Chicken Leg 101

Scott Heimendinger
Scott Heimendinger
August 20, 2021
This basic, no-frills recipe will help you cook fantastic skin-on dark meat chicken in the Anova Precision Oven. This recipe cooks the chicken at an oven temperature just above the target doneness. This process, called Sous Vide Express, gives sous-vide-like results, where the doneness is perfect from edge to edge, but reduces the cooking time from 1 1/2 hours to about 45 minutes. It's a happy compromise between the perfection of equilibrium cooking and precise timing required by traditional cooking. Set the steam to 0% to keep the skin as dry as possible throughout cooking to help achieve crackling, crispy skin in the searing step. Use this recipe as a starting point to add your own spin with dry rubs, sauces, and more. Make sure to save the pan juices from the first cooking stage. They’re full of flavor! Pour them over the final dish or incorporate them into a sauce or gravy. You can scale the recipe up to as many portions as you like; the times and temperatures will remain the same. The probe temperature may overshoot the target by a degree or two from carry-over cooking. That's okay; carryover has been accounted for.
Prep Time
Cook Time
Chicken Leg 101
4.33 (3)
chicken leg quarters
1 Tbsp
kosher salt
2 tsp
neutral oil

1. Trim Excess Fat

Use kitchen scissors or a knife to trim away any excess fat and/or skin from the chicken.
Trim Excess Fat

2. Season Liberally

Sprinkle both the underside and the skin side of the legs liberally with salt. This may seem like a lot, but it will dissolve into the meat for flavor and draw water out of the skin for better crisping.
Season Liberally

3. Air Chill

Place the chicken on a rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 1 hour or up to 48 hours. You can skip this step if you're in a hurry, but refrigerating the legs, uncovered and skin-side-up helps dry out the skin so it crisps in the searing step.
Air Chill

4. Preheat Oven

When you’re ready to cook, heat the oven.
Sous Vide Mode: On
Steam: Off
Temp: 167°F
Heat: Rear

5. Pat Dry

Pat the skin dry with a paper towel to remove any moisture that may have accumulated while air chilling.
Pat Dry

6. Insert Probe

Insert the probe into the thickest part of the thigh of the largest leg, being careful to avoid the bone. You can avoid piercing the skin by inserting the probe from the side of the leg.
Insert Probe

7. Cook

Transfer to the oven, attach the probe, and cook until the legs reach their target temperature, about 45 minutes (see note).
Sous Vide Mode: On
Steam: Off
Temp: 167°F
Heat: Rear
145.4°F Probe Target

8. Hold for Up to 4 Hours (Optional)

This holding stage will begin automatically as soon as the chicken legs have reached their target doneness. If you're not ready to eat right away, you can hold the chicken legs warm for up to 4 hours before proceeding. If you do want to continue to cook, move on to step 9 and activate the third cooking stage on your app.
Sous Vide Mode: On
Steam: Off
Temp: 145.4°F
Heat: Rear
04:00 Timer

9. Remove from Oven

When you're ready to proceed, remove the pan from the oven and remove the probe from the chicken.
Remove from Oven

10. Adjust the Oven for Crisping

Sous Vide Mode: Off
Steam: Off
Temp: 482°F
Heat: Top

11. Reserve Juices

While the oven heats, pour off and reserve any juices that have accumulated on the baking sheet (see note).
Reserve Juices

12. Brush with Oil

Pat the skin dry once again and brush with the oil to promote better crisping.
Brush with Oil

13. Crisp Skin

Return the chicken to the oven and cook until the skin is golden brown, about 8 minutes.
Crisp Skin
Sous Vide Mode: Off
Steam: Off
Temp: 482°F
Heat: Top
00:08 Timer

14. Serve

Slice through the joint to separate the drumstick from the thigh, or serve as-is.
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