What Are Chicken Quarters? (+ The Tastiest Ways to Cook Them)

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Chicken quarters are one of the best cuts on a chicken. We love how tasty, cheap and flavorful they are. But what exactly are chicken quarters? We’re here to break down and answer all your questions about this piece of chicken. 

Have a read of the guide below to find out everything there is to know about chicken quarters. 

What Are Chicken Quarters?

A chicken quarter is the whole chicken leg.This is made up of a thigh and a drumstick that’s connected by connective tissues. 

Are Chicken Quarters White Meat or Dark Meat?

The cuts of a chicken come in two different forms; white meat and dark meat. Chicken quarters are dark meat as they have more connective tissue. 

What Is the Difference Between Chicken Quarters and Chicken Thighs?

Chicken quarters are the whole leg and consist of several different parts. Chicken thighs come from a part of the whole leg (specifically the upper portion). Chicken leg quarters are also cheaper than thighs. One of my favorite ways to cook chicken thighs is smoking then and then adding a glaze to ensure they stay moist and flavorful.

Are Chicken Quarters Healthy?

While breast chicken has less saturated fat, the chicken quarters are full of nutrients like zinc and iron. 

Chicken skin will keep the meat moist but does have fat in it. So if you want to make the chicken quarters healthier keep it on and remove it after cooking. 

If you love crispy skin on your chicken make sure you follow my resource on getting crispy skin-on chicken.

Are Chicken Quarters Cheap?

Chicken quarters are some of the most affordable meat available. 

Where Can I Buy Chicken Quarters?

One of the best parts about chicken quarters is that they’re easily available all year round. You’ll find them in supermarkets, online and of course your local butcher. 

We recommend heading to the butcher for the freshest meat and probably the best prices. 

Can I Cook Chicken With Other Types of Meat?

Yes you can cook chicken with ribs, brisket or any other type of meat. However you need to be mindful of the placement of the meat. You don’t juice from the raw meat dripping onto other meat.

So you should also place chicken at the bottom of the smoker if your using a vertical smoker.

How Do I Cook Chicken Quarters?

For most chicken quarters that you buy, they will be ready to cook. There are several options when it comes to cooking the quarters. 

We’ve listed some methods below so that you can find what works for you. 


This is not so much a method, but a step that everyone will need to take. Seasoning is a vital part of the cooking process and goes a long way with chicken quarter legs. 

Depending upon your cooking method you can cook the quarters whole or separate them into smaller parts. 


Baking is the most popular method of cooking chicken quarters. Baked chicken leg quarters will give you crispy skin and flavorful meat.

A simple seasoning of Kosher salt and black pepper works well for baking. 


Roasting quarters is similar to baking except the oven temperature is higher. Be careful if you’re using large herbs for seasoning your roasted chicken. 

At a higher temperature, these herbs will burn and affect the taste of your meat. 


Boiling is another great option for using chicken quarters. We recommend using a crockpot and then making a stew out of the meat. 

This is a much slower method than baking but will give the chicken extra flavor. 


For a smokey flavor, try this method alongside a BBQ chicken rub. Smoking chicken can take roughly 3-4 hours depending on your smoker. 

If you’re new to smoking chicken, this is a beginner-friendly approach to start with. 

Recipe: Leg Quarters on Pit Boss.


Like smoking, grilled chicken is a simple method with fantastic results. It is also much quicker than smoking and will take around 45-60 minutes to cook. 

Grab your seasoning of choice and douse your meat in it, to get an especially juicy chicken. 

Clean Up

When handling raw chicken, be sure to wash your hands and kitchen surfaces afterwards. Food poisoning and cross-contamination are common with chicken. 

Always check the best before date of the meat and make sure it’s cooked thoroughly. 

How Long Should I Cook Chicken Quarters For?

Chicken leg and thigh meat is still safe at 165°F, but it is recommended to cook it to an internal temperature of about 170-175°F (77-79°C) Generally, chicken quarters won’t take as long to cook as an entire chicken. 

However, because they are a smaller piece of meat they’re also more likely to become dry and tasteless. 

How Do I Know When the Quarters Are Cooked?

A good sign is that the meat will no longer be pink (but hopefully a golden brown color). Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the quarters. Chicken leg and thigh meat is still safe at 165°F, but it is recommended to cook it to an internal temperature of about 170-175°F (77-79°C)

How Should I Eat Chicken Quarters?

There are a couple of options, but ultimately, it’s up to you. Many people will use their hands to pull the meat away from the chicken drumstick. 

Others will use cutlery to remove the thigh from the bones. 

What Do Chicken Quarters Taste Like?

Chicken quarters have a rich and juicy flavor that is much stronger compared to white meat.Chicken quarters are also great at retaining the spices and seasoning.

This means that when you eat it you will get a huge flavor hit. 

What Are Some Side Dishes That Go With Chicken Quarters?

Looking for some dishes to compliment your tasty chicken? Chicken quarters are incredibly versatile and go with a range of different foods. 

Have a look at the list below to find a side dish that will work for you. 

Side Dishes 

Ultimately the side dish you make will depend upon how you’re cooking your chicken!

Affordable, tasty and no fuss. Chicken quarters are one of the best cuts of chicken and a fantastic addition to your dinner.

There are plenty of ways to cook them, endless seasoning options and they make a perfect weeknight meal. If you’re after a dish that will tick all the boxes, give chicken quarters a try tonight!

Are chicken quarters one of your favorite cuts of meat?

Smoke On!


Hi, I’m Charlie, I have been meat-smoking and grilling for the past 15 years. I have an array of different smokers, thermometers, and have a love for finding the right wood and charcoal combo My favourite recipes are my EXTRA CRISPY smoked pork belly, juicy pulled pork, smoked brisket, duck poppers, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill).

I loves sharing his tips with beginners, helping them navigate the world of smoking. I find it’s not just about cooking; it’s a quest for that perfect smoky flavor.

You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling recipes with you!

You can read more about me on our About Us page.

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