The foolproof way doesn't entail a lot of work, just a few simple steps...
#1 Keep the skin on. As tempted as you are to pull it off, don't. This is not the place to do it. Skin is what great roast chicken is all about. It's what keeps the juices in. It's what gives your mouth a textural and flavorful orgasm upon taking that first bite.
#2 Marinate, marinate, marinate! Just do it. Even if all you can afford is an hour, do it anyway. Ideally the chicken should hang out with its aromatics and flavorings for a few hours, maybe even overnight. This really develops the flavor. Oh, and don't forget to throw some onions into the party. The more the merrier.
#3 Start in a HOT oven. Your oven must be preheated and at a pretty high temperature (at least 400 degrees Fahrenheit) when the chicken goes in, if you want to achieve beautifully browned and crisp skin.
#4 Baste. Brush the chicken with fat every 15 minutes. Whether you're making a whole bird or parts, basting helps to keep the chicken moist on the inside and nice and golden on the outside. Any sort of fat will do - oil, melted butter, or even the very juices that the chicken lets out.
Lime & Cilantro Rubbed Drumsticks(yield: 4 servings)
1 cup cilantro, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
zest of 2 limes
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup olive oil2 lbs chicken drumsticks, skin on
1 large yellow onion, sliced
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp smoked paprikasalt & pepper, to taste
Combine first 5 ingredients in a bowl. Place the drumsticks and onions into a large bowl. Pour half of the cilantro mixture over chicken, and reserve the remaining half for basting. Rub the chicken all over with the mixture, making sure to get it under the skin as well. Season with the spices, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, preferably 4-6 hours.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large sheet pan with aluminum foil. Scatter the onions across the sheet pan to form a bed for the chicken to rest on. Place the drumsticks over the onions, making sure not to overcrowd them. Season generously with salt & pepper, and place into hot oven.
Reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees Fahrenheit after 15 minutes, and baste with the reserved cilantro lime mixture. Roast for an additional 30-40 minutes, basting twice more in the process.
Slather whatever remains of the cilantro lime mixture over the roasted drumsticks, and serve.