Few can resist the taste of smoked chicken. The combination of crispy chicken skin and smoky flavor is irresistible.
Yet, the time and effort needed to smoke a whole bird can be off-putting. That’s where chicken quarters come in, they are quick, easy, and delicious!
However some people struggle with the chicken coming out dry! So make sure you follow my steps below for succulent juicy chicken every time!
Table of contents
What You Need for Smoked Chicken Quarters
Chicken Leg Quarters
Light Brown Sugar
How to Smoke Chicken Quarters
1. Prepare The Smoker
Preheat the pellet grill to 275°F for 10-15 minutes.
Step 2: Season The Chicken
Take the chicken from the packaging and pat dry the chicken leg quarters with a paper towel. You want the skin to be completely dry before it goes on the pellet grill.
If using frozen pieces, thaw completely before grilling. Frozen meat will extend your cooking time and make it difficult to season beforehand.
Brush chicken quarters with oil, then coat with a generous layer of the rub, rub into all the crevices and under the skin. To get the best flavors, season with the chicken rub at least 5-8 hours before smoking.
3. Smoke The Chicken
Place the quarters onto the pellet smoker grill and smoke for 2-3 hours.
When a meat thermometer reads an internal temperature to reach 165°F the chicken is ready. Remove from the grill and serve immediately.
Should You Brine the Chicken?
You can brine your chicken however in this recipe I don’t do it. Brining helps lock in the moisture in meat that has very little fat content. It also enhances the natural flavors of the chicken.
The salt will give you a juicier, flavorful chicken quarter. And give lovely crispy skin when smoked. To brine your chicken though is an individual decision, so give it a try both ways and see which you prefer.
Wet brining helps with tenderizing the chicken It involves soaking the meat pieces in a table or kosher salt, brown sugar, and water mixture.
Thoroughly mix the ingredients in a container with a sealable lid. Submerge the chicken pieces and seal. Refrigerate for several hours, or overnight in the refrigerator.
Don’t leave for more than 24 hours, as the meat will be too salty tasting. Rinse off when done, and you’re ready for the next step.
Dry brining is another alternative and skips all the mess of huge amounts of brine mixture to get rid of. Coat the entire chicken with a salt and pepper mix. Place in the refrigerator overnight, on a baking sheet.
The skin should look dry and powdery, which means it’s soaked into the meat and drawn the moisture with it. This will give nice crispy skin and lock in the internal juices.
What Wood Goes Well With Chicken?
The fruity flavors are the best for chicken recipes. Flavors like apple, cherry, or pecan are perfect as they give a light smoky flavor.
Smoking Temperatures and Times For Chicken Quarters
When the internal temperature has reached 165°F, the chicken quarters are ready. The approximate cooking time is 2-3 hours, but it’s always best to watch after the first hour of smoke time.
The cook time will vary depending on the size and thickness of the chicken pieces. Chicken quarters are also best cooked in indirect heat at low temperatures.
How To Know When The Chicken Quarters Are Ready?
When the internal temperature has reached 165°F, the chicken quarters are ready. The internal temperature is a more effective way of checking when the chicken is ready to eat.
Probe the thickest flesh, taking care not to come in contact with any bone.
What to Serve With Smoked Chicken?
Chicken is so versatile and goes with all sorts of sides.
However, I have made it easy for you and narrowed it down to 5 f my favorite sides.
Smoked Chicken Quarters
- Pit Boss Grill
- 10 pounds of chicken leg quarters
- 1 tbsp light brown sugar
- 1 tbsp chipotle powder
- 1 tbsp onion powder
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 1 tbsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 1/2 tbsp black pepper
- Preheat the pellet grill to 275°F for 10-15 minutes.
- Mix all the seasoning ingredients. Brush chicken quarters with oil, then coat with a generous layer of the seasoning mix.
- Place the quarters onto the pellet smoker grill.
- Smoke for 2-3 hours.
- When a meat thermometer reads an internal temperature to reach 165°F the chicken is ready.
- Remove from the grill and serve immediately.
Author: Charlie Reeves
Hi, I’m Charlie, I am head taste tester at Simply Meat Smoking! I love it grilling, smoking, and getting out in the yard with the kids! The family also love to test all my recipes (especially my EXTRA CRISPY pulled pork, smoky pork loin, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill)
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 adventures with you!
You can read more on our About Us page.
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