Sumac…The Mysterious Spice


Sumac has been around for centuries and derives from the berry of a plant called Rhus coriaria. Not too many people are familiar with this particular spice. It grows wildly in the Middle East and parts of Italy. The sumac used for spicing food is not to be confused with “poison sumac” also know as poison oak because, unless you’re psycho, nobody wants to poison her dinner guests.

The taste is tart and lemony and was once used to calm the stomach. In my husband’s middle eastern home, his mother used sumac on everything from chicken, fish and grilled meats to vegetables, rice and salad.

Although I will be using sumac in other recipes to come, I want to start my first blog post with this simple and delicious sumac chicken recipe, as it is one of my most highly requested recipes. I hope your family and friends enjoy it as much as mine do. Thank you to @Ginavon for getting me started and to @rimabarkett for your counsel in the kitchen.

Sue’s Sumac Drumettes


049The best part about this recipe is that there are only three ingredients besides the chicken: seasoned salt, sumac and pepper.

2 pounds chicken drumettes
2 ¼ tablespoons sumac (available at any Mediterranean market)
1 ¼ tablespoons seasoned salt
½ teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
Flat leaf parsley for garnish

Broil on highest temperature.

Rinse chicken drumettes in a colander. Set aside. Line a 12 x 18 baking sheet with aluminum foil, covering the sides. This makes for easy clean up and protects your baking sheet from scraping any stuck-on chicken.

Line up the drumettes on the baking sheet making sure they do not touch.

Using half of your ingredients, sprinkle drumettes evenly first with seasoned salt, then sumac, then pepper. For even coating, it may be easier to use your fingers. With tongs, flip them over and repeat on the other side.

Broil on the second level from the top for fifteen minutes – depending on the heat of your oven. They should look dark brown and crispy. Take out of the oven. If there are any fatty drippings on the baking sheet, drain them off in the sink. Turn the chicken over and broil for ten more minutes until dark golden brown and crispy.

These drumettes do not have the texture of buffalo wings, which are slightly gooey. These are crispy and juicy. They are so flavorful that there is no need for any dipping sauce.


  1. I am lucky to have had the opportunity to eat these on many an occasion. Sue’s Sumac Drumettes are a great dish and/or appetizer. Looking forward to your next recipe!

  2. I didn’t realize how easy this was to make. Another “Sue recipe” that my family goes crazy over! I put your website on my favorites list.

  3. Congratulaions Sue, habbibti, on your website. You are one of the best. My husband (your father-in-law) loves your sumac drumettes and prefers them over mine. 🙂

  4. Fantastic! I love all of your food and I am really excited about the blog! The first thing I thought when I read the blog was “FINALLY!! Sue will give up her biscotti recipe!!”

  5. I’m so happy that you posted a recipe using sumac. I have a little jar of it in my pantry, but wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it, and now I know.

  6. Hi Sue,

    Your tweets are much more exciting than Jose Hernandez! I am so happy to have the recipe for those drumettes everyone goes crazy for.


  7. Hi Suzie- your Dad is down fishing and showed me your new website. I look forward to trying some new recipes- I know you’re a wonderful cook!! xoxo. Jeananne

  8. michelle rishwain September 3, 2009 — 4:41 am

    sue the photos are amazing….so glad you are doing this blog… wonder i don’t see my neighbor anymore…jessica don’t hold your breath….cookie recipe a secret i think….but i can definitely recommend the drumettes…yummy…

  9. Hi Sue,

    Congrats! I tried the summac drumettes. Simply DELICIOUS!! Thanks and I look forward to check in often for more.

  10. Sue,
    The site looks great…. I’m not much of a cook but you make some of these recipes look easy I think I will have to try…. Thanks for sharing…..

  11. I could lick the plate on this one, thanks a lot.

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