Chicken legs spice up any cook out or BBQ gathering. There are a number of ways to cook chicken legs on the grill, each with their own unique flavor and style. The type of grill used can also affect the way chicken legs are cooked as well as the flavor. Gas and electric grills impart less of a smoked flavor unless flavoring is added while charcoal or wood grills bring a smokey or wood taste to the chicken legs.
Grilled chicken legs should be cooked thoroughly to avoid risk of contamination or bacteria. The legs are considered done when the juices run clear and the meat is no longer pink. This can be checked by poking the meat with a fork or meat thermometer.
A good marinade is one of the best ways to prepare chicken legs for grilling. Marinades are easy to purchase or make and can be used up to 24 hours in advance to allow flavor to soak into the meat. A marinade may be a simple garlic and oil sauce or a complex spicy sauce that contains a number of ingredients. Marinades may also be basted on just prior to cooking.
Once the chicken legs have been marinated, they should be placed on a pre-heated grill that has been prepared for cooking. Legs should be cooked for several minutes per side to ensure a thorough cooking process. Depending on the grill and temperature, legs may need to be turned several times to avoid burning or charring of the meat.
Spice rubs bring another level of flavor to chicken legs. These rubs are often used just prior to grilling but can also be prepared in advance then chilled in the refrigerator in order to allow the flavors to penetrate the meat. Spice rubs come in a very wide range of flavors from spicy to zesty citrus and can offer low calorie and low sodium alternatives to many traditional marinades or sauces, ideal for diets where calories and sodium content need to be monitored.
When cooking chicken legs with spice rubs they should be cooked evenly on both sides in order to ensure the meat is cooked properly. Spice rubs may need to be moistened in some cases if the temperatures on the grill are high. This can be accomplished by either adding small quantities of water, oil or an appropriate mist or spray of liquid that is approved for grilling.
One of the more simplistic approaches to cooking chicken legs on the grill is to cook them plain – that is with no seasoning or sauces. Simple grilled chicken legs allow for the natural flavor of the chicken to take the center stage in a meal and can go well with a variety of side dishes. Cooking the legs without seasoning or sauces means that the legs should be carefully monitored in order to avoid overcooking or drying out of the meat.
BBQ chicken legs can also be cooked on the grill. This involves the use of a barbecue sauce, marinade or rub in order to impart the flavor to the meat. The legs may then be cooked on the grill as is, or wrapped in foil to keep the flavors inside a steamer package. If foil is used to lock in steam and flavor, the chicken legs should be checked regularly to avoid overcooking.
Whether cooking with marinades, rubs or foil, chicken legs make for an exciting and flavorful meal when cooked on a grill. They can be a delicious and healthy alternative to ground meat or heavily breaded foods at any cookout. Grilled chicken legs can also be served as a healthy meal at home instead of just a fun cook out food.