Discover the secrets to grilling perfect leg quarters with our easy-to-follow guide that will transform your cookouts into a mouthwatering experience.
Leg quarters are one of the most flavorful and juicy cuts of chicken, but many people shy away from grilling them because they can be a bit tricky to cook. Fear not, my fellow BBQ enthusiasts! In this article, we’ll take you through everything you need to know about grilling leg quarters to perfection.
From seasoning tips to cooking techniques, we’ve got you covered. So fire up your grill and get ready for some mouthwatering chicken that will have your taste buds dancing with joy!
Choosing the Right Leg Quarters
When it comes to grilling leg quarters, choosing the right cut of chicken is crucial. You want to look for fresh, high-quality leg quarters that are plump and juicy with a good amount of fat.
Avoid any cuts that appear dry or discolored as they may be past their prime.
It’s also important to consider whether you want bone-in or boneless leg quarters. While boneless cuts can be easier to eat and cook faster, many BBQ enthusiasts swear by the added flavor and juiciness that comes from cooking meat on the bone.
Another factor to keep in mind is whether you prefer skin-on or skinless chicken. Skin-on will give your grilled chicken a crispy exterior while keeping it moist inside but if you’re watching your calorie intake then skinless might be a better option for you.
Preparing the Grill
This will ensure that the chicken cooks evenly and doesn’t stick to the grates.
First, clean your grill thoroughly with a wire brush or scraper. Remove any leftover food debris from previous cookouts and make sure the grates are free of rust or other damage.
Next, oil the grates lightly with cooking spray or vegetable oil using a paper towel. This will help prevent sticking and make cleanup easier later on.
If you’re using charcoal, light it up about 30 minutes before you plan to start cooking so that it has time to heat up properly. For gas grills, preheat them on high for at least 10-15 minutes before reducing heat as needed for cooking temperature.
Once your grill is hot enough (around 375°F), place your leg quarters skin-side down onto direct heat if searing first then move them over indirect heat until they reach an internal temperature of at least 165°F in their thickest part when checked with a meat thermometer.
Marinating Leg Quarters
Before you start marinating, make sure that the chicken is clean and dry. You can use a simple marinade of olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper and garlic or experiment with different flavors like teriyaki or honey mustard.
To marinate the leg quarters properly, place them in a large resealable plastic bag with the marinade mixture. Make sure that all pieces are coated evenly by massaging them gently through the bag before sealing it tightly.
Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes but no more than 24 hours as prolonged exposure to acidic ingredients may break down proteins too much resulting in mushy meat texture.
When ready to grill remove from refrigerator about an hour before grilling so they come up closer room temperature which will help ensure even cooking throughout each piece of meat on your grill surface.
The right seasoning can take your grilled chicken from good to great, so it’s worth taking some time to consider your options.
When it comes to seasoning leg quarters for grilling, there are a few different approaches you can take. Some people prefer a simple salt and pepper rub that allows the natural flavor of the chicken to shine through.
Others like more complex spice blends that add depth and complexity.
One popular option is BBQ dry rubs, which typically include ingredients like brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder and chili powder. These blends create a sweet-and-spicy crust on the outside of the meat while keeping things juicy on the inside.
Another tasty option is garlic herb dry rubs made with fresh herbs such as rosemary or thyme mixed with minced garlic cloves for an aromatic blend that will make your taste buds sing!
BBQ Dry Rub
It’s easy to make and adds a delicious smoky flavor to the meat. To make your own BBQ dry rub, mix together brown sugar, paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder and salt in a bowl.
Adjust the quantities of each ingredient according to your taste preferences.
Once you have made your dry rub mixture it’s time to apply it generously all over the leg quarters before grilling them. Make sure that every inch of meat is coated with this flavorful blend so that you get an even distribution of flavors throughout.
