Main dish

Chipotle-orange glazed drumsticks

Chipotle orange glazed drumsticks DSC8022

There’s a scene in the movie “Hud” where Patricia Neal’s character offers an orange to Paul Newman. As she’s about to hand it to him she says, “Look it says ‘Florida’ on it. We grow ’em right here in Texas and they send them in from Florida. That makes sense, doesn’t it?” Paul Newman shakes his head and says, “Yeah.”

“Hud”, which is based on Larry McMurtry’s book “Horseman, Pass By,” is a tale about two generations of West Texas ranchers and their conflicting values—the new versus the old. That orange scene isn’t in the book, and yet it’s one of my favorite fictional conversations about Texas food. Indeed—why in the heck would you buy a Florida orange when they grow them in Texas?

Well, the film takes place in summer and that’s not exactly prime time for Texas citrus. Even though we’re accustomed to eating oranges year round, Rio Grande Valley oranges are only available November through March. So I’ve always thought that the summertime setting of the film might explain why the characters are eating Florida oranges when they’re in Texas. (That is unless there’s some deeper significance to the scene that my inner English major just hasn’t figured out yet.)

Chipotle-orange glazed drumsticks | Homesick Texan

But yes, I realize it’s June so why am I talking about oranges? Well, the reason why I mention any of this is when I was flipping through this month’s issue of “Everyday Food,” I spotted a chicken recipe that had baked thighs slathered in an orange glaze. It looked appealing, and when I went to the store not only were juice oranges on sale but also were drumsticks. With a few modifications from the original recipe, my dinner plans were confirmed.

This recipe is not difficult, as you simply salt and pepper the chicken, bake it, make a sauce and then broil the chicken with the sauce until it’s caramelized. The sauce in the magazine called for orange concentrate, but I made it with fresh-squeezed orange juice along with orange zest for added brightness. I also threw in a chipotle chile for smoky heat and added some molasses for its dark, bittersweet tones.

The resulting drumsticks are sticky, spicy and sweet. And while they make for a great main course, they could easily be passed around as a starter, much like wings. Just be sure to have plenty of napkins on hand as these chipotle-orange glazed drumsticks are definitely a messy affair.

Chipotle-orange glazed drumsticks | Homesick Texan

And while you won’t be buying Texas oranges this time of year, please know that these chipotle-orange glazed drumsticks make for such excellent summertime eating, I don’t think your family and friends will mind at all.

Chipotle orange glazed drumsticks DSC8022
5 from 2 votes

Chipotle-orange glazed drumsticks

Servings 4
Author Lisa Fain


  • 12 drumsticks
  • Salt, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh-squeezed orange juice
  • 1 chipotle chile en adobo
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3/4 cups ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • Pinch of ground allspice
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • Paper towels for serving


  1. Preheat the oven to 450° F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and lightly grease. Sprinkle the drumsticks with salt and pepper, place on the sheet and bake for 40 minutes.

  2. While the chicken is in the oven, in a blender mix together the orange juice, chipotle chile and garlic. Pour into a large saucepot and stir in the ketchup, molasses, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, allspice, cayenne and orange zest. Bring to a boil (be careful, as it will probably splatter a bit), turn the heat down to medium-low and while stirring occasionally, cook for 35-40 minutes or until thickened. Adjust seasonings and add salt to taste.

  3. When the chicken is done, remove from the oven and turn on the broiler. Add the chicken to the saucepot and toss with the chipotle orange sauce. Drain the fat from the baking sheet and place the glazed chicken back on the sheet. Cook under the broiler for 1-2 minutes or until darkened and brown spots appear.

  4. Serve with lots of paper towels, as the drumsticks are messy.

  1. These look great. No, I don't think anyone would mind at all.

  2. My boyfriend would love these! I might just make them this weekend!!

  3. Little Black Car

    Horseman, Pass By.

    I'd try these with grapefruit, too. 😉

  4. Lisa Fain

    Ileana–I'm glad you think so!

    D.Liff–They're terrific on the weekend. Enjoy!

  5. Lisa Fain

    Little Black Car–Thank you for that! And yes, they'd be terrific with grapefruit, too.

  6. Miss Meat and Potatoes

    I've never seen Hud! Shame on me. These are going on my summer BBQ list. Thanks Lisa!

  7. Ooh, you made me doubly homesick today. "Hud" was filmed in my hometown. I was 2, ran up and hit Paul Newman on the leg. I live in Montana now and it's soo far from home. I love your blog, REAL food.

  8. I love the orange-chipotle combo. I also really enjoy learning about Texas food through all your great posts and recipes. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Lisa Fain

    Miss Meat and Potatoes–It's one of my favorite Texas films and it's has Paul Newman at his peak. You must see it.

    Teresa–What a great memory! I love it!

    Genet–Thank you and you're very welcome!

  10. Blog is the New Black

    These look amazing!

  11. LOVE it. Love chicken, love TX citrus, love Larry McMurtry. Will be trying this soon! Thanks!

  12. How funny. For a chicken wing cookoff last weekend, I made a deep-fried chicken wing tossed with a chipotle-orange-honey glaze. I didn't win, but I enjoyed the heck out of that chicken wing and kept thinking about how nice it would be on a bigger, meatier piece of chicken.

