Smoked Chicken Quarter Recipe
Having a good smoked chicken quarter recipe is good. Having the ultimate smoked chicken quarters recipe is better. It can also be a faster cook than the larger cuts such as smoked brisket or a boston butt.
Nothing smells quite like BBQ chicken. The biggest question for barbecued chicken has to do with the skin. Grilled chicken or smoked chicken at higher heat levels produces crisp skin. For chicken that is slow smoked at lower temperatures you should expect tender bite through skin.
Here’s a collection of smoked chicken quarter recipes for tender skin and also a faster hybrid smoke and grill combo for crisp skin. The great video above is a Chicken Quarter Recipe from the BBQ Pit Boys. Happy Q-ing!
Smoked & Grilled Chicken Quarters
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 1.5 hours
- Smoker Temp: 225-240°F
- Meat Finish Temp: 165°F
- Recommended Wood: Pecan or Cherry
What You’ll Need
- 4-6 Chicken quarters
- Olive oil
- Jeff’s original rub (purchase recipes here)
- Jeff’s barbecue sauce (purchase recipes here)
Brine for Great Flavor and Juiciness
This step is optional but highly recommended.
Without getting technical, when you soak poultry in a brine solution it:
- Draws slightly salty water into the chicken causing it to end up more juicy
- The saltiness of the water makes the inside of the chicken taste as if it was perfectly seasoned
Basic Brine Recipe
- 1 gallon of water
- 1 cup of salt
- ¾ cup of brown sugar (optional but recommended)
Add the salt to the water and stir until dissolved.
Add the brown sugar (if desired) and stir once again until it is dissolved.
This will give you a wonderful, all purpose brine that is great on almost any poultry.
I like to put the chicken quarters down into a large zip top bag and then pour the brine into the bag over the chicken to cover.
Brine in the refrigerator or in temperature of 33 to 39°F.
About 4 hours in the fridge is all you need.
When it’s done brining, give the chicken quarters a good rinse and you are ready to proceed.
Season the Chicken Quarters
My rub (purchase recipes here) works really well with brined chicken quarters since it is low on salt. Most rubs are very high in salt and that is not only unnecessary, it means you have to be really careful and use it very lightly in order to not make it end up too salty.
To help the rub to stick, I like to brush on some olive oil.
Make sure to get oil and rub up under the skin a little as well. I usually do this first then the outside.
Move the seasoned chicken quarters to a Bradley rack or similar device and it’s ready to go into the smoker.
Get the Smoker Ready
Setup your smoker for cooking at about 225-240°F. I prefer to keep it on the low side when I plan to finish them on the grill. This gives me a little more time in the smoke.
Once the smoker is ready, place the Bradley rack containing the chicken on the smoker grate. If you do not have these special racks or anything that will work in a similar fashion, just place the chicken directly on the grate. Leave about 1 inch between them to allow the smoke full access to the meat.
Smoke the Chicken
Leave the chicken quarters in the smoker using indirect heat for about 1 hour during which time it will reach about 140°F internally. This depends on the temperature of the meat when it goes into the smoker, how often you open the door, the actual temperature you maintain, etc.
Here is a picture of the chicken quarters after 1 hour in the smoker:
Be sure to use a thermometer such as the Maverick ET-733 to monitor the temperature of the chicken while it cooks in the smoker and grill.
Heat the grill to very high heat just before the chicken is finished smoking.
Watch it carefully to make sure it does not burn.
When the chicken quarters reach 165-170°F, they are finished cooking and are ready to eat. If you are cooking multiple pieces, do a final temperature check on every piece of chicken using a Thermapen to make sure it is at least 165°F in the thickest part and safe to serve to your guests.