When applying any type of seasoning or marinade on chicken always remember food safety rules: wash hands thoroughly before handling raw poultry; use separate utensils for raw and cooked meats; keep marinated meats refrigerated until ready to grill; cook chicken until internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C) as measured by an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part without touching bone or fat.
Garlic Herb Dry Rub
This dry rub is easy to make and adds a delicious flavor profile that complements the natural taste of chicken. To make this garlic herb dry rub, you’ll need garlic powder, dried thyme, dried rosemary, salt and black pepper.
Mix all ingredients in a bowl until well combined. Then generously apply the mixture onto both sides of each leg quarter before grilling for maximum flavor infusion.
The combination of herbs with garlic creates an aromatic blend that will tantalize your senses as it cooks on the grill. The savory flavors from this dry rub will have everyone asking for seconds at your next cookout!
Experiment with different amounts of each ingredient to find what works best for you and adjust according to personal preference or dietary restrictions.
If your grill is too hot, you risk burning the outside of the chicken while leaving it raw on the inside. On the other hand, if your grill isn’t hot enough, you’ll end up with dry and flavorless meat.
The ideal grilling temperature for leg quarters is between 350°F and 400°F (175°C to 205°C). This range allows for a crispy skin while ensuring that the meat cooks evenly all throughout.
To achieve this temperature range, preheat your grill before adding in your chicken. You can use either gas or charcoal grills; just make sure that they are properly heated before placing any food on them.
Investing in a good quality thermometer will also help ensure that you’re cooking at an accurate temperature. Insert it into one of thickest parts of each quarter without touching bone or hitting air pockets to check doneness as well as internal temperatures during cooking time.
Grill Setup: Direct Vs Indirect
Direct heat means placing the chicken directly over the flames, while indirect heat involves cooking it next to but not directly over them.
Direct grilling is best for smaller cuts of meat that cook quickly and benefit from a crispy exterior, like burgers or hot dogs. However, with larger cuts like leg quarters that take longer to cook through without burning on the outside, using indirect heat will give you more control and prevent flare-ups.
To set up your grill for indirect cooking with charcoal briquettes or wood chips: pile them on one side of your grill’s bottom grate in a pyramid shape; light them up until they’re covered in ash; then place an aluminum drip pan filled with water under where you’ll be placing your chicken pieces.
For gas grills: preheat all burners on high for 10-15 minutes before turning off half (or more) depending on how many burners there are; place an aluminum drip pan filled with water under where you’ll be putting your chicken pieces.
By setting up your grill correctly and choosing between direct vs.
Time and Temperature Guidelines
The ideal cooking temperature for chicken is between 165°F and 175°F (74°C -79°C), which ensures that the meat is cooked through but still juicy. To achieve this, you need to maintain a consistent grill temperature throughout the cooking process.
The recommended grilling time for leg quarters varies depending on their size and thickness. As a general rule of thumb, bone-in chicken takes longer to cook than boneless cuts because bones act as heat conductors that slow down the cooking process.
For medium-sized leg quarters (around 8-10 ounces each), plan on grilling them for about 25-30 minutes over medium-high heat until they reach an internal temperature of at least 165°F (74°C). However, if you’re working with larger pieces or thicker cuts of meat, adjust your timing accordingly by adding more minutes per side until they’re fully cooked.
Once you’ve got your grill set up and your leg quarters seasoned, it’s time to start grilling! But how do you ensure that the chicken is cooked evenly and thoroughly? Here are some grilling techniques to help you achieve perfectly grilled leg quarters every time:
1. Sear first: Start by searing the chicken over high heat for a few minutes on each side.
This will give it a nice crust and seal in the juices.
2. Move to indirect heat: Once both sides are seared, move the chicken to an area of indirect heat on your grill (i.e., not directly over flames).
This will allow it to cook through without burning or drying out.
3. Flip often: To ensure even cooking, flip the leg quarters frequently during grilling – about every 5-7 minutes should do it.
