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Hot Legs

chicken leg quarters sweet chili sauce rod stewart
“Who’s that knockin’ on my door?”

Theme song by Rod Stewart “Hot Legs” from Foot Loose & Fancy Free
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This is yet another recipe that, in today’s woke era, has a lyrically questionable inspiration. Like the Burrito Suave and Bean Enchilada recipes, it’s a song from a time when, for better or worse, our culture had far fewer filters. I wish I could simply blame it on the stupidity of the ’70s, but “Rico Suave” was a ’90s “hit”. Sadly,  from what I’ve heard booming out of car stereos in my neighborhood, music still has a long way to go.

I am a major ’60s/early ’70s era Rod Stewart fan. The Faces are one of my favorite bands. His early ’70s solo work is a  folky bluey pop better than most of the cast-off releases of the time. Then came Foot Loose & Fancy Free. Maybe it was a mid-life crisis. Maybe it was label pressure. Maybe it was simply the stupidity of 1977. Whatever the case, Rod lost me as a fan until he decided to sing his age with the Songbook series. Despite the lyrical crassness of this single, it is, in fact, a perfect name for this dish.

I have two basic methods for cooking chicken: oven-baked in a cast-iron skillet or on a charcoal grill. This recipe was done in the oven, but there is very little difference when cooking this on a grill. Set up a two-zone fire and bring the grill up to 400°F. Start by searing the legs on the hot side, then transfer to the cool for the remainder of the cook. Finish with the glaze just as in the recipe below.

The spice mix for this dish is a variation on my Buffalo Spice mix. It brings just enough heat to the cook without being overpowering. I could have gone with some store-bought Sweet Chili Sauce but had been experimenting with making my own so I used that. I like the idea of being able to control the balance of heat to sweet as most commercial sauces are too sugary.

While I don’t consider this wicked spicy, I do like to pair it with a cooling side dish. An apple fennel slaw is what I usually serve, but a nice potato salad or even garden salad with a citrus dressing would go great. Make sure to bring plenty of napkins and maybe wet naps. This is sticky as hell.

Chicken leg quarters, Hot Leg spice, & sweet chili sauce
Makes 2 legs


Makes 2 legs

2 bone-in skin-on chicken leg quarters
1 tablespoon butter
Hot Leg Spice (see recipe below)
1/2 cup of Sweet Chili Sauce (see recipe below)
Cast iron pan (or oven proof pan)

Pre-heat oven to 450°F

Liberally season all sides of chicken thighs with the spice and set aside

Melt butter in a pan. Once butter is melted & foaming, add chicken – skin side down – and cook until browned – about 5 minutes. Flip chicken and brown for another 3 minutes.

Put the pan in the oven and cook for 25 minutes or until a thermometer reads 150°F.

When the chicken reaches 150°F, coat each leg in the sweet chili sauce and place back into the oven for the sauce to caramelize, another 6 minutes or until internal temperature is 160°F.

Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

4 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl and mix thoroughly. Store any leftovers in an airtight container.

Makes about 1 pint

1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
3/4 cup water
4 ounces of white sugar
5 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon soy sauce
3 ounces of Sambal Oelek
4 teaspoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons water

Add the vinegar, water, sugar, garlic, and soy sauce to a non-stick pan.

Heat over medium heat,  while stirring, to dissolve the sugar. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil. Let simmer for 2 minutes.

Add the sambal oelek and stir to combine thoroughly. Let it cook for 5 minutes on medium-low heat until slightly thickened.

Mix the cornstarch and water into a smooth slurry and add it to the sauce.

While stirring often to prevent burning, simmer the sauce for another 5-8 minutes until it reaches your desired thickness. Bear in mind this sauce will thicken as it cools. If it gets too thick, add a little water to thin it out.

Once cooled, pour into an airtight bottle or jar and store in the refrigerator


Posted in bushwick, comfort food, cooking, food, foodmusic, grilling, music, musicfood, recipe

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