HOW TO COOK MEAT

How to Bake Chicken Legs

By Nils Hoyum - October 30, 2009

Chicken Legs Baked with Herbs | Chicken Recipes

yields

6 servings

cuisine

american

dish type

entree

The word bake is used rather loosely in recreational cooking. When dealing with non-bakery items, the professional term used for cooking in an oven is "roast." We roast a turkey. We are roasting parsnips. A pig has been roasted. And likewise. We bake bread. We are baking pies. Cookies have been baked. The only real exception to the rule is ham. We always hear baked ham instead of roasted ham.

Since baking and roasting are essentially the same thing you may be asking yourself what does it really matter? The truth is, it doesn't. At least not to you; just to people like me.

Baked Chicken Leg Recipe with Dried Thyme, Savory, Parsley, Sage, Marjoram, and Rosemary

chicken legs

1. Dry the chicken legs with a disposable paper towel. You almost never have to trim drumsticks. Occasionally some yellow foot-skin will be left attached at the joint. This is harmless but remove it by peeling it off. Drying the meat will help the seasonings introduce their flavor into the meat.

season the chicken legs

2. Apply the dry herbs and seasonings before you add the wet stuff. There are a lot of combinations of spices, sauces, marinades, and rubs that you can put on chicken. I mean it's chicken for crying out loud. It goes with anything.

bake the chicken legs

3. Heat the oven to 450 degrees F. Put the drumsticks into a roasting dish, and put the dish into the preheated oven. I put it near the top of the oven because I had corn in the bottom. And there is more heat at the top of the oven because heat rises.

finish cooking the chicken legs

4. Bake the chicken legs until they reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees F. Chicken legs are small enough that they are difficult to under cook. But just to be safe, use a digital thermometer. Once they have reached an internal temperature of 160 degrees F, they are done. If you want to brown them further, place them under the broiler for 5 minutes.

Tips and Tricks

When you roast the chicken, make sure to leave a little space in between the meat.

You will have better roasting results if you roast uncovered.

When you check the internal temperature of the chicken, take the temp at the thickest part, right next to the bone.

Let the skin get crispy; it tastes a lot better when it's crispy. To ensure this, roast at a high temperature, like 450 degrees F, or broil it for the last 5 minutes of cooking.

My favorite marinade for chicken drumsticks is equal parts lime juice, rum, soy sauce, and water. Marinade the chicken 8–12 hours. Drain the chicken in a colander. At this point, you have a couple of options. You can roast it using the steps above or you can bread it and fry it. The breading is 1 cup flour, 1 tsp paprika, and ½ tsp white pepper. Dredge the still moist chicken in the flour, and fry in small batches or bake in a hot oven. It is really delicious.