Chicken wings should be thawed before baking

Prepare the chicken legs - this is how the legs become crispy and juicy

A crispy, spicy skin on the outside and tender, juicy meat on the inside - that's how chicken legs should be. Once you've really got the crunch for a crispy chicken leg, it usually won't let you go - the smell of the chicken cart that is parked around the corner is enough to completely drive you crazy. It is all the more disappointed when what awaits you on the plate is not crispy and juicy at all, but rather limp and dusty dry.

So that this doesn't happen to you, here are all the tricks on how to make the thighs juicy on the inside and crispy on the outside. So you never have to rely on the food truck with the chicken on the rotisserie again.

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Thighs, legs, mallets - which part of the chicken is it actually about?

In addition to the breast and the tender wings, poultry meat also has the Clubs or leg to the cuts that are used particularly frequently in the kitchen. Compared to the lean breast, the leg consists of several, smaller muscle strands and thin, embedded layers of fat, which make it particularly aromatic and juicy. In terms of color it is The meat of the leg is slightly darker than that of the breast and is used during preparation by the higher fat percentage dry less quickly.

If the legs come from the chicken (the lighter chicken or the heavier poulards), they are sold in stores as chicken or chicken legs. The cut consists of the whole Club with thigh and lower leg one speaks of whole chicken legs.

If one divides the leg between the joint of the upper and lower leg bones, one obtains the thigh that is thrown out, which can also be called individually Chicken steak on sale is. The second part is the shin and fibula of the chicken. In this cut, the small legs are also called Schlegel, Chicken Drums or Chicken drumsticks designated. Regardless of the cut - they are sold usually with skin.

Chicken legs and their nutritional values

Poultry and chicken are generally considered to be lean, wholesome meat. However, it also depends on the part that you are preparing. The chicken breast fillet is particularly low in fat with approx. 102 kcal per 100 g. As a result, however, it also tends to become dry quickly when roasting and grilling.

The thighs that are richer in fat, however, come up with skin approx. 170 kcal per 100 g. Depending on the type of preparation, marinating and frying in fat can add a few more calories. But wait - don't judge the bulls too soon! Because it is precisely the higher fat content that makes them juicy and aromatic. And the crispy skin in particular is the reason why the legs are so popular with connoisseurs of all ages. If you value a low number of calories, it is better to grab the lean chicken breast, for more aroma and crispy skin it can be a thigh.

Buying chicken thighs: Here's what to keep in mind

You can get ready-cut and cut chicken legs at the butcher you trust as well as in the supermarket and discount store around the corner. But how do you know if the meat is fresh and where is the best place to buy the legs?

This is how you recognize fresh chicken legs

Regardless of where you buy chicken thighs, it is important that the meat is as fresh as possible. The following features offer you the best clues:

  • Colour: typical poultry pink, but slightly darker than the breast meat. Under no circumstances should it have a grayish discoloration.
  • Odor: if possible neutral and by no means strict or musty.
  • Surface and skin: The meat surface should as smooth as possible and the skin light and rather fine-pored (if it is very large-pored, this speaks of a rather older animal).
  • If already specified, the Best before date: You should always keep this in mind and ideally not exceed it.

You want to buy chicken legs - but where?

In principle there is no right or wrong. If you know from your butcher that he gets his poultry from the region and that he is kept in a species-appropriate manner - he may even slaughter himself - you will of course never be wrong there. There you probably have to put a few euros more on the table. If you value regional products lay down, but it should be worth it to you. But be careful: Before buying, ask specifically where the meat comes from, because now many butchers also get their products from wholesalers.

However, the meat from supermarkets and discounters does not have to be worse. You can find it (if there is no fresh food counter), mostly pre-packaged and welded in the refrigerated counter, but often in organic quality and usually a little cheaper than at the butcher's. seal of qualitylike the organic, Demeter and Naturland seals serve as an additional purchase aid.

Where you want to buy your meat is up to you. The quality is not necessarily better here and worse there. When buying chicken legs and other poultry meat, the key question is what you pay attention to.

Prepare chicken legs: before you get started

Before the legs end up in the oven, pan or on the grill for preparation, you should prepare them a little, depending on the type of preparation, so that they succeed:

Divide and bone the chicken thighs - if you prefer boneless

If you're not a fan of gnawing the meat straight off the bone, you can shred the thighs before you cook it boning, so that Loosen muscle meat and free it from the bone. Without the bones, the tender meat is particularly suitable for stuffing, rolling or baking like the classic 'fried chicken'.

  • Step 1: Skin and flesh right around the knee joint (the narrow end of the thigh), cut down to the bone. Make sure that everyone Tendons completely severed are.
  • Step 2: Now place the thigh with the skin side down on a cutting board and move the knife directly along the boneto cut the meat on the lower and upper thighs down to the bone.
  • Step 3: Gradually loosen the meat on all sides of the bones and these remove together with the joint.
  • Step 4: Finally, you should also use the remaining ones Cut out the articular cartilage.

