Discover the secret to perfectly grilled chicken quarters as we guide you through the optimal cooking time and technique for mouthwatering results.
Are you planning a BBQ party this weekend and wondering how long it takes to grill chicken quarters? Grilling chicken can be a bit tricky, especially if you’re not sure about the cooking time. Overcooked chicken can be dry and tough, while undercooked chicken is unsafe to eat.
But don’t worry, in this article we’ll cover everything you need to know about grilling juicy and flavorful chicken quarters. From prepping the meat to determining the perfect cooking time, we’ve got you covered! So fire up your grill and let’s get started!
Choosing the Right Chicken Quarters
When it comes to grilling chicken quarters, choosing the right cut of meat is crucial. You want to select fresh and high-quality chicken that will cook evenly and retain its moisture.
Look for plump, well-shaped quarters with smooth skin and no discoloration or bruises.
You can choose between bone-in or boneless chicken quarters depending on your preference. Bone-in cuts tend to be more flavorful but require longer cooking times than their boneless counterparts.
On the other hand, boneless cuts are quicker to grill but may dry out faster if overcooked.
Another factor you should consider when selecting your chicken is whether you prefer dark meat or white meat. Chicken thighs have a higher fat content than breasts which makes them juicier and more flavorful when grilled.
Preparing Chicken Quarters for Grilling
Begin by rinsing the chicken under cold water and patting it dry with paper towels. Next, remove any excess fat or skin from the meat using a sharp knife or kitchen shears.
To ensure even cooking and maximum flavor absorption, consider scoring the flesh of each quarter with shallow cuts before marinating or seasoning. This technique also helps tenderize tougher cuts of meat.
If you’re short on time but still want to add some extra flavor to your chicken quarters, try injecting them with marinade using a syringe-style injector tool. This method allows for deeper penetration of flavors into the meat without requiring an extended marinating period.
Marinating and Seasoning Tips
A marinade is a mixture of oil, acid (such as vinegar or citrus juice), herbs, spices, and other seasonings that infuse the meat with flavor while also tenderizing it.
To make a basic marinade for chicken quarters, mix together olive oil, lemon juice or apple cider vinegar (or any acidic liquid you prefer), garlic powder or minced garlic cloves, salt and pepper. You can also add other ingredients like honey for sweetness or soy sauce for umami flavors.
When marinating chicken quarters be sure to use an air-tight container such as a ziplock bag so that all parts are coated evenly. Marinate in the refrigerator overnight if possible but at least 30 minutes prior to cooking time.
If you don’t have time for marination then dry rubs are another great way to enhance your grilled chicken’s taste profile without adding extra calories from oils used in marinades. Simply mix together some dried herbs like thyme oregano rosemary paprika chili flakes cumin salt black pepper etc., apply generously on both sides of each quarter before placing them on grill grates.
Dry Rub Variations
A dry rub is a mixture of herbs, spices, and seasonings that are rubbed onto the meat before grilling. The heat from the grill helps infuse these flavors into the chicken for an explosion of taste in every bite.
There are countless variations when it comes to making a dry rub for chicken quarters. Some popular options include BBQ Dry Rub, Garlic Herb Dry Rub, and Cajun Spice Mix.
To make your own BBQ Dry Rub at home mix together brown sugar, paprika powder, chili powder cumin powder garlic salt onion salt black pepper and cayenne pepper in equal parts until well combined.
For those who love garlic herb flavors on their grilled meats can try out Garlic Herb Dry Rub which includes dried thyme leaves oregano leaves rosemary leaves basil flakes minced garlic kosher salt black pepper red chili flakes olive oil lemon juice.
Cajun Spice Mix lovers can use this blend made with smoked paprika onion granules dried thyme ground coriander ground mustard seed celery seeds kosher or sea salt freshly cracked black peppercorns cayenne pepper.
