More About Cooking Our Dark Meat

Cooking tips to make sure your dark meat turns out great

Posted on Nov 28, 2015 by Jack McCann
Tags: cooking tips member news newsletter handbook

I recently had a subscriber ask about cooking our dark meat (legs, wings and thighs).  It seemed like a good idea to pass along what I shared with her with the rest of you.  

Our chicken can be a bit harder to get "right". People are so used to cooking with six week old chickens like the kind you find in the store and most farmers' markets. That chicken will pretty much always be mushy / tender no matter what you do with it. 

However, birds that are older and allowed to actually use their legs and wings will tend to be more of a challenge to get the texture just right.

Chicken that is given the time to fully develop will always be firmer, but I think that the dark meat is actually the best part, so here are some tips:

With wings and drumsticks: always slow cook them.


I recommend cooking wings in a crockpot with a sauce for 6-8 hours before broiling or grilling to crisp up. Letting them dry in a fridge for the night before will help crisp up the skin (leave them on a rack in the fridge).  Here is a recipe for our delicious buffalo wings...


Drumsticks are fantastic if cooked as a 'confit' ... there is a chicken confit recipe in our cookbook that I'd highly recommend. Often, I personally make it sous vide with less fat. You'll need a sous vide machine, but they are really useful for other things too. 

Another easy recipe for dark meat is our famous lemon-butter chicken.

Drumsticks can also be cooked in the crockpot and then grilled/broiled like described for the wings or slow-cooked to make amazing soups or taco meat, etc. Our chicken quinoa recipe is also fantastic for any crockpot cooked chicken or the chicken taco recipe is quick and easy. 


For thighs, I generally am able to just put them on the grill and get a great result. They make great confit and any other slow cooked method. However, if you cook them in the oven or grill, they will be tough if under or overcooked. I generally shoot for 180 degrees on the thighs and then let them rest covered for 5-10 min before serving. 

Check our other chicken recipes.  We're always adding more.

Cooking slow-growth pasture-raised dark meat can have a bit of a learning curve, but the payoff is amazing!

What do you  think?

In the comments below, let us know how it's gone for you. What method did you use to cook them? What temps did you aim for? Any other tips for our readers?

(Even if you haven't cooked TC Farm chicken, any slow-growth, pasture raised chicken is fair game for the comment section!!)

Comments (2)

  1. Jenny Henkemeyer:
    Nov 30, 2015 at 10:00 PM

    I cooked some of the True Cost chicken thighs for dinner tonight. They were delicious! I seasoned with salt, pepper, and thyme, and then pan-friend them with some butter for about 3 to 5 minutes on each side, then baked at 375 for about 20 or 25 minutes. I made a sauce with the chicken fat, a little coconut milk, and some sherry. Served over rice. It was super yummy!

  2. Jack McCann:
    Dec 01, 2015 at 07:20 PM

    Love the idea of a coconut milk / sherry sauce --- I rarely have baked chicken cuts like that, but I gather that pretty much everyone else does all the time! So I am glad to get some tips like that up here since I don't have as much experience cooking thighs that way. Thanks!!

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