Smoked Chicken Quarters + Video
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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!
Smoked Chicken Quarters
Cooking smoked chicken leg quarters 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 smoked flavor that just cannot be beaten.
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!
Smoked Chicken Recipe Tips
For even more flavor, sear the chicken leg quarters in butter before you place them in the smoker. The final result will be richer and will result in a darker color.
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. The result is tender, juicy chicken. Remember that the internal temperature will continue to rise as the meat rests, so you can remove it from the smoker when the internal temperature reaches 162°F.
Perfect serving suggestions for these smoked chicken quarters include my Ranch Mashed Potato Salad which is the perfect easy summer side dish.
Or, my Best Ever Southern Style Potato Salad is a rich and creamy summer salad that tastes like home to me.
And, these Garlic Roasted Brussels Sprouts are one of my favorite ways to enjoy Brussels sprouts.
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.
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How to measure internal temperature 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 chicken 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 Quarters FAQ
How long does it take to smoke chicken leg quarters?
The length of time it takes to make this smoked chicken recipe will depend on the temperature your smoker is set to.
- 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.
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.
Using a fruit wood like apple, cherry or peach will give your chicken a slightly sweet, fruity taste.
For a true southern barbecue taste, opt for hickory which is traditional for smoking. Or, maple results in a mild, sweet flavor that’s popular as well.
Finally, if you enjoy a strong, smoky flavor when you smoke meats, you can use mesquite. Using mesquite will result in the strongest flavor when smoking.
My personal preference is to use a more subtle wood like apple when smoking chicken. Experiment to see which flavor is your favorite.
Is it necessary to marinate chicken?
No, you don’t need to marinate chicken for our smoked chicken quarters recipe. Instead of using a wet marinade, we use a dry seasoning rub that works into the skin. The result is a smoky, sweet flavor that is absolutely delicious.
If you would prefer to use a wet marinade instead of using a dry rub, that works. 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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Smoked Chicken Quarters + Video
- 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
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.
Originally published August 2020
Disclosure: Posts may contain affiliate links. If you purchase a product through an affiliate link your price will remain the same and The Slow Roasted Italian will automatically receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting us, it helps us keep creating new recipes.
Is this able to be done in the oven? I don't own a smoker
Yes but no smoke flavor
Can this be done on a grill instead of a smoker?
Do you really need to sear them in butter first?
can you cook in overn
Do you sear them in butter before or after applying the rub?
My husband LOVED this so much that I had to go out an buy more chicken!