BBQ Dry Rub
It’s easy to make at home with just a few ingredients, and you can adjust the recipe according to your taste preferences. A typical BBQ dry rub includes brown sugar, paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and black pepper.
You can also add cumin or cayenne pepper for extra heat.
To apply the dry rub on chicken quarters evenly:
- Pat the meat dry with paper towels.
- Sprinkle generous amounts of BBQ dry rub all over each quarter.
- Use your hands to massage the spices into every nook and cranny of the meat.
- Let it sit for at least 30 minutes before grilling.
The longer you let it marinate in the fridge (up to overnight),the more intense flavor will be infused into your chicken quarters.
Garlic Herb Dry Rub
This dry rub recipe combines garlic powder, dried herbs like thyme, rosemary, and oregano with salt and black pepper for a savory taste. To make the Garlic Herb Dry Rub, mix all the ingredients in a bowl until well combined.
Then generously coat both sides of each chicken quarter with the mixture before grilling.
The Garlic Herb Dry Rub works best when applied at least 30 minutes before grilling to allow time for flavors to penetrate into the meat. You can also marinate your chicken quarters overnight in this dry rub mixture for even more intense flavor.
When it comes to cooking time using this dry rub on your chicken quarters will depend on their size and thickness as well as grill temperature but generally speaking you should cook them over medium-high heat until they reach an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).
Selecting the Best Grilling Method
There are two main methods for grilling: direct and indirect heat. Direct heat involves placing the chicken directly over the flames or hot coals, while indirect heat involves cooking on a cooler part of the grill with no direct flame underneath.
Direct grilling is ideal for boneless chicken quarters that cook quickly and benefit from a crispy exterior. Indirect grilling works best for bone-in chicken quarters that require longer cooking times to ensure they’re cooked through without burning on the outside.
It’s important to note that both methods have their pros and cons, so it ultimately depends on your personal preference and what you’re looking to achieve in terms of flavor and texture.
No matter which method you choose, make sure your grill is preheated before adding your seasoned or marinated chicken quarters. This will help prevent sticking while also ensuring even cooking throughout each piece of meat.
Direct Vs. Indirect Grilling
Direct grilling involves placing the chicken directly over the heat source, while indirect grilling involves cooking the meat next to or above a heat source without direct contact with flames.
Direct Grilling is ideal for smaller cuts of meat that cook quickly such as boneless chicken breasts. It’s also great for achieving crispy skin on your grilled meats.
However, when it comes to larger cuts like chicken quarters, this method can be tricky because they take longer to cook through and may burn on the outside before they’re fully cooked inside.
Indirect Grilling is perfect for larger pieces of meat like whole chickens or turkey because it allows them to cook evenly without burning on one side while remaining raw in another area. This method requires more time but results in tender and juicy meats with a smoky flavor.
To determine which method works best for you when cooking your Chicken Quarters consider factors such as grill size (smaller grill sizes work better with Indirect), desired level of charred flavor (direct will give you more charring) ,and how much time you have available (indirect takes longer).
Pre-heating Your Grill
Preheating ensures that the grill is hot enough to cook the meat properly and evenly. It also helps prevent sticking and makes cleaning easier.
To preheat your grill, turn all burners on high for 10-15 minutes with the lid closed. This will heat up the grates and create a searing surface for those beautiful char marks we all love.
Once you’ve reached optimal temperature (around 400°F), use a wire brush or scraper to clean off any debris from previous cooking sessions. Then oil up some paper towels with vegetable oil using tongs, rub them over the grates until they’re coated in a thin layer of oil.
Now that your grill is heated up and oiled down, it’s time to get started! Place each chicken quarter on direct heat skin-side down first before flipping halfway through cooking time according to recipe instructions or personal preference.
Proper Grill Temperatures
The ideal temperature for grilling chicken quarters is between 350°F and 400°F. This will allow the meat to cook evenly without burning or drying out.
To achieve this temperature range, preheat your grill for about 10-15 minutes before adding the chicken quarters. You can use a thermometer to check if the grill has reached its optimal heat level.
