Perfect Grilled Chicken Quarters

5 from 4 votes
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Make perfectly grilled chicken leg quarters with a simple spice rub and a few top tips. They’re perfectly charred, with crispy skin and tender, juicy meat!

Close up of grilled chicken quarter

Got the grill fired up and a large group of hungry guests to feed? Grilled chicken leg quarters are one of the least expensive yet super simple and delicious ways to feed a crowd. While I’ve already shared recipes for super juicy grilled bone-in chicken thighs and chicken drumsticks, chicken leg quarters combine both pieces of dark meat, which means double the deliciousness at a lower cost.

Best of all, cooking chicken quarters on the grill is so simple to do and get on your plate in under an hour, following just a few top tips for perfect results every time. They have crispy, charred skin, are packed with flavor thanks to a simple (yet versatile) spice rub, and have super tender, juicy, pull-part tender meat inside.

Grilled chicken quarter being removed from the grill

Grilled chicken quarters ingredients

  • Chicken quarters: Use bone-in, skin-on chicken leg quarters. These ‘whole chicken legs’ include the drumstick, thigh, and a portion of the back attached.
  • Oil: Use your favorite high-heat cooking oil.
  • Garlic: Garlic powder or fresh garlic.
  • Paprika: Sweet or smoked paprika based on your preference.
  • Chili powder: (Optional) or cayenne pepper for some heat.
  • Sea salt: Or kosher salt, rather than table salt (otherwise, you’ll need to reduce the amount).
  • Black pepper: Or mixed peppercorns for subtle heat.
  • Lemon: It’s best to use fresh lemon juice, though bottled works, too.
Ingredients for grilled chicken quarters

You can also easily swap the above seasoning with your favorite spice blend, like Cajun seasoning, poultry seasoning, lemon pepper, BBQ seasoning, or even steak seasoning, etc.

How to grill chicken leg quarters

Prepping the chicken: First, preheat the gas grill to 350ºF/175ºC, using paper towels to oil the grill grates. Then, juice the lemon and add it along with oil and spices (paprika, chili, garlic and onion powder, salt, and pepper) to a small bowl and mix well.

Then, pat the chicken quarters dry with paper towels before rubbing the oil and spice rub into the meat all over (including under the skin, for more flavor) and set it aside to come to room temperature (about 20 minutes).

Steps for coating chicken quarters with oil and spices

Chef’s Tip: Trim any excess fat or skin from the chicken quarters to avoid grill flare-ups. Note you can also marinate the chicken for longer in the fridge if you like enhanced flavor (at least two hours or overnight). If you decide to marinate for a longer time, make sure to remove the marinated chicken from the fridge 20 minutes before you grill them.

Grilling the chicken: When the grill is hot, place the chicken quarters in a single layer on the grill skin side down. Depending on their size, cook for between 30-40 minutes, turning them every 10-12 minutes for even charring/cooking.

I prefer to grill with the lid down as it helps to control the heat, reduce flare-ups, and cook the meat more evenly. Move the pieces around to account for hot spots if necessary.

Steps for grilling chicken quarters

Check for doneness: The best way to test the grilled chicken leg quarters is with a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat, avoiding all bones (which can affect the temperature reading). The internal temperature should read at least 165°F/74°C. Another way to tell if the chicken is cooked (without a thermometer) is if you cut into it and the juices run clear.

For this type of chicken cut, I recommend allowing it to reach 175-185ºF/79-85ºC for more tender meat and no stringiness.

Finally, remove the grilled chicken leg quarters from the grill and leave them to rest for 5 minutes, then serve!

Grilled chicken quarter served on a plate

Top tips for perfect chicken leg quarters

  • Preheat the grill: To prevent sticking and provide even cooking results every time.
  • Use skin-on chicken: This extra layer between the meat and grill helps lock in flavor and juiciness to prevent the meat from drying and/or burning. It also helps to make wonderfully crispy grilled chicken quarters.
  • Season thoroughly: Season your chicken quarters generously for tastier, more flavorful results.
  • Grill chicken skinside down first: It helps to render the fat and crisp up the chicken skin. It also acts as a barrier to protect the meat from drying out and can even improve flavor.
  • For the crispiest skin: Achieve the crispiest chicken skin by ensuring the chicken is thoroughly dry before seasoning. Starting with a higher heat initially can help crisp it up, followed by reducing the heat for even cooking.
  • Turn them often: To ensure the grilled chicken leg quarters are evenly charred and cooked all over, turn them every 10-12 minutes.
  • Use a meat thermometer: To ensure perfect, pull-apart tender meat, consider using a meat thermometer.
  • Leave them to rest: At least 5 minutes of resting allows the juices to settle and redistribute for the juiciest meat.

