Gai Yang (Thai-Style Grilled Chicken Legs)

Susan Vu
Susan Vu
September 8, 2022
Gai yang is a popular grilled chicken dish that originated in the northeastern region of Thailand, known as Isan. The chicken is famous for the deeply aromatic flavor it gets from its robust lemongrass and cilantro-laced marinade and the smoke of the grill over which the chicken gets deeply charred. Most gai yang recipes call for two different soy sauces—a thinner Thai-style soy sauce for flavor and a darker varietal for color—but you can also substitute 3 tablespoons of regular soy sauce instead of the blend we use here.
Serves
4
Prep Time
12:25
Cook Time
01:25
0
7
Ingredients
2 Tbsp
fresh lime juice, plus lime wedges for serving
3 Tbsp
grated palm sugar or light brown sugar, packed
3 Tbsp
fish sauce
2 Tbsp
Thai-style thin soy sauce, such as Healthy Boy brand
1 Tbsp
dark soy sauce
1 small bunch
cilantro (about 1 ounce), leaves and stems separated
2 stalks
lemongrass, green tops discarded and lower pale yellow stalks minced, about 1/3 cup (30g)
8 cloves
garlic, peeled and lightly smashed
2
red or green Thai bird chiles, thinly sliced
1.5 tsp
ground white pepper
1 tsp
ground coriander
4
chicken leg quarters, about 2 1/2 pounds total
1 to 1 1/2 Tbsp
canola oil, plus more for the grill
Steps

1. Combine the Wet Ingredients for Marinade

In a small bowl, combine the lime juice, palm sugar, fish sauce, light soy sauce, and dark soy sauce. Stir until the sugar is dissolved.

2. Make Marinade

Tear the cilantro stems into 1-inch pieces and add to a miniature food processor along with half of the cilantro leaves (reserve the remaining leaves for garnish), the lemongrass, garlic, and Thai bird chiles. Blend until very finely chopped. Add the white pepper, ground coriander, and 3 tablespoons of the fish sauce mixture and blend until a very rough, fairly chunky paste forms.

3. Marinate the Chicken

Transfer the paste to a large bowl and add the remaining fish sauce mixture. Stir to combine and add the chicken legs. Turn the chicken legs to coat, then transfer the chicken and all of the marinade to a large plastic or glass storage container. Cover with a lid and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to overnight.

4. Preheat the Oven

Rack
Sous Vide Mode: On
Steam: Off
Temp: 160°F
Heat: Rear

5. Remove the Chicken from Marinade

Remove the chicken legs from the marinade, allow any excess marinade to drip away, and arrange the chicken in a single layer on a baking sheet. Pat the skin and underside of the chicken dry with paper towels.

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.

7. Cook

Rack
Transfer to the oven, attach the probe, and cook until the legs reach their target temperature, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Sous Vide Mode: On
Steam: Off
Temp: 160°F
Heat: Rear
155°F Probe Target

8. Remove from Oven

Remove the baking sheet from the oven and remove the probe from the chicken.

9. Preheat Grill

Preheat a charcoal grill or gas grill to medium-high heat with one side of the grill set up for direct heat and the other set up for indirect heat. Once the grill is hot, clean and oil the grill grates. Alternatively, preheat a cast iron grill pan over medium-high heat.

10. Brush with Oil

Pat the skin and underside of the chicken legs dry with paper towels to remove any excess moisture. Brush the chicken all over with the oil.

11. Grill (Charcoal or Gas Grill)

If using a charcoal grill or gas grill, place the chicken legs skin-side-down on the direct heat side of the grill. Grill until the chicken skin is deeply charred and crispy in spots, 2 to 4 minutes. Flip the chicken over (being careful to not tear the skin). Cook on the second side until well-browned and charred in spots, 2 to 4 minutes. If at any time during the grilling process, the fat from the chicken starts to cause flare-ups, move the chicken to the indirect heat side of the grill. Move the chicken between the 2 sides of the grill as needed to ensure that the chicken gets nicely charred but not burned.

12. Grill (Cast-Iron Grill Pan)

If using a cast iron grill pan, place the chicken legs skin-side-down on the grill, then lay a sheet pan on top of the legs. Weigh the pan down with a large cast-iron skillet, 2 to 3 large cans, or 2 large foil-wrapped bricks. Grill until the chicken skin is deeply charred and crispy in spots, 2 to 4 minutes. Remove the weighted items and the baking sheet and flip the chicken over (being careful to not tear the skin). Cook on the second side until well-browned and charred in spots, 2 to 4 minutes.

13. Rest and Serve

Remove the chicken legs from the grill and transfer to a large serving platter. Rest the chicken for 5 minutes. Scatter lime wedges around the chicken and garnish with the reserved cilantroh leaves. Serve immediately.
© 2013 - 2022 Anova Applied Electronics, Inc.