Best-ever Roast Chicken Legs

This is hands-down, the best chicken recipe in my arsenal. It uses a technique made famous by Thomas Keller: cooking the chicken at a very high heat. It requires zero skill and very little prep time.
  1. Start with two skin-on, bone in whole chicken legs.
    This super-inexpensive cut of chicken is the thigh and the drumstick, left intact. It's my go-to meat purchase. Not only is it cheap (usually $2-ish per pound), it's the juiciest, most flavorful part of the bird. One whole leg is usually more than enough for one person.
  2. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
    I know this seems high. Trust.
  3. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and set aside.
    This will make clean-up significantly easier.
  4. Use paper towels to carefully dry all sides of the chicken.
    This is an important step. It helps the chicken skin get as crispy as possible.
  5. Place 2-3 peeled garlic cloves under the skin of each chicken leg.
    They're going to caramelize during cooking. You're going to freak out about how good they taste.
  6. If desired, also place a pat of butter, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and/or fresh chopped herbs (I like parsley or rosemary) under the skin as well.
    Keller says these things aren't necessary and, while he's right, I've made the chicken without them, and I think they add a lot of good flavor, so I always include them.
  7. Place the chicken legs in the prepared pan and sprinkle salt all over the skin, adding a bit of pepper as well, to taste.
    Use kosher or coarse sea salt, and sprinkle from at least 8 inches above the meat, moving your hand back-and-forth until the salt is evenly distributed. For the pepper, you can just grind it right over the chicken.
  8. Roast the chicken for 40-45 minutes, until the skin becomes very crisp.
    It may look a little dry when you take it out of the oven, but don't worry--underneath the insanely crisp skin is mouthwateringly juicy, flavorful meat.
  9. Let rest for 5 minutes, then serve hot.
    Resting encourages the juices to distribute evenly, yielding juicier chicken. Serve it with a little bit of lemon if you have one around. The chicken is best served hot out of the oven, maybe with a roasted vegetable or salad alongside. It's also great served cold the next day, though the crispy skin won't really carry over. The juicy, amazingly flavorful meat, however, will.