How to store leftovers

Allow the grilled chicken to cool, ensuring they have been transferred to the refrigerator or freezer within 2 hours for food safety reasons.

  • In the fridge: In an airtight container for 3-4 days.
  • In the freezer: Flash freeze on a tray for 2-3 hours until solid, then transfer in a freezer-safe container or Ziplock for up to 3 months. Allow them to thaw in the fridge overnight before using or reheating.
  • To reheat: You can either reheat the chicken in the oven at 350°F/175°C for 12-16 minutes or in an air fryer for a few minutes. For juicy meat, place it in a foil-covered baking dish with a generous splash of chicken broth. A microwave will also work, though it’s harder not to overcook the meat.

What to serve with grilled chicken quarters

Grilled chicken leg quarters make a hearty and delicious all-purpose protein to pull together simple meals with a side of:

More easy chicken recipes

Looking for more simple chicken recipes? Try one of these:

If you try this easy grilled chicken leg quarters recipe, let me know how it goes in the comments below. I’d appreciate a recipe card rating and would love to see your recipe recreations – tag me on Instagram @Alphafoodie!

Perfect Grilled Chicken Quarters

5 from 4 votes
By: Samira
Make perfectly grilled chicken leg quarters with a simple spice rub and a few top tips. They're perfectly charred, with crispy skin and tender, juicy meat!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients 
 

  • 3 lb chicken quarters 6 medium-sized
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice from 1 medium-large lemon
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil or another neutral oil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder or cayenne pepper – optional

Instructions 

  • Preheat the gas grill to 350ºF/175ºC, using paper towels to oil the grill grates.
  • juice the lemon and add it along with oil and spices (paprika, chili, garlic and onion powder, salt, and pepper) to a small bowl and mix well.
  • Pat the chicken quarters dry with paper towels before rubbing the oil and spice rub into the meat all over (including under the skin, for more flavor) and set it aside to come to room temperature (about 20 minutes).
    Trim any excess fat or skin from the chicken quarters to avoid grill flare-ups.
  • When the grill is hot, place the chicken quarters in a single layer on the grill skin side down. Cook for between 30-40 minutes, turning them every 10-12 minutes for even charring/cooking. The exact cooking time will depend on their size.
    I prefer to grill with the lid down as it helps to control the heat, reduce flare-ups, and cook the meat more evenly. Move the pieces around to account for hot spots if necessary.
  • Before removing the leg quarters from the grill, check for doneness. Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the meat, avoiding all bones (which can affect the temperature reading). The internal temperature should read at least 165°F (74°C).
    For this type of chicken cut, I recommend allowing it to reach 175-180ºF/79-82ºC for more tender meat and no stringiness.
  • Once ready, remove the grilled chicken leg quarters from the grill and leave them to rest for 5 minutes, then serve!

Video

Notes

  • Preheat the grill: This is important to prevent sticking and provide even cooking results every time.
  • Use skin-on chicken: This extra layer between the meat and grill helps lock in flavor and juiciness to prevent the meat from drying and/or burning. It also helps to make wonderfully crispy grilled chicken quarters.
  • Grill starting skinside down: It helps to render the fat and crisp up the chicken skin. It also acts as a barrier to protect the meat from drying out and can even improve flavor.
  • For the crispiest skin: Achieve the crispiest chicken skin by ensuring the chicken is thoroughly dry before seasoning. Starting with a higher heat initially can help crisp it up, followed by reducing the heat for even cooking.
    Turn them often: To ensure the grilled chicken leg quarters are evenly charred and cooked all over, turn them every 10-12 minutes.
Check the blog post for serving suggestions! 
Course: Main
Cuisine: American, Global
Freezer friendly: 3-4 Months
Shelf life: 3-4 Days

Nutrition

Calories: 471kcal, Carbohydrates: 2g, Protein: 32g, Fat: 37g, Saturated Fat: 9g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g, Monounsaturated Fat: 17g, Trans Fat: 0.2g, Cholesterol: 189mg, Sodium: 545mg, Potassium: 429mg, Fiber: 0.3g, Sugar: 0.3g, Vitamin A: 369IU, Vitamin C: 4mg, Calcium: 20mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

5 from 4 votes (4 ratings without comment)

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