If you are out eating at your local KFC or chicken establishment, you might often see chicken legs as distinctive from chicken thighs and drumsticks.
Some people are inclined to believe they are all the same, but is this true?
The short answer is no. The Chicken legs refer to the whole length of the leg of the chicken, whereas the thighs and the drumstick are just removed portions of the larger chicken leg. But are there any other differences?
Do chicken legs taste any different from thighs and drumsticks?
Can you cook them all differently? How much meat is there on each one?
Well, if you want a complete guide to chicken legs, thighs and drumsticks, you should keep reading.
What Is A Chicken Leg?
You might think that this question is self-explanatory, but you have to understand that we are not talking about the living leg of a chicken, more the cut of meat this is referred to as the chicken leg.
This part of the chicken is known as a chicken quarter, as there are 4 pieces of the chicken: 2 whole legs and 2 whole breasts.
The chicken is divided into these parts for serving, as they have different flavors, different fat content and different textures.
However, if you are following certain recipes that require a chicken drumstick, this can sometimes be very confusing, as what they are really requesting is the chicken leg.
Knowing the difference between the two is very important for getting the right meal.
What Are Chicken Drumsticks?
The drumstick is the lower portion of the leg, usually found halfway down the chicken leg itself.
The chicken drumstick has a very distinctive shape that you can see is immediately different to the chicken thigh.
The drumstick tapers at the end, which is why people often have them in buckets, as they are very easy to hold as you chew the chicken from the bone.
This is the reason why it is called a drumstick, as it very much mimics the shape of a stick that is held by a drummer.
Often drumsticks will be a lot cheaper, as they have far less meat on the bone than chicken thighs.
You can good a chicken drumstick until it gets a crispy texture on the skin. Very often the drumstick will be sold with the skin left on.
You will often find a lot of chicken drumsticks served on a large plate in a buffet.
This is because they are very easy to pick up and just start eating.
What Are Chicken Thighs?
This is the upper portion of the leg and at just a glance you can see that there is much more meat on the bone.
A chicken thigh is mainly used for cooking, although you can eat it on its own.
There is a lot more meat on a chicken thigh, which is why they are often a lot more expensive.
You can easily remove the meat from the chicken leg, which makes it perfect for cooking.
You will often see a pack of chicken thighs removed from the bone. This means they will be very soft and fatty, perfect for cooking.
There is a myth that this type of meat is not as healthy because it is darker than other portions of the chicken, However, chicken thighs have lots of health benefits and are a very rich source of protein.
Which Is Cheaper: Legs, Drumsticks Of Chicken Thighs?
Chicken legs do get a bad wrap because they are seen as unhealthy, containing a lot of fat.
However, chicken legs are very good for you and actually very versatile.
Because of this, there isn’t that much of a demand for chicken legs, which makes them much cheaper than chicken thighs or drumsticks.
Often butchers and supermarkets will make much more of a profit from their chicken breasts, so they will sell them at a much more costly price.
It often saves a butcher far more money to sell the whole chicken legs, as they will not have to separate them into drumstick and thighs.
They also won’t have to take the skin off or remove the bones from the chicken.
The best thing to do when you are buying chicken is to get the whole leg, as this will be cheaper, and just separate the two sides yourself.
All you need is a sharp knife to slice through the chicken roughly down the middle.
You’ll need to make sure that when you are cutting chicken that there is not any cross-contamination.
Meat can be a real breeding ground for germs, so make sure you use a separate chopping board for the rest of your vegetables.
How Long Do Chicken Legs, Drumsticks And Thighs Take To Cook?
If you are cooking this part of the chicken, especially a whole chicken leg, then we would recommend that you leave the skin on.
This is because the natural fat of the chicken leg will prevent the meat from drying out.
If you want to reduce your overall calorie intake, then we would suggest that you take the skin off the chicken after you are done cooking it.
Because the leg is larger than the drumstick or the thigh portion, you’ll need to allow for a longer cooking time.
If you want to make sure that your chicken leg is cooked thoroughly, then you can slow cook it for better results.
Before you start cooking, if you are taking your chicken leg out of the refrigerator, you should let it stand for around 30 minutes until it reaches room temperature.
If you cook it cold, then you will vastly increase the chances of bacteria.
Preheat your oven to around 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you are going to season or salt the chicken, then you should do this before you put it in the oven.
Cook in the oven for around 30 to 45 minutes. Measure your chicken with a meat probe when you’re done.
It should have an internal temperature of around 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Make sure that you check this with an internal temperature probe.
Again, you might need to allow more time for your chicken legs to cook, as there is more meat on them.
Chicken Leg Recipe Ideas
Here are a few great chicken leg recipe ideas:
this is a great Sunday recipe dish that comes with some delicious veggies and great melt-in-the-mouth chicken.
served in a handy foil tray, you can serve this one to your guests.
They won’t be able to get enough of the sweet barbeque sauce.
Tropical Island Chicken
This is wonderful grilled chicken that comes with a very unique flavor. You can serve this at an exotic-themed party.
Rhubarb-Apricot Barbeque Chicken
this is a combination of intense bitter and sweet flavors that won’t be for everyone.
with some lemon zest and garlic, you’ll have all you need to transform your chicken legs into an irrefutable moreish dish for your summer barbeque.
We hope that our guide to the differences between chicken legs, thighs and drumsticks has helped you to differentiate between them, which should also help when you are shopping for and cooking them.
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