How to Grill Chicken Legs

By Nils Hoyum - March 3, 2010

Marinated and Grilled Chicken Legs | Chicken Recipes


4-6 servings



dish type


The grill in these pictures belongs to my friend, Eric. He brought it over for a meal a while back, and I decided to hang on to it for a few days. I have fed him a couple times to ease the transition. Full tummies have a tendency to demotivate people from doing things like take back their grills. Thanks for the grill, Eric! Good luck getting it back!

The recipe I used for this marinade is just one of thousands of possible marinades. The key components of any marinade are salt and sugar. These two substances, once dissolved in a liquid, are part of what gets flavor into the meat. If you want to learn more about marinading, read my article on brining pork chops. It is very informative, and the recipe I provide works well for poultry too.

Grilled Chicken Leg Recipe: Marinated in Soy Sauce, Chilli Sauce, Ginger, Sesame Oil, and Garlic

ingredients for grilled chicekn legs

1. Assemble your ingredients. When it comes to grilling chicken legs, there are a thousand different ways to do it. For this article I did something I don't normally do: I used a strong marinade. The difference with my marinade however is that all the flavors are balanced, so it works well.

marinating the chicken legs

2. Marinate the chicken legs. The marinade ingredients are listed to the right. The nice thing about marinades is they don't have to be exact. There is room to breathe. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Make sure to add the sesame oil last.

chicken legs in brine in a bag

3. A zip-lock bag is a great way to marinate meat. If you pour the chicken and marinade into a large zip-lock bag, you will be able to store it easier. Plus, you wont need as much marinade. Notice that in the bowl the drumsticks aren't covered by the marinade. But in the bag they are surrounded.

grilling the chicken legs

4. Put the chicken legs on the preheated grill. After the chicken drumsticks have marinated at least an hour but no longer than 8 hours, place them onto a preheated grill directly from the bag using a pair of spring-loaded tongs. Grill the chicken drumsticks at a medium heat, covered.

flipping and rotating the grilling chicken legs

5. Flip and rotate the chicken legs. After a few minutes flip a drumstick to see how it's cooking. If it is a nice dark brown, flip it to another side. Move and rotate the chicken from hot spots and cold spots as needed. Keep the lid on, but check it regularly, like every 4 minutes.

grilled chicken legs

6. Check the internal temperature of the chicken legs. After 20 minutes or so, there is a good chance they are getting near to done, especially if they are nice and firm when you squeeze them and they are brown and a little crispy. Stick a digital thermometer in the thickest part of the meat, next to the bone. You are looking for a temperature of 160 degrees F.

Tips and Tricks

Industrial chicken is a sad and horrible machine. Try to purchase free-range chicken. And, even more so, try to find local, organic, true free-range chicken.