Saturday, May 13, 2006

Many people stick to the white meat of the chicken, but they should really try the leg meat as well. Chicken leg meat - the legs, thighs and drumsticks - has a wonderful flavor, works great in all types of cooking, and is a great value today.

Today's great value

Leg meat is a great value today. That's because the demand for breast meat and wings has also produced plenty of dark meat - you can't produce a chicken with one but not the other! Consequently, chicken marketers are offering leg meat at very attractive prices.

Marketers are also bringing innovative, tasty and convenient new products to market that use leg meat. These include:

  • Skinless, boneless thighs that can be used in place of boneless breast in many recipes.
  • Seasoned thigh meat on skewers, ready to go on the grill.
  • Marinated or seasoned leg meat strips, ready to use in fajitas or stir-fry recipes. Try one of these new products in your next chicken dish!
Leg meat - great on the grill

Everyone loves grilled chicken, and leg meat parts are ideal for cooking over the coals. Chicken thighs and other leg-meat pieces contain a little more fat than the white meat, making them better able to withstand the intense heat of a grill. The heat melts the fat and helps the chicken stay moist and tender.

Grilling with chicken leg parts couldn't be simpler. Boneless, skinless thighs are perfect for the grill. Simply place the meat on an oiled grill and cook, turning once, for about 8 to 10 minutes per side. For bone-in parts, such as drumsticks or bone-in thighs, the key to cooking the meat through to the center without burning the outside is to place the grilling rack about 5 to 8 inches from the heat of the fire. Turning the meat will prevent scorching.

Drumsticks, thighs and legs should cook to an internal temperature of about 180 degrees Fahrenheit, or 15 to 30 minutes per side, depending on the size of the part. Check to be sure that a fork can be inserted into the meat with ease and that the juices run clear, not pink.