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What Are the Best Tips for Baking Chicken Legs?

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  • Written By: Lori Kilchermann
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 16 September 2014
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Some of the best tips for baking chicken legs help to make certain all of the legs are cooked equally. By placing the legs in the oven when the legs are all the same temperature, the chicken legs will cook more evenly. The manner in which the legs are arranged in the baking dish is also important when baking chicken legs. Taking the time to choose similarly-sized legs is another way of having the best success when baking chicken.

Chicken is often purchased frozen or partially frozen. By placing the meat on a kitchen counter until all of the pieces have come up to room temperature, it is much easier to obtain equally cooked pieces when baking chicken legs. Care must be given to the poultry to avoid salmonella. It is crucial that the chicken not be left on the counter for more than half an hour prior to baking. It is also important to make certain that the chicken is completely cooked before serving; when the meat begins to pull away from the bone, it is done.

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When baking chicken legs, the meat will cook much more uniformly if they are arranged in the baking dish properly. Alternating the legs so that the large end is placed next to the small end of the next piece will allow the legs to bake more evenly. This method places large ends at both the center of the oven as well as the outer edge, instead of having all of the large ends of the legs in the middle or the outside of the baking dish. The shape of the legs allows them to fit neatly when alternated, similar to puzzle pieces.

When purchasing chicken legs in small amounts, choosing pieces the same size will result in more even cooking. This is somewhat more difficult when buying legs in large, bulk packages. A tip for best results is to use only equally-sized legs in a pan when baking chicken legs. This can mean using more than one pan to cook in, or dividing the legs into two or more batches to be used at different meals. Another tip when baking chicken legs is to boil the legs before placing them in the oven.

Boiling cooks the legs nearly all the way through and allows much of the grease to be drained away with the cooking water. This is also a good method of removing the skin before baking the chicken. The cooked skin is very easy to remove from the legs and creates a healthier version of the chicken dish.

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