4. Baste as needed: If desired, baste with sauce or marinade during cooking for added flavor and moisture.
Flipping and Rotating
Flipping the chicken will help prevent burning or undercooking on one side. Use tongs or a spatula to gently turn each piece over every 5-7 minutes until they’re fully cooked.
If you’re grilling with indirect heat, rotating the chicken can also help ensure that all pieces cook evenly by moving them around throughout the cooking process.
Remember not to flip too often as this can cause juices from inside of meat escape leading it dry out quickly. Also avoid pressing down on your leg quarters while flipping as this will squeeze out their natural juices which are essential for keeping them moist and flavorful.
Basting During Grilling
Basting involves brushing or spooning a liquid mixture over the chicken as it cooks on the grill. This helps keep the meat moist and adds extra flavor.
There are many different liquids you can use for basting, such as barbecue sauce, melted butter, olive oil, or even beer. You can also add herbs and spices to your baste for an extra kick of flavor.
To properly baste your leg quarters while they’re cooking on the grill, use a heat-resistant brush or spoon to apply your chosen liquid evenly over both sides of each piece every 10-15 minutes throughout cooking time.
Remember not to apply too much pressure when brushing so that you don’t accidentally remove any seasoning from your chicken pieces. Also be careful not to let any sugary sauces burn onto hot spots in direct heat areas; this could cause flare-ups which may char parts of your meat before it’s fully cooked through.
Undercooked chicken can be dangerous and ruin an otherwise delicious meal. So how do you know when your leg quarters are done? The easiest way is to use a meat thermometer.
Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the meat, being careful not to touch bone or grill grates.
The USDA recommends cooking chicken until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C). Once your leg quarters reach this temperature, they’re safe to eat and should be juicy and flavorful throughout.
If you don’t have a meat thermometer on hand, there are other ways to check for doneness as well. One method is cutting into one of the pieces near its bone; if juices run clear with no pink color remaining in any part of it then that means it’s fully cooked.
Another option is using a fork or knife: if there’s no resistance when piercing through flesh then chances are high that everything has been properly cooked!
Resting the Meat
Resting the meat allows the juices to redistribute throughout the chicken, resulting in a more tender and flavorful bite.
To rest your grilled leg quarters, remove them from the grill and place them on a cutting board or platter. Tent loosely with foil or another heat-resistant material for about 5-10 minutes before slicing into them.
During this time, you can prepare any sides or sauces that will accompany your meal. Once rested, slice into each quarter along its natural seams and serve immediately while still warm.
One classic option is to pair it with some corn on the cob and a baked potato for a hearty meal. You can also slice the meat off the bone and use it in salads or sandwiches for a lighter option.
Another great way to serve grilled leg quarters is with some homemade BBQ sauce on top. This adds an extra layer of flavor that will have your taste buds singing praises! If you’re feeling adventurous, try experimenting with different sauces like honey mustard or teriyaki.
Grilling Safety Tips
Here are some tips to ensure that your grilling experience is both enjoyable and safe:
1. Keep the grill away from flammable objects: Make sure your grill is at least 10 feet away from any structures or combustible materials.
2. Use long-handled tools: Long-handled tongs, spatulas, and forks will help you avoid burns while cooking.
3. Don’t leave the grill unattended: Always keep an eye on the grill when it’s in use.
4. Keep a fire extinguisher nearby: In case of emergency, have a fire extinguisher within reach.
5. Check for gas leaks before using propane grills: Before lighting up your propane-powered grill for the first time each season or after replacing its tank make sure there are no gas leaks by applying soapy water around all connections with a brush; if bubbles appear then there’s leakage which needs fixing before proceeding further.
Cleanup and Maintenance
Proper cleaning and maintenance will not only extend the life of your grill but also ensure that you’re cooking on a safe surface.
Firstly, let the grill cool down completely before attempting to clean it. Once cooled, remove any leftover food debris from the grates using a wire brush or scraper tool.
