Come the summer time when many of us like to cook out on the grill, a record number of chickens are the entrée de jour. One estimate puts the average number of chickens killed each day in the US at 23 million. Another estimate for 2007 was that Americans are now eating about 90 pounds of chicken meat per year against 37 pounds forty years ago or 1967. Any way you cut it, that’s one hell of a lot of chickens and then by association, a large number of chicken legs that end up on the grill. So, you chickens out there, watch out! Someone’s coming for you and he has a knife!
Now assuming that the average leg is about 225 grams with the bone removed (if you eat the bones then this article isn’t for you anyway), the nutritional information is as follows;
Sodium 91.0 mg
Cholesterol 105.0 mg
Saturated Fat 4.5 grams
The good news is that there are no carbs in meat. So, if you’re dieting or a diabetic, this will not spike the old glycemic load. But, I got to wondering just how good that figure of 275 gram per leg actually was? And what about the BBQ sauce? Isn’t that full of sugar too? So, I decided to take a standard package of nine chicken legs from Tyson to see what kind of average weight each leg was.
I began by weighing the chicken prior to cooking. I came up with 1120 grams (2.48 lbs) for the nine pieces or 124 grams each on average with the bone in place. After cooking the chicken, the average weight had shrunk to 72 grams per leg. After eating the chicken, I carefully weighed the bones that were left and averaged them out to 19 grams. So the meat consumed was about 53 grams.
Now for the BBQ sauce. For this article I used Hunt’s Hickory Barbecue Sauce. I calculated I actually used a maximum of 3-4 grams of sauce per leg and that’s stretching credibility some. (The label indicates a standard serving to be two tablespoons! Don’t think so. Can you imagine slathering 2 tablespoons of any sauce on a chicken leg)? Using this information I have come up with the following average per leg:
Sodium 51.2 mg
Cholesterol 24.4 mg
Sat Fat 2.0 mg
The bottom line seems to indicate that sometimes you just can’t believe everything you read. I think chicken, when eaten in moderation, can be a successful part of any diet.