Grilling season is coming! However, these grilled chicken leg quarters are so delicious, you will want to make them year round! Seasoned with a simple dry rub and basted with a sweet and spicy barbecue sauce that has just a touch of a smoky flavor.
Why this recipe is just so good....
- Juicy and flavorful - the chicken leg quarters combine the drumstick and thigh, which is all dark meat. Since there is more fat in them, the meat is moister than the white meat breast. It is also harder to dry out or overcook dark meat so that makes them more likely to be deliciously juicy!
- Versatile cooking methods - Given a choice, I will usually choose grilling most type of meat. And the leg quarters come out beautiful on the grill. But you can also bake or pan fry them as well. Some other grilled favorites are Lemon Pepper Pork Chops, Grilled Brats or Blackened Swordfish.
- Hearty portions - Each serving is for two pieces of chicken. If you won't eat both pieces together, you can easily separate them. I watched this video on how to easily cut the leg quarters into a drumstick and thigh.
You will need the following ingredients to make these tasty grilled chicken quarters:
Chicken leg quarters (drumstick and thigh), salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika for the spice rub.
For the barbecue sauce you will need:
- apple cider vinegar
- brown sugar
- garlic powder
- minced onion
- Worcestershire sauce
- chili sauce
- Vinegar: you can use white vinegar, white or red wine vinegar. If you use balsamic vinegar, add an extra few teaspoons of sugar to compliment the tangy vinegar flavor.
- Chili sauce: to add the spicy flavor, you can use cayenne or red pepper flakes instead.
- Optional: add a few dashes of liquid smoke. And of course you can use your favorite bbq sauce instead of homemade.
Make it Low Carb
- You can use a brown sugar substitute as I am doing for this recipe. Or use a white sugar substitute.
- I am using a sugar free ketchup.
How to make Grilled Chicken Leg Quarters
Pat dry the chicken with paper towels. Mix seasonings together and run under and over the skin. Let the chicken quarters sit on plate reaching room temperature while you make the barbecue sauce.
Combine all ingredients for the sauce in a small pan over medium heat on stovetop. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes.
Heat outdoor gas grill to medium-high heat. Place chicken skin side down over hot grill and let sear to golden brown about 2 minutes. Flip over and grill another 2 minutes.
Move the chicken to the upper rack for indirect heat. If you don't have an upper rack, lower the high heat to low-medium flame. Begin basting the chicken with the barbecue sauce, flipping over to baste the other side. Close the lid while it grills.
If the grill begins to have any flame flare ups, lower the heat.
Continue basting every 5-10 minutes while the chicken cooks. Test the chicken pieces after about 30 minutes. Insert the instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the meat. It is done if internal temperature registers 165°F. If chicken is not done cooking, baste more, close lid and let cook until done.
By starting out on a higher flame, you will sear the skin and get it a nice golden brown. You are not moving it around, just let it cook for about 5 minutes at the higher heat. Then lowering the flame for the rest of the cooking time will allow the chicken to remain juicy and to cook through without getting charred or burnt.
Yes, although you won't get that full smoky flavor from the grill, you can cook them in the oven.
Place leg quarters on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil (easier clean up). Baste with the barbecue sauce and cook in a 400°F oven.
Baste again after 15 minutes. Cook until the chicken registers 165°F.
- Make sure to pat the chicken quarters dry with paper towel to allow the dry rub seasonings to stick onto the skin.
- If you are looking to lower the fat and calories in this recipe, you can remove the skin from the leg quarters. However, I think that could be sacrificing the juicy flavor, but the recipe would work the same as with the skin on.
- To avoid the chicken skin sticking to the grill, use a paper towel with some oil on it to wipe the grill grates before turning on the flame.
Storage and Reheating
- To store leftover chicken, make sure it is completely cooled to room temperature.
- If you plan on eating the leg quarters whole, store them in an airtight container or on a plate covered with plastic wrap.
- Or you can remove the meat from the bones and store that in the refrigerator to use in salads, tacos or sandwiches. Use up leftover chicken within 3 days.
- You can freeze the chicken quarters whole or just the meat off the bone. I use glass storage containers that seal really well. Use within 3 months.
- Defrost the chicken in the refrigerator overnight or in your microwave on the defrost setting. Reheat in the microwave, oven or on the stovetop until the chicken is 165°F.
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Grilling season is coming! Although these grilled chicken leg quarters are so delicious, you will want to make them year round! Seasoned with a simple dry rub and basted with a sweet and spicy barbecue sauce that has just a touch of a smoky flavor.
- 4 chicken leg quarters
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
- ¼ cup vinegar *
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar *
- ½ cup ketchup *
- 1 tablespoon dried minced onion
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon Sriracha, chili pepper sauce or ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes * optional
- ½ teaspoon liquid smoke *optional
- Stir the dry rub ingredients together. Gently pull back some of the skin of the leg quarters and rub the spices onto the meat. Then rub onto the outside of the skin. Let the chicken sit at room temperature while you are making the barbecue sauce.
- In a small saucepan, pour in the oil, vinegar, sugar, ketchup, onion, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, red pepper flakes and liquid smoke, if using. Taste for sweetness, spiciness and flavor.*
- Heat sauce over low-medium flame. Bring to a simmer, stir as it thickens. Let it simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Wipe the grill grates with a paper towel lightly dabbed with oil to help prevent sticking.
- Heat outdoor grill to medium-high heat. Place leg quarters over hot grill and let sear to golden brown about 2 minutes. Flip over and grill another 2 minutes.
- Move the chicken to the upper rack or lower the high heat to low-medium flame. Begin basting the chicken with the barbecue sauce, flipping over to baste the other side. Close the lid while it grills.
- Continue basting every 5-10 minutes while the chicken cooks. Test the leg quarters after about 30 minutes. Insert the meat thermometer into the thickest part. It is done if internal temperature registers 165°F. If chicken is not done cooking, baste more, close lid and let cook until done.
*You can use red wine, apple cider, white wine vinegar.
*For lower sugar, use a substitute such as Monkfruit, Allulose or Swerve.
* Red pepper is optional if you find it too spicy.
*I used a sugar free ketchup for this recipe, you can use regular ketchup if you prefer.
*If you want more tanginess, add a little more vinegar and/or ketchup. Add more spices if desired.
Keywords: Barbecue, grill, chicken legs, chicken thighs, chicken leg quarters