Smoked Chicken Quarters (Pellet Smoker Recipe) + Video

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Smoked Chicken Quarters are juicy and tender on the inside with crispy skin on the outside. The results are out of this world, and everyone will be fighting over the last piece. Make this easy smoker recipe using any type of smoker!

smoked chicken quarters


This easy chicken recipe shows how simple it is to smoke a cut of chicken! You can easily have juicy chicken quarters for the whole family to enjoy and eat as a main course.

I love the sweet-smoke flavor of this chicken leg quarters recipe – and I think you’ll be hooked after the first time as well. 

This great recipe is the only way that I want to enjoy chicken quarters, and the smoke time really brings out the flavor!

If you want to add a lot of flavor, change up the seasonings for the best results.

You can add chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, your favorite BBQ sauce, cayenne pepper, kosher salt and black pepper, and any seasoning mix or spice rub that you want. 

Seasoned chicken quarters are good choices for dinner and give you so many options to pair your favorite side dishes.

You can enjoy dark meat and white meat with a lighter smoke flavor and use this recipe as the best way to make smoked meat! Get started on this chicken quarters recipe – it’s so simple! 


Smoked Chicken Quarters

Cooking chicken in your smoker is such an easy thing to do. I am really enjoying using my smoker more this summer.

The final result is a delicious smoky flavor that just cannot be matched with any other method!

If you’re new to smoking, you’re in luck — this helpful post will teach you:

  • how long to smoke chicken quarters at different temperatures 
  • how to be sure your smoked chicken leg quarters are cooked through 
  • the best wood chips for smoking chicken leg quarters

Have you had a chance to try any of my other smoker recipes? These smoked baked beans with bacon are the perfect side dish and can be made with any smoker.


Watch the video in the recipe card at the bottom of this post to see how easy it is to smoke chicken quarters!

If you want more grilling recipes for your chicken, you might want to try my Garlic Beer Grilled Chicken. It uses a simple marinade with fresh ingredients.

Or, this Grilled Margarita Chicken has a fantastic flavor with subtle hints of sweetness and a little kick from the jalapeno.


Tips for Smoking Chicken Leg Quarters

  • Get under the skin. It’s important to really work the dry rub into the surface of the poultry and get it under the skin whenever possible. 

    This ensures the best flavor and guarantees that the spices won’t fall off when the meat is transferred to the smoker.
  • Sear before smoking. For even more flavor, sear the poultry in butter before you place them in the smoker. 

    The final result will be richer and will result in a darker color.
  • Let meat rest. Always let the chicken rest for at least 5 minutes when you remove it from the smoker. This lets the juices settle back into the meat.

    Remember that the internal temperature will continue to rise as the smoked chicken leg quarters rest, so you can remove them when the internal temperature reaches 162°F.

Serving Suggestions

My Ranch Mashed Potato Salad is the perfect easy summer side dish, making it the perfect pairing for these smoked chicken quarters.

Or, my Southern Style Macaroni Salad is a rich and creamy summer salad that tastes like home to me.

Craving some veggies? 

You’ll love these Garlic Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Rosemary Roasted Onions. Or, smoke Corn on the Cob at the same time as the chicken!


How Long to Smoke Chicken Quarters

The length of time it takes to cook the chicken pieces will depend on the temperature your smoker is set to.

  • At 225°F degrees, you should smoke chicken quarters for four hours.
  • If smoking at 275°F, you will need to cook your chicken for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
  • At 300°F, you should smoke the chicken leg quarters for one hour and 45 minutes.
smoked chicken quarter and corn on the cob on a plate

How to Check Internal Temp of Chicken Pieces

To check the internal temperature of smoked chicken quarters, put the tip of the thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken.

But, be sure that the thermometer probe doesn’t touch the bone! 

Then, look at the display to see the lowest number that it reads. That number is the internal temperature of your chicken.

The USDA recommends an internal temperature of 165°F for all chicken and poultry to be done.

However, for extra tender fall-off-the-bone smoked chicken leg quarters, let them cook until the internal temperature reaches 180°-190°F. 

It’s definitely worth a few extra minutes for the end result!

Smoked Chicken Leg Quarters FAQ

What type of wood chips are best for smoked chicken?

The type of wood chips you use will contribute to the flavor of your smoked chicken quarters. It’s important to keep that in mind when making your choice.

Fruit wood: Using apple, cherry or peach will give your chicken a slightly sweet, fruity taste.
Maple: Results in a mild, sweet flavor that’s popular as well.
Hickory: The traditional choice for a true Southern barbecue taste.
Mesquite: Imparts a strong, smoky flavor to any smoked meats.

My personal preference is to use a more subtle wood — like apple — when I smoke chicken quarters. Experiment to see which flavor is your favorite!

Is it necessary to marinate chicken before smoking? 

No, you don’t need to marinate when smoking chicken leg quarters.    Instead of using a wet marinade, we use a dry seasoning rub that’s worked into the skin. The result is a smoky, sweet flavor that is absolutely delicious. If you would prefer to use a wet marinade, you can. Just place the chicken in a dish, add your favorite marinade, and cover it with plastic wrap.   Let the whole thing sit overnight in the refrigerator before smoking.


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close up: smoked chicken on plate with corn on the cob

smoked chicken quarters on plate with corn

Smoked Chicken Quarters (Pellet Smoker Recipe) + Video

Donna Elick
Smoked Chicken Quarters are juicy and tender on the inside with crispy skin on the outside. Make this smoker recipe using any type of smoker!
5 stars from 2 reviews
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 2 minutes
Course Main
Cuisine American
Method Smoker
Servings 6


  • 10 pounds chicken leg quarters
  • 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar, aka course
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper


  • Preheat the smoker to 275°F. Pat the chicken leg quarters down with paper towels to get any excess liquid off, lay them out on a sheet tray or work surface.
  • In a small bowl mix together the chipotle powder, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, coarse sugar, brown sugar, paprika, chili powder, and pepper. Generously rub the chicken leg quarters with the spice mix, try to get under the skin if you can.
  • Place the leg quarters directly onto the smoker grates. Smoke for 2-3 hours. Chicken is ready when an internal temperature reaches 165°F. However, for extra tender fall off the bone chicken quarters, let them cook until an internal temperature reaches 180°-190°F


Donna’s Notes

At 225°F degrees, you should smoke the chicken leg quarters for four hours.
If smoking at 275°F, you will need to cook your chicken for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
At 300°F, you should smoke the chicken leg quarters for one hour and 45 minutes.


Serving: 1 | Calories: 1446cal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 105g | Fat: 107g | Saturated Fat: 29g | Cholesterol: 630mg | Sodium: 1690mg | Sugar: 6g | Fiber: 1g | Calcium: 68mg | Iron: 5mg

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
titled image (and shown): smoked chicken quarters

Originally published August 2020, updated and republished June 2024

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