If you’re using a gas grill, set all burners on high and close the lid until it reaches desired heat levels. For charcoal grills, spread hot coals in an even layer across one side of the grate while leaving another side empty for indirect cooking.
Control Flare-Ups and Charring
When fat drips onto the hot coals or flames, it can cause sudden bursts of fire that can burn your chicken. To avoid this, you need to keep a close eye on your grill and be ready to move your chicken around if necessary.
If you notice flare-ups starting, don’t panic! Simply use tongs to move the chicken away from direct heat until the flames subside. You may also want to consider using a drip pan under your grill grates or placing aluminum foil over certain areas of your grill where there are more hot spots.
Charring is another common issue when grilling meat with high sugar content in marinades or rubs. While some people enjoy charred bits on their food for added flavor, too much charring can ruin an otherwise perfectly grilled piece of meat.
To prevent excessive charring on skin-on quarters, start by trimming any excess fat before marinating them overnight in oil-based marinades that will help protect them during cooking time.
Turning and Basting Techniques
Use tongs or a spatula to flip the meat every 5-7 minutes. Avoid using a fork as it can pierce the skin and release juices, leading to dry chicken.
Basting is another technique that can add flavor and moisture to your grilled chicken quarters. Brushing on a marinade or sauce during cooking will help keep the meat juicy while also adding extra layers of flavor.
To baste effectively, use a silicone brush or mop-style tool with heat-resistant bristles. Dip into your chosen basting liquid (such as BBQ sauce) then apply generously over both sides of each quarter before flipping them over.
Remember not to baste too often – once every 10-15 minutes should be enough so that you don’t wash away any seasoning already applied earlier in grilling process.
Monitoring Chicken Quarter Doneness
Undercooked chicken can be dangerous to eat, while overcooked chicken can be dry and tough. The best way to ensure that your grilled chicken is cooked perfectly is by using a meat thermometer.
Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of each quarter without touching any bones for an accurate reading. Chicken should reach an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) before it’s safe to eat.
If you don’t have a meat thermometer, there are other ways to check if your grilled chicken quarters are done cooking. One method is by cutting into one piece at its thickest point and checking if there’s any pinkness or blood visible inside; this indicates that more cooking time may be needed.
Another way is by pressing down on the flesh with tongs or a fork; when fully cooked, it should feel firm but not hard or rubbery.
Internal Temperature Guidelines
The USDA recommends cooking chicken to an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) for at least 15 seconds. This ensures that any harmful bacteria present in the meat have been destroyed, making it safe for consumption.
To measure the internal temperature, use a digital meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of each quarter without touching bone or grill grates. Be sure to check multiple pieces as some may cook faster than others depending on their size and thickness.
It’s also essential not to rely solely on color or texture when determining doneness as these can be misleading indicators. Always use a thermometer and follow recommended guidelines for food safety.
Grilling Time Estimates
How long should you grill chicken quarters? The answer depends on several factors such as the size of the meat, heat intensity, and cooking method.
As a general rule of thumb, bone-in chicken quarters take longer to cook than boneless ones. On average, it takes about 25-30 minutes per side for bone-in chicken quarters over medium-high heat (around 375°F).
For boneless pieces or smaller cuts like drumsticks or wings that require less cooking time – around 15-20 minutes per side.
However, these are just estimates; always use a meat thermometer to ensure that your grilled chicken is cooked thoroughly but not overdone. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of each quarter without touching any bones for an accurate reading.
Remember also that different grills may vary in temperature output so adjust accordingly if necessary.
Bone-in Vs. Boneless Quarters
Bone-in chicken quarters are typically more flavorful and juicy than their boneless counterparts. The bones help retain moisture during cooking, resulting in a tender and succulent meat that’s bursting with flavor.
