"Quarter Portions" (SBQ, Ep. 32)

Part of living in the Land of the Free is that you have the right to choose which portions to buy from the butcher.  The whole chicken leg, or "Chicken Leg Quarters" (hence the recipe title) are BY FAR the most bang for your butchering buck.  Each portion contains the full thigh, which is the absolute most delicious part of the bird, and the full drumstick, giving you something to grab onto while you munch.  The quarters also have some connective meat from the back, and part of the vertebrae, which house all sortsa ridiculously flavorful meat-nuggets for you to "scavenge" and trade in for yummy points (assholes call them calories).

What You Will Need:

  • 8 Chicken Leg Quarters (2 per adult)
  • Peanut Oil (ask about allergies first!)
  • Olive Oil
  • Butter
  • Chicken Broth
  • Salt
  • Pepper Blend (blend of non-spicy peppercorns of various geographical origins)
  • Ground Ginger
  • Adobo Seasoning (contains salt, garlic, pepper, oregano; cumin and chili pepper optional)
  • Old Bay Seasoning
  • High-Walled Foil Roasting Pans
  • Baster
  • Grill or Smoker
  • Smoking Wood (peach wood is primary, with apple to accent; pecan or cherry do nicely, also)

How You Do It:

  1. Start your fire, and bring it to a good roll.  Keep your eyes peeled for stray embers or flare-ups, or for loss of flame and self-smothering.  While the blaze gets comfy, start the meat prep. **IF you're using a gas grill, you won't need to ignite the flames until you have the chicken seasoned.  When you do light the ignitions, keep the knobs to Med-Lo, so you can simulate indirect heat.  If your grill surface is big enough, you can actually light only 2/3 of your burners and use the unlit burner area for the meat.**
  2. In 2 foil roasting pans, drizzle some of each oil.  Put 4 leg quarters per pan, skin-side up.  Drizzle more of each oil over the skin.
  3. Layer the seasonings in this order:  salt, adobo, pepper blend, old bay, ginger.  Don't be too bashful with the salt, pepper, and adobo.
  4. Check that your fire's burning clean.  Close the lids and baffles on the smoker accordingly, and wait a few minutes to see if the smoke rolling out is thin and blue.  If the temperature is above 325 degrees-F in the cooking space, you'll have to burn some wood off before you can put the chicken on.  If you've got a 300-ish degrees-F and thin blue smoke is riding high, it's time to cook!
  5. Keep the chicken uncovered on indirect heat for about an hour.  Watch that smoke color!  Thin and blue is what you want during the whole cook.  Surround the chicken with a steady 300-325 degrees-F.  If you have to add wood to the fire, remember to open the firebox lid for a few minutes while the bark ignites and the thickest smoke burns out.
  6. Right after putting the chicken on the grill, fill a small saucepan with chicken broth, and drop a sprig or two of fresh rosemary into the liquid.  Keep the burner on a low simmer, and cover with a lid.
  7. Every 10-15 minutes, baste the chicken quarters with your rosemary-steeped broth, then slap a tab of butter onto each quarter where the thigh meets the drum.  You can also rotate the grill-pans to heat each quarter more evenly.  Close the lid and crack another brew.
  8. After an hour or so, you should see moist, ruby-golden-brown chicken skin, and you will probably start drooling from several body parts.  DON'T get too excited yet; baste again with whatever's already in the pan, and add some broth if it looks kinda dry in there.  COVER the grill-pans with foil, and leave them in the smoker for another 10-15 minutes.
  9. Uncover the chicken and find the meatiest one, then poke it with a fork and apply pressure with the tines.  CLEAR liquid should flow from the fork-holes, NOT pink liquid!  A slight yellowing or browning from the smoke and broth may be visible, but that's okay.  PINK is DANGER, and you should definitely leave it covered and keep the grill hot until the liquid is almost completely CLEAR.
  10. Once your fork-check is complete, pull the re-covered chicken off the grill and let it rest for at least 10 minutes before you remove the foil covering.
  11. ENJOY with Independency, and a cocktail!


*This recipe was featured on our Instagram and Facebook accounts as a part of our July 4th Red, White, and Blue BBQ series of posts, in addition to Episode 32 of Star-B-Q.