Chinese Chicken Drumsticks Tutorial on Technique

Jan 15, 2005 by Joop | 3 Comments| Share it:   



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This is more a cutting tutorial than it is a cooking one (as well as my first), since this is basically just fried chicken. However, these are made using the chicken wing, not the leg, and end up looking like chicken blow pops, with a clean bone sticking out of a clump of tender chicken meat. It takes some getting used to in order to feel out the process, but I made a batch of these recently and recorded it as best I could. You also get your hands pretty slimy, but it’s an impressive dish that makes for some fancy hors d’oeuvres or grill food.


  • Prep: 30 mins. - 1 hr.
  • Cook: ~30 mins.
  • Serves: 15

Filed Under


  • chicken wings
  • Bread Crumbs
  • Grated Parmesan
  • Olive Oil for deep frying
  • Milk or a few eggs

Step 1

When breading and frying, you'll want to coat the chicken in something before applying the bread crumbs, to help them stick. Some use egg whites. Some use beaten eggs. I use milk to keep it a little lighter. Up to you. In a chicken wing, there are three sections. The big meaty side with the single humerus bone, the smaller portion with the radius and ulna bones, and the useless little wingtip. For the first cut, you want to go into the elbow joint, though you actually want to cut into the tip of the humerus bone. You can feel the bump where the tip of the bone is. You also don't want to cut all the way through it. A little deeper than the above is fine, just don't go all the way through. After that, hold the humerus side straight up and down, take the rest of the wing and pry it open further. There's a little cap on the tip of the bone that you don't want to sever.


Step 2

The reason you don't want to sever that cap is because the meat is attached to it, rather than the bone itself. Now you want to pull that part down the humerus bone, peeling it off the bone tip. The meat will stay attached to the cap (ligament?) and peel down too. Just get it off the tip for now, so it's a little loose. If any sticks to the bone, just get in there with your fingernail. It should look like this:


Step 3

Now cut the rest of the wing off, through what remains of the elbow joint, and set it aside.


Step 4

This part is a little hard to explain (and to photograph, since you need two hands for this). You basically pull the meat down, and inside out, keeping it still attached to the bottom of the bone. You can make a little cut at the top of the meat, where the bone is sticking out, which will help it turn inside out. Just yank it, it takes some effort before you get the gist of what you're doing. It should look like this when you're finished:


Step 5

That's one side finished. Now, take the other part of the chicken wing that you set aside, and you're going to do the same thing to it, but it's a tad trickier since there are two bones in there. Feel out the 'knuckle' bit at the joint, and cut into it, but not through it.


Step 6

Pop it open with the wingtip and pull down, just like with the first part.


Step 7

Cut the tip off. You can save them if you like to make your own chicken broth. Now you want to take out the extra bone, which will be the smaller one. Push the meat down (not inside out, yet). Hold the wing by the larger bone and gently rotate the smaller one down so that it's inline, kind of like winding a clock hand from noon to 6 o'clock. Push the smaller bone up through the meat now, you should see the tip of it. Push the bone until it sticks out, then just pull that end all the way through. Sometimes you get the little ligament cap, sometimes you don't, it doesn't really matter. You should be left with a slightly smaller version of what you had with the first part.


Step 8

Pull the meat inside-out on it the same way as before. So, one chicken wing will yield the following: Do that a bunch more times. You get better with time. I think the first time I made these, it took me and a friend an hour to do a whole batch (how ever many come in the large wrapped packs from Safeway, maybe 20 or 30). Now I can do a whole set in 30 minutes, by myself. You'll mess up a few of them, at first. It happens.


Step 9

From here, you can do any number of things with them. Slather them in a sauce and grill them for a BBQ, fry them as I'll show below, any way you cook bone-in chicken. As for why the fuss of doing this complicated cutting process, the end result looks really crazy, and since the meat is sort of piled at the bottom, rather than pulled taut over a bone from joint to joint, it's incredibly tender. For the frying, set up your ingredients. I use an equal mix of plain bread crumbs and grated parmesan cheese.


Step 10

Set up a small pot with a few inches of oil to medium-high heat. You can use a fryer or deep fry thermometer if you want, but I eyeball everything and this works. Hold your chicken by the bone (they make very useful handles for cooking and eating) and dunk it in milk (or whatever you're using) then dunk it in the bread mix, coating it well. Then put it in the oil. Repeat with enough so that you're not crowding the pot too much. This part is a little gross, but sometimes a bit of blood from inside the bone will squirt out of the tip sticking out. Just make sure to get that bone tip into the oil for a second or two to seal it up. Once they get nice and brown, take them out.


Step 11

The meat is very tender so over cooking it really ruins it, not to mention makes them greasy. Properly fried food isn't very greasy at all, thanks Alton Brown for that episode. Set them on a rack to cool.


Step 12

You can eat them with a selection of dipping sauces or just as is, either way they are great. I also like to slather them in a good buffalo wing sauce, since I have an obsession with making really fancied up versions of normal food like buffalo wings or grilled cheese sandwiches. They are also great cold, the next day, or any other way you like your KFC. They are a bit labor intensive for what you get out of it, but they do make for some very impressive hors d'oeuvres/grill nibbles for $10. It's definitely a part of my 'impress new girlfriend' menu.

Now that you have learned how to make chinese chicken drumsticks tutorial on technique, please be sure to view these other chicken recipes. Also, you will love these Chinese recipes.


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user does not have an avatar GreyBeard

Nov 17, 2006

This is great! I really enjoy finding new, unusual food prep techniques. You’ve taken plain old chicken wings and shown us how to turn them into something a little exotic. Well done. Thanks for sharing.

user does not have an avatar painrelief

Jul 31, 2008

nice recipe. i like the Alton Brown reference. saw that episode

user does not have an avatar Craig

May 26, 2011

Thanks very much for explaining the technique for preparing these wings. I was looking at reproducing our favorite dish from a local Chinese restaurant, this worked out perfectly, only we served them with a peppery honey sauce, awesome.

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