For stubborn residue, use warm soapy water with a sponge or cloth.
Next, check for any clogs in the burners or gas lines by inspecting them visually and blowing compressed air through them if necessary. This step is crucial as clogged burners can cause uneven heating leading to undercooked meat.
Lastly, cover your grill when not in use to protect it from weather elements such as rain which can cause rusting over time.
Storing and Reheating Grilled Chicken Quarters
To store leftover chicken, let it cool down completely before placing it in an airtight container or wrapping tightly with plastic wrap. Store the chicken in the refrigerator for up to four days.
When reheating grilled chicken quarters, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First of all, make sure that the meat is heated through thoroughly before serving – this will help prevent any foodborne illnesses from occurring.
You can reheat your leg quarters on the grill over low heat until they’re warmed through or use an oven set at 350°F for about 15-20 minutes.
If you’re short on time and need to reheat quickly using a microwave oven is also possible but be careful not to overcook as this may dry out your meat.
Can Grilled Chicken Quarters Be Pink?
One of the most common concerns when grilling chicken is whether it’s safe to eat if it’s still pink in the middle. The short answer is no, but with a few caveats.
While some cuts of meat can be safely consumed rare or medium-rare, chicken should always be cooked until its internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C) to kill any harmful bacteria that may cause foodborne illness. This means that even though leg quarters may look done on the outside and have beautiful grill marks, they could still be undercooked inside.
To ensure your grilled leg quarters are fully cooked through without overcooking them and drying them out, use a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of each piece. Once you reach an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C), remove from heat and let rest for at least five minutes before serving.
Equipment You May Need
Having the right tools can make your grilling experience much more enjoyable and efficient. Here are some essential items that will come in handy when grilling chicken leg quarters:
1. Grill: A gas or charcoal grill is necessary for cooking chicken leg quarters.
2. Tongs: Long-handled tongs are perfect for flipping and moving the meat around on the grill without piercing it.
3. Meat Thermometer: To ensure that your chicken is cooked through but not overcooked, use a meat thermometer to check its internal temperature.
4. Basting Brush: If you plan on basting your chicken with sauce during cooking, a silicone brush works best as it won’t melt or shed bristles like traditional brushes do.
5.Grill Basket : A good quality non-stick basket makes turning smaller pieces of food easier while keeping them from falling through the grate.
6.Aluminum Foil : Aluminum foil comes in handy when making packets for indirect heat cooking.
Having these basic tools at hand will help make sure that everything goes smoothly during your cookout so you can focus on enjoying delicious grilled leg quarters with family and friends!
Do you flip leg quarters while grilling?
Yes, you flip leg quarters while grilling, initially grilling skin-side-up for 7-10 minutes and then flipping to grill bone-side-up for 4-5 minutes.
Do you grill chicken quarters skin side up or down?
Grill chicken quarters skin side down first until the fat has rendered and the skin is crisp, then flip and grill skin side up until cooked through.
How to cook chicken leg quarters on a Weber grill?
To cook chicken leg quarters on a Weber grill, brush the cooking grates clean and 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 does it take to cook legs on the grill?
The ideal grilling time for chicken drumsticks is between 25-30 minutes to ensure a succulent texture and avoid overcooking or undercooking.
What is the ideal temperature for grilling chicken leg quarters?
The ideal temperature for grilling chicken leg quarters is 350-400°F (175-205°C).
Are there any marinades or seasonings that pair particularly well with grilled chicken leg quarters?
Yes, some excellent marinades and seasonings that pair well with grilled chicken leg quarters include BBQ sauce, lemon-garlic herb, teriyaki, and spicy peri-peri.
What are some tips for ensuring even cooking and avoiding flare-ups during the grilling process of leg quarters?
To ensure even cooking and avoid flare-ups during the grilling process of leg quarters, maintain a medium heat, use indirect grilling, and keep the grill lid closed.