  13. Lisa Fain

    Blog is the new black–Thank you!

    Sarah–You can never go wrong with Larry McMurtry.

  14. Lisa Fain

    Molly–See, that's why I'll take a drumstick over a wing any day–more meat!

  15. scmom (Barbara)

    We used to live in Florida and only had California oranges in the stores. Go figure. That's what's wrong with food in this country!

    Looking forward to trying your recipe!

  16. Lisa Fain

    Barbara–What? That's nuts!

  17. Texan in Deutschland

    "Hud" is one of my most favorite movies! And I remember the scene with the orange. These look great! Just came home with some chicken for the grill. May have to adapt! Thanks for sharing.

  18. Your creativity in both your writing and in the kitchen keep me coming back to your blog over and over. Great recipe and I have passed on this post to Mr. Mc Murtry as well. Cheers!

  19. Emily Adamson

    Do you think it would work to make the sauce, marinate the chicken and then BBQ it? Or would that be too intense?

  20. Rocky Mountain Woman

    I am perplexed by the whole ship a tomato a thousand miles instead of buying one from the guy down the street….

    I love the spicy orangy idea!

  21. Jackie @Syrup and Biscuits

    Your chicken looks great! I love the flavor of orange with chicken and pork. Your addition of chipotle sounds wonderfully exciting.

    Regarding the origin of oranges, that is one of my big hot buttons. I live in Florida and I think we should eat Florida oranges, not California oranges. If the oranges are out of season, we shouldn't eat them and wait until next citrus season. It makes no sense to ship oranges across the dadgum country just so you can have an orange when it's not in season. I refuse to buy a CA orange in a FL grocery store. I stalk my family to make sure they are buying FL oranges and not CA oranges. Yes, this has become an obsession. I'm looking for a therapist.:)

  22. Lisa Fain

    Texas in Deutschland–Isn't a great movie? And I think this would be fabulous with grilled chicken!

    Murph–Thank you!

    Emily–It could be good, though my only concern is that the sugars in the sauce might burn after being in the oven too long.

    Rocky Mountain Woman–It makes no sense!

  23. Lisa Fain

    Jackie–It's a noble and fine obsession. And I completely agree with you!

  24. Debra Kapellakis

    This would great anywhere anytime, yum!

  25. Maria_NJ

    you could use some new baking sheets…no but really that recipe looks fantastic and have you ever tried Reynolds release foil, that stuff is genius….

  26. Yardwork

    Hud is one of my all-time favorite movies! And the book was possibly even better.

  27. Vicky @ UrsineCuisine

    Thank you for posting – this looks delicious! I just posted a marinade recipe for chicken thighs that uses lime juice – citrus is just so good at tenderising the meat!

    And love your photos too! Thanks for sharing.

  28. There may not be any TX oranges right now, but local peaches are beginning to appear in the stores and they're delicious!

    I would love to say that I'll only eat what's in season locally, but the bottom line is that I'm obsessed with fruit and am willing to buy anything, at any price, that looks ripe and hasn't been banged around too much. I just try to eat more of the local produce during the summer when it's available.

  29. This recipe looks delicious. I saw Hud years ago but I suddenly have the need to watch it again.

    Lovely interview with Diana.

  30. Riley Wofford

    I'll be making these this weekend! Spicy and sticky… Yum!

  31. I just made these for me and my husband-to-be and they are the, pardon the expression. Holy cow. If he wasn't already planning to marry me, he def would be now. Thanks for posting.

  32. Aarti S.

    Lisa, did you keep the skin on the drumsticks? Thanks for the help — I'll be making this tonight!

  33. Lisa Fain

    Aarti–Yes, I keep on the skin. Enjoy!

  34. John Atkinson

    I made these Wednesday at our vacation cottage on the CT shoreline as an appetizer. They were magnificent! Doubled the recipe for 24, didn't have all spice so I substituted with nutmeg and cinnamon. In the words of my nephew Kyle… "Ahhh… these just sing to my soul…"

    Thanks Lisa!

  35. Emily Halm

    Just made these for dinner tonight and needed to tell you that they are so delicious. I had some lemon yogurt sauce left over from a previous blog recipe escapade via smittenkitchen and thought it might be a good accompaniment. If anyone out there likes blue cheese with wings you must try this combo! The yogurt sauce cooled down the spicyness and brought out the citrus-y goodness. Mmmm. I got the yogurt sauce recipe from here:


  36. Anonymous

    I couldn't find molasses where I live so I used honey instead, and I put in three chipotles instead of one. Fantastic.

  37. It's funny, I just had the orange experience with peaches. I snagged some peaches from elsewhere (Georgia? Florida? I'm not sure) to compare to the better-smelling Texas peaches, and I was shocked at the differences in taste, smell, texture, and then I was blown away by the overall goodness of the Texas peaches. Now I want to make a trip to Fredericksburg or Stonewall!

  38. Larissa Burgess

    these look MOUTHWATERING! yummm!

  39. Lisa Walker

    I want this in my fridge. Cold, for lunch.

    I really enjoy your stories and your recipes.

    The Lame Chef

  40. Heidi J

    I'm in the middle of making this and just realized you never say when to add the orange zest. So, when?

  41. Lisa Fain

    Heidi–You add it after the cayenne. Thanks for the correction!

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