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.

Buttermilk Fried Chicken Drumsticks with Lemon and Thyme

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4 people
Author: Katy Sparks


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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