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Chicken legs- tenderness?

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  • Schusslig
    Club Member
    • Apr 2018
    • 4
    • Houston
    • Kamado Joe Classic II

    Chicken legs- tenderness?

    I cooked some chicken legs last night on my kamado joe at about 350F (with a cyberQ) until they temped around 175-180F. they were quite juicy and I was happy with the flavor. however, they were noticeably less tender than I would like. by tenderness, I mean the connective tissue was still quite elastic. it didn't bother me too much, but the wife only ate one and complained that she couldn't get a satisfying bite because there was too much chewiness going on.

    what is the best method to maintain juicy chicken legs but also let some of that connective tissue convert to collagen or whatever (something less chewy)?

    lower cook temp for longer?

    let them cook to a higher internal temp?

    if this is a tired/common topic, please feel free to just post a link. thanks!
  • Donw
    Club Member
    • Jul 2017
    • 2721

    #2
    First, welcome from Maryland. I personally do a two zone method when doing chicken so that I cook to about 150 internal at about 225-250. When I hit about 150 I then finish over the higher heat. I believe that the longer cooking period allows more time for the breakdown of the connective tissue. I also dry brine my chicken before starting the cook.

    Comment

    • parkerj2
      Former Member
      • Aug 2016
      • 115

      #3
      Could've just been the chicken. I've gotten a couple of really tough SOB's lately. Even a simple braise that I've done 100 times didn't seem to tenderize them.

      Comment


      • Potkettleblack
        Potkettleblack commented
        Editing a comment
        A year or two ago, I got a deal on four heritage chickens from a website. They were all tough and nasty, even with long sous vide or braise.

        Learned that lesson.
    • Spinaker
      Moderator
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      #4
      Welcome to the Pitmaster Club! I would take them up to about 180-190. This should help. Like others have mentioned, it might just be that you got a tough chicken. That does happen from time to time with all cuts.

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      Comment


      • Potkettleblack
        Potkettleblack commented
        Editing a comment
        Was gonna say, going up to even 200 isn't a problem with legs. You gotta render some of that connective gook down. You can either go lower and slower, or just take it hotter. The connective gook will keep the leg meat moist even up to 200.
    • Schusslig
      Club Member
      • Apr 2018
      • 4
      • Houston
      • Kamado Joe Classic II

      #5
      good stuff, guys. thanks! I'll maybe try a little lower temp and take them to 195-200F next time. they were delicious with Memphis dust on them.

      Comment

      • FishTalesNC
        Club Member
        • Dec 2017
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        #6
        This is another way to conquer that issue via prep, and still do the high temps for crispy skin: https://pitmaster.amazingribs.com/fo...pops-part-deux

        Comment

        • Schusslig
          Club Member
          • Apr 2018
          • 4
          • Houston
          • Kamado Joe Classic II

          #7
          Originally posted by FishTalesNC View Post
          This is another way to conquer that issue via prep, and still do the high temps for crispy skin: https://pitmaster.amazingribs.com/fo...pops-part-deux
          so you just cleaned them up before hand? any good pics or youtube for best way to trim the tendons and stuff off?

          Comment

        • texastweeter
          Club Member
          • Jul 2017
          • 2842
          • Republic of Texas

          #8
          Was it a young fryer, a stewing hen, or did it say? Probably just a tough yard bird, it happens.

          Comment


          • Schusslig
            Schusslig commented
            Editing a comment
            it was just a pack of legs from my local grocery store chain in TX, HEB.
        • PaulstheRibList
          Founding Member
          • Jul 2014
          • 1614
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          #9
          I like bringing legs and thighs up to 185-190 to get that perfect tender. We cook at 300 (if on top rack in the offset) or less

          Comment

          • texastweeter
            Club Member
            • Jul 2017
            • 2842
            • Republic of Texas

            #10
            I blast them at 325°ish until 175° internal. Occasionally I have had a tough one, but usually no issues. Usually I do thighs though.

            Comment

            • RonB
              Club Member
              • Apr 2016
              • 12133
              • Near Richmond VA
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              #11
              Welcome to The Pit.

              Comment

              • HouseHomey
                Club Member
                • May 2016
                • 4918
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                #12
                Yep. Kinda what they all said. In my opinion you have one cook in so I would do the exact same cook again with different chicken.

                Maybe last time you were cooking the Goalie. Likely this time they’ll get tender. If the same thing happens rake up the internal temp. Then next time lower the cooking temp.

                Just my pennies worth.

                Comment

                • Schusslig
                  Club Member
                  • Apr 2018
                  • 4
                  • Houston
                  • Kamado Joe Classic II

                  #13
                  Just to clarify, the “toughness” was primarily from that big tendon that clings to a good chunk of the meat. It was still quite rubber band like.

                  This is probably overkill/change of topic, but has anyone sous vide-ed them for a while at like 180 just to give the connective tissue more time to break down? Then finish them on higher heat for a bit?

                  Just spit balling here.

                  Comment


                  • treesmacker
                    treesmacker commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I think sous vide would be an option. I've sous vide half chickens with great success. Can't really remember temp and time, but there is a lot of info on the web.
                    About 48 years ago, I worked at KFC and we deep fried the chicken in pressure cooker pots. That was back in the day when they used a lard like fat that was melted down in the pot. I know they haven't cooked it that way for years. So... maybe Instant Pot in some way could work, though I don't think they recommend deep frying in it.

                  • Potkettleblack
                    Potkettleblack commented
                    Editing a comment
                    150 for maybe 8 hours should be very effective.

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