Marinate and season the chicken legs

Before you start roasting and baking, the legs must of course be seasoned - this is the only way to make the skin nice and aromatic. The following principle applies: If you are in a hurry, enough 2 hours of marinating time out. But the longer the spices can soak into the meat, the better. You should, however, keep them well chilled Prepare after a maximum of 2 days of marinating time.

You have different options when it comes to seasoning:

The liquid marinade

  • Liquid marinades are usually made from Oil, acid and spices. They penetrate the tender poultry meat particularly well and make it particularly aromatic.
  • When it comes to oils, you can choose between more neutral types such as Sunflower, rapeseed or olive oil or alternatively flavored oils with added chilli, garlic or herbs. They add even more aroma.
  • You give the acid in the form of Vinegar or a little lemon to.
  • With the spices you can let your creativity and your own taste run wild - everything is allowed. Something honey also provides a little sweetness, a shot soy sauce for the salty note.

TheDry marinade

  • In the case of dry marinades dispenses with liquid and instead on Salt, sugar and other spices set. They are therefore also known among barbecue friends Dry rub known.
  • All spices are mixed in equal parts and the meat is rubbed evenly with the spice mixture. When heated later, the caramelizing sugar leaves one crispy crust back - this makes the Dry Rub very popular, especially when grilling.

For chicken thighs with crispy skin there is one because of the low liquid and high salt content rather dry marinade very suitable. If you want to use some oil for more flavor, only enough oil to add the The consistency of the marinade is crumbly remains.

The secret: The skin becomes crispy and the meat juicy

Crunchy skin

The secret to crispy skin on your chicken legs: Salt!

If you have your chicken legs some time Rub generously with salt before preparation and marinate, chemical processes - keyword osmosis - ensure that salt and water penetrate the meat and the surface, that is the skin dries. This is how it becomes when roasting, grilling and baking faster and more evenly crispy.

Important: For this effect to occur, it takes enough time: leave the thighs after the salting at least 2 hours, even better overnightpull. By using a dry marinade, you can combine seasoning and salting directly. To increase the effect, you can also use the legs during preparation regularly with a little brine brush on.

Juicy meat

The secret to juicy meat on your chicken thighs: Salts, the right core temperature and the right cooking time!

The salt not only dries out the skin of the thighs, it also improves the skin by slowly penetrating it and changing certain proteins Juice holding properties: so it ensures that everything Water is collected and bound in muscle meat and cannot escape again as quickly. This means that the tender poultry does not dry out as quickly as it is cooked.

If you are with the help of a Core temperature meter If you also pay attention to the ideal temperature inside the thighs, you are always on the safe side when it comes to juiciness. For an average chicken thigh, that is optimal core temperature atapprox. 80 ° C. If you prepare the legs in the classic way at 180 ° C in the oven, the ideal core temperature is usually after approx. 45-50 minutes reached.

Prepare chicken legs: the basic recipe from the oven

Of course, you can cook chicken legs in different ways. In the classic variant, however, the Bollen are put on the wire rack and put in the oven:

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5 other ways to prepare juicy chicken legs

Alternatives to the classic oven recipe? The tender chicken legs also taste wonderful from the pan, from the grill rack or from the Roman pot:

Chicken legs from the pan

The quick alternative to the oven: the pan. When preparing the legs, everything stays the same. After that, however, the motto here is: frying instead of baking. By Roasting for about 5 minutes the skin side in one Cast iron or stainless steel pan you can play it safe when it comes to the 'crispy effect' with your chicken legs. Then Cook over medium heat for about 25 minutes and the tender meat stays juicy - without an oven.

Grilled chicken legs

BBQ season? Perfect for chicken legs. Whether from the gas or charcoal grill - the preparation on the grill is ideal for crispy chicken skin. The direct heat gives the skin an extra helping of roasted aromas and makes them super crispy. Above the indirect heat can the thighs Simmer for about 40-50 minutes and stay with one optimal core temperature of approx. 80 ° C nice and juicy. The whole thing becomes nicely spicy with a marinade homemade BBQ sauce - for a full grill feeling.

Chicken legs from the roasting tube

You can cook all poultry particularly gently in the roasting tube. Chicken legs also turn out particularly well in the practical bag. Together with vegetables they end up in the hose and cook in their own juice at a constant temperature. The skin is usually not as crispy as when grilling or baking on the wire rack, but the gentle cooking method makes it all the more tender and juicy. An extra plus for the hose: the oven also stays clean.

Chicken legs from the Roman casserole and casserole

Do you like it particularly tender? Then the best thing to do is to cook your chicken legs very slowly in a Roman pot or stew pot. Similar to preparation in a roasting tube, the legs are slow and gentle cooked in their own juice or directly in sauce. The advantage: In the casserole you can put meat and vegetables, or even a complete dish like curry Prepare in one go.