Smoked Chicken Leg Quarters Qview to follow

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Meat Mopper
Original poster
Feb 24, 2011
Central Illinois
Alright guys! I am doing some smoked chicken leg quarters this Sunday. Anyone want to weight in with some advise and tips? Thinking my usual bbq dry rub and homemade bbq sauce.
If you'd like to try a brine, I've been able to impart additional flavors and moisture using them with great success on chicken pieces, large or small.

Also, for finished temps, USDA has changed the guideline, which now now calls for a minimum of 165*, but with bone-in dark meats, I have found that 165* doesn't quite get them to what appears to be a fully cooked, with dark red/pink coloring and much tougher meat near the bone, and especially around the joints. I'm sure this is due in part to taking temp readings on smaller pieces not being as accurate, but I'll run to 165*-168* for breast meat, and for dark meat I'm still taking to at least 170*. Cooked to these temps, they will have plenty of interior moisture whether brined or not.

I love smoking chicken quarters (even if I cut-up a whole roaster or fryer) much more than whole birds, as I can pull the breast meat when it's done, and leave the dark meat until it's finished as well. With whole birds, the breast seems to finish sooner, even when placed breast up, and could get dried out before the dark meat has reached safe temps.

Have fun! Looking forward to your Q-view as well!


Edit: for smoke woods, if using mesquite or hickory, go light and easy. Hickory is good on poultry, but has has a sharp flavor which some may not like, while mesquite, being a heavy earthy flavor can be overwhelming as well. I've had very good flavors from apple, cherry, pecan in combination or solo. Other fruit woods will do well, too.
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I checked leg quarters after I posted this and spent an hour reading other threads. Lots of good stuff. Again, I am sitting here wishing it was Sunday!

I too brine my chicks whenever I cook them whether grilled, fried, or smoked.

I would definitely love to have some others recipes for brines.

I get in a rut of using the same spices and herbs.
I have a chicken rub that I made up that I put that on the chicken and let it sit for a couple of hours. Then smoke them for a couple of hours and then throw them on the grill for a little bit just to crisp up the skin.
Here is what i use its not a brine but a marinade. I like to let it soak overnight.

 1 egg  beaten

 ½ tsp white pepper or black

3 tsp poultry seasoning
2 tsp of alpine or season All
½ c vegetable oil    

1 cup cider vinegar
1 cup of Italian dressing  
 whisk all the above ingredients together. Marinate the chicken overnight or longer.
Here's one of the last brine/cures I could sub the TQ with salt in lower concentrations if you didn't want the cured texture and flavor:


4lbs chicken legs

1 Tbls cayenne pepper

2 Tbls red bell pepper powder

2 Tbls jalapeno powder

1 Tbls ground black peppercorn

1 Tbls garlic powder

2 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp ground oregano

3/4 cup tender quick cure

6 cups cold water

2 cups ice cubes, add ice as needed to keep chilled, or refrigerate.

Mix all dry ingredients with 4 cups water in 4qt saucepan and simmer for 8-10 minutes.

Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.

Add brine/cure solution to 2 cups water and 4 (edit) 2 cups ice cubes and mix. Add chicken legs.

Allow to brine/cure for 4 hours.

Rinse with cold fresh water, apply dry rub and smoke or grill.


1/2 Tbls freshly powdered Black Pepper Corn

1/2 Tbls minced dried garlic, freshly powdered

1 tsp freshly powdered Onion

2 Tbls kosher salt

1 tsp sweet basil leaves, ground

1 tsp oregano, ground

1 Tbls ancho chili, freshly powdered (sub w/reg chili powder if desired)

2 tsp cayenne pepper powder

2 tsp red pepper flakes (crushed red pepper)

1/8 tsp ground cinnamon

A q-view containing the use of the above is found HERE


6 Tbls kosher salt

1/2 Tbls chili powder

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/2 Tbls rosemary

1/2 Tbls thyme

1/2 Tbls oregano

1 Tbls sweet basil

1 Tbls ground garlic

1 Tbls ground black peppercorn

2 Tbls ground dried tart cherries

2 Tbls ground red bell pepper

3 qts water

6 cups (approx) cubed ice, or refrigeration

4.5 lbs dark meat chicken pieces

Mix dry ingredients into 1.5 qts water as it is heating in a sauce pan.
Heat to simmer and remove from heat. Chill well, then pour into non-reactive container
with 1.5 quarts cold water (as needed to cover all pieces), mix and add chicken and ice
(or refigerate) to brine for 3-4 hours. If using the ice chill method, add ice as needed
to keep well chilled.

That Q-view is located HERE


Thank you for the advise. I posted the content of the wiki below so I have it handy come Saturday night. Anyone think I'd have issues if I brined these quarters over night? Or should I brine them Sunday morning if I'm planning on having them for dinner at 5pm?

Also, I too enjoy applewood! The second thing I smoked was a whole chicken brined with water, garlic, salt and injected with a garlic herb blend. Used charcoal and applewood chips. 

I hope that Tip doesn't mind that I've listed his Slaughterhouse recipes here. These recipes are well-received and deserving of a WIKI entry.

Slaughterhouse Poultry Brine By Tip Piper of Hillbilly Vittles

1 ½ Gal Water

½ C Salt - Kosher

½ C Dark Brown Sugar

2 tsp Garlic Powder

2 tsp Onion Powder

2 tsp Cajun Spice (Louisiana Cajun Seasoning)

2 tsp Celery Seed 

Slaughterhouse Spritz (Good fer everthin!)

8 oz Apple Cider

6 oz Water

4 oz Whiskey

2 oz Cider Vinegar
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jeez, I got so busy lately I missed your last post here, jacobtia...

To answer your question: (copied from above)  Anyone think I'd have issