Smoked Chicken Quarters
- chicken quarters
Recommended wood: Orange, Pecan
How to brine the chicken quarters (optional)
Use a 1 gallon container like a tea pitcher and fill it full of water.. spring or filtered water is best. Add 1 cup of coarse kosher salt to the water and stir until the water returns to clear. This means the salt has completely dissolved.
Add 3/4 cups brown sugar and once again, stir until the sugar is dissolved.
I added 1/2 cup of worcestershire sauce to the mixture for some really great flavor.
You could also add hot sauce, honey, molasses, etc. just use your imagination. The only thing to watch for is if you add a sauce or ingredient that has lots of sodium such as soy sauce. I generally use the low sodium kind for my brine or you can reduce the salt in the brine by about a TBS if you know you are adding salty ingredients later.
Once you get the brine mixture combined and you are through adding ingredients, place the chicken quarters in a single layer into a plastic/glass container just large enough to hold the quantity of meat that you have. For best results use a container that has a tight fitting lid.
Pour the brine mixture over the chicken quarters until the chicken is completely covered, snap on the lid and place the container in the fridge for about 1 hour per pound of meat.
My 5 chicken quarters were just under 3 lbs so I let them go 3 hours
Once the chicken quarters are finished brining, rinse them lightly under cold water to remove any excess salt and pat them dry with a paper towel.
Seasoning up the chicken quarters
As most of you know, my rub is extremely versatile as well as tasty and it goes really well on chicken.
If you really want to do something wonderful for the chicken, mix a TBS of my rub with a stick of melted butter and inject it under the skin to really get the flavor where it will do some good.
You can also just keep it simple and just rub a little canola oil on the outside of the chicken skin and massage in about a TSP of rub per chicken quarter. At any rate, it adds some really great flavor as well as color and texture to the chicken.
How to smoke the chicken quarters
Prepare the smoker for cooking at 250-275 degrees. As with breasts, the quarters do NOT benefit from the low and slow mantra that we all pride ourselves on in terms of tenderness. The only reason for cooking chicken at a low temperature is to give it more time in the smoke directly resulting in more flavor.
At 275 degrees F, the chicken quarters will take about 1 hour
This is plenty of time for the smoke to do some magic. I sometimes cook them lower and
slower but I was pushed for time in the preparation of this newsletter.
Place the chicken quarters directly on the grate for best results.
Use a digital probe meat thermometer to test the temperature in the thickest part of one of the pieces.
The chicken is done when it registers 165 degrees F.
How to serve chicken quarters
Chicken quarters are usually served one per person. I recommend having a little of my sauce, warmed and on the side for those who like to dip. My favorite side item with these quarters are smoked sweet potatoes with butter and brown sugar