On the other hand, if you prefer convenience over taste or don’t want to deal with bones while eating your grilled chicken quarter, then go for the boneless option. They cook faster than their bony counterparts since they lack the extra weight from bones.
However, keep in mind that without proper attention during grilling time or seasoning techniques like brining or marinating can lead to dryness when cooking a boneless cut of meat.
Resting Chicken Quarters
Resting allows the juices in the meat to redistribute and settle, resulting in a more tender and flavorful bite.
To rest your chicken quarters, remove them from the grill using tongs or a spatula and transfer them onto a clean platter. Tent loosely with foil or place in an insulated container for up to 10 minutes.
Avoid cutting into your chicken right away as this will cause all of those delicious juices you worked so hard for during grilling time to escape. Instead, use this resting period as an opportunity to prepare any sides or garnishes that will accompany your meal.
Serving Suggestions and Garnishes
You can simply plate the chicken and serve it with a side of veggies or salad for a healthy meal. Or you can go all out and create an impressive BBQ spread with various sides, sauces, and garnishes.
One classic way to serve grilled chicken is with corn on the cob, baked beans, coleslaw or potato salad. These traditional sides complement the smoky flavor of the meat perfectly.
If you’re looking for something more adventurous try serving your chicken quarters over rice pilaf or quinoa salad topped off with fresh herbs like cilantro or parsley. Grilled vegetables such as zucchini slices also make great accompaniments.
For those who love spicy food add some hot sauce on top of your cooked quarter before serving; while others may prefer sweet flavors like honey mustard glaze which pairs well too!
Garnishing is another way to elevate presentation by adding color contrast that makes dishes look even more appetizing! Try sprinkling chopped green onions over each piece before serving – not only does this add visual appeal but also adds extra flavor dimension!
Storing and Reheating
It’s important to handle the cooked meat properly so it stays safe and tasty. First, let the chicken cool down before storing it in an airtight container or plastic bag.
You can keep it in the fridge for up to four days or freeze it for longer storage.
When reheating grilled chicken quarters, make sure they reach an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) before serving again. You can reheat them on a grill over low heat until warmed through or use an oven set at 350°F (175°C) until heated thoroughly.
Here are some essential tips to keep in mind when grilling chicken quarters:
- Always wash your hands and utensils before handling raw chicken.
- Use separate cutting boards for meat and vegetables to avoid cross-contamination.
- Make sure your grill is clean before cooking on it.
- Cook the chicken until its internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C) using a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the quarter without touching bone or fat.
- Avoid partially cooking or reheating cooked poultry more than once, as this can increase bacteria growth.
By following these simple safety tips, you can ensure that your BBQ party is not only delicious but also safe for everyone involved!
Do you flip leg quarters while grilling?
Yes, flip leg quarters while grilling, initially grilling for 7-10 minutes skin-side-up, then flipping and grilling for 4-5 minutes bone-side-up.
How long to grill leg quarters at 325?
Grill leg quarters at 325°F for approximately 20 minutes with the grill cover closed.
How to cook chicken leg quarters on a Weber grill?
To cook chicken leg quarters on a Weber grill, brush the grates clean, then grill the chicken over indirect medium heat with the lid closed for 50 minutes to 1 hour, turning once, until the internal temperature reaches 165°F in the thickest part of the thigh.
How long do you cook chicken at 350 on a grill?
At 350 degrees Fahrenheit, cook boneless 4-ounce chicken breasts for 20 to 30 minutes, according to FoodSafety.gov.
What is the best marinade for chicken leg quarters before grilling?
The best marinade for chicken leg quarters before grilling is a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, dried herbs, salt, and pepper.
Should you grill chicken leg quarters with the skin on or off?
Grill chicken leg quarters with the skin on to ensure they remain moist and flavorful.
How can you ensure even cooking of chicken quarters on a charcoal grill?
To ensure even cooking of chicken quarters on a charcoal grill, maintain a consistent temperature, use indirect heat, and frequently rotate the chicken pieces.