Tunisian Spiced Chicken Drumsticks

Last weekend, I test drove my new Weber Q1200 by making some treats for Oscar Sunday.  I don't think I would have thought of trying to BBQ in this weather if I hadn't attended the Weber Grilling class.  Chef Clive and the staff at Weber Canada made  me feel prepared to dust off the snow and get grilling with these helpful tips:

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-Preparation is key - it gets dark early during winter so getting  your ingredients ready before you start grilling is helpful.  Otherwise, arm yourself with a flash-light - I used the one on my iPhone :-)

- If you're wearing a scarf, make sure it's tucked under your coat or apron.  You don't want that sucker dangling over an open flame, for obvious reasons

-Use a timer, meat thermometer, and avoid opening the lid too often (I always do this!).  Every time you open the lid, your cooking time is extended as the grill loses heat quickly.


So I don't have a balcony and my rooftop terrace was covered in snow.  Luckily, my neighbour has a balcony and so I packed up my ingredients and my Weber (it's really light) and headed across the street for an afternoon of grilling.

Tunisian Spiced Chicken Drumsticks

I'd tried a few recipes using harissa over the Christmas holidays and I was eager to see how this Tunisian spice would taste on the BBQ.

2 tablespoons harissa powder (I get mine from Domino Foods in St. Lawrence Market, President's Choice also has a harissa spice blend as part of the PC Black Label line of products)

2 tablespoons cumin

2 tablespoons paprika

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

8 to 10 chicken drumsticks (fresh, not frozen)

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Combine all ingredients except the chicken in a bowl and stir until well combined .  Coat with chicken with the spice blend and marinate in the fridge overnight.   When you're ready to cook these yummy legs, preheat your BBQ to 350 degrees.  If you are using a gas grill  with multiple burners, don't turn on all your burners, just use one.  When you reach 350 degrees sear your legs on the burner that is on, a few minutes on each side, using direct heat to get those yummy grill marks we all love.  Then, move the legs to the adjacent burner so you're chicken can cook 'low and slow' with the indirect heat.  This way you get your grill marks and that lovely char we all like on our BBQ but you can allow your chicken to stay on on the grill long enough to cook all the way through without burning. Once you have seared all the chicken and taken the legs off the direct heat to cook, you need to close your grill.  Resist the temptation to check the meat every few minutes.  Check the temperature of your meat after 25 minutes with a meat thermometer.  You want an internal temperature of 165 degrees before eating.  If the legs are below temperature, keep cooking them on a closed grill, checking the temperature every 5 minutes.

Now if you are using the Weber Q1200 the cooking process is a little different.  The great thing about this grill is that it is compact and easy to use.  It's ideal if you live in smaller space or if you don't want to have to drag out your big BBQ out of your garage or shed to enjoy some winter grilling.   However, the compact size means there is 1 burner and all direct heat.  The tricky thing about chicken is that the skin can burn quickly on direct heat, giving the outward appearance that it is cooked when the inside is still raw.  No worries though, I found a way around it. Use the same cooking process as described above, sear your legs at 350 degrees.  After the initial sear, leave the chicken on the closed grill for 5 minutes only.  Then keep turning  your legs and checking your meat with a thermometer every 5 to 7 minutes.  Lower the heat to 300 if the skin is getting to crispy and the internal temperature of the chicken is still relatively low.  


Get your grills out this weekend and try this delicious chicken!  Keep your eyes peeled for more recipes from my first time grilling experience posted soon!