow or pasture raised pork lard) which not only makes a wonderfully crispy crust.

Fried pasture raised and certified organic chicken drumsticks from Wrong Direction Farm served on ceramic plate.

Buttermilk Fried Chicken Drumsticks with Lemon and Thyme

Katy Sparks
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4 people


Drumstick Marinade

  • 8 pasture raised chicken drumsticks
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 Tbsp lemon zest (plus a little extra for garnishing)
  • 1 Tbsp minced thyme (plus a little extra for garnishing)
  • 1 tsp sea salt or flake salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

Dredging Flour

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole grain flour
  • 2 Tbsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 quart rendered fat for frying


  • Combine all the marinade ingredients in a deep bowl that can submerge the chicken drumsticks. Marinate for 3-4 hours in the fridge, turning once or twice to ensure the chicken marinates evenly.
  • When ready to fry the chicken, bring the drumsticks out to warm up a little- about 30 minutes before cooking. Choose a thick-bottomed skillet or dutch oven for frying. Heat the rendered fat to 350 degrees using a thermometer to maintain the temperature.
  • Dip each drumstick in the seasoned flour and coat fully. Once all drumsticks are dredged, gently lower into the hot fat and cook for 10-15 minutes or until the internal temperature has reached 160 degrees.
  • Drain the drumsticks on paper towels and season with thyme, lemon zest and salt and enjoy!

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