A chicken quarter (thigh and drumstick) is one of the most delicious—and economical—pieces of poultry this side of the coop. Considered the chicken’s “dark” meat, quarters tend to be juicier and more flavorful than the “white” meat (breast and wing). Because of its slightly higher fat content, quarters also perfectly lend themselves to smoking or grilling. And because quarters are typically much cheaper than other cuts, they make an economical choice when feeding the family. But most of all, quarters are damn delicious.
Let’s get smoking. Of course, if you’re looking for more backyard grilling recipes from Outsider, check out our Best Damn Brisket, Spicy Spatchcock Chicken, Beef Short Ribs, Classic Cornbread, Reverse-Seared Pork Chops, Skillet S’mores, or Blackened Salmon.
Smoked Chicken Quarters Ingredients
- 4 chicken quarters (about 4 pounds)
- 4 oz. Italian salad dressing
- 8 tbsp. BBQ sweet dry rub (we’re using Blackberry Farm’s BBQ Rub)
First, buy organic chicken quarters. Each quarter will typically weigh about 1 pound.
Coat both sides of each quarter with Italian salad dressing (or marinate the chicken in Italian dressing overnight). Liberally sprinkle both sides of each quarter with the BBQ sweet dry rub. Feel fee to use lemon-pepper, Cajun, or a spicy dry rub instead of the sweet dry rub, which typically contains brown sugar and makes a great rub for 3-hour smokes because it browns beautifully.
- Lump charcoal
- Pecan wood chips
- Fireproof gloves
- Foil pan
Today, we’re using a Big Green Egg, but you can use any smoker, offset grill, or indirect grill. Fill the Green Egg with lump charcoal and ignite. Wait for the Egg to get up to 500-600 degrees (usually takes about 20 minutes). Place a metal/foil pan directly on the charcoal (you’ll need fireproof gloves for this), filled with two cups of water and a couple handfuls of wood chips (I love pecan for chicken). Add a couple more handfuls of wood chips directly on the charcoal. Now you’re smoking!
Place the convEGGtor (indirect convection shield) on the Egg. Add the grate. Place the chicken on the grate (skin-side down). Close the lid. Set temperature to 250 degrees. A fluctuation between 240-260 degrees is normal. Flip the chicken after 1 hour.
Cook the chicken for about 2 to 3 hours (total), until the internal temperature reaches 180 degrees. The skin should be crispy at this point. You can crank the Egg up to 300-350 degrees for the last 5-10 minutes to increase the crispiness.
Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before cutting/serving.
These quarters took 2.5 hours.
3 Step Smoked Chicken Quarters
- Buy 4 chicken quarters (preferably organic).
- Coat each side with Italian salad dressing and BBQ sweet dry rub.
- Smoke in Big Green Egg (or another smoker) at 250 degrees until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 180 degrees (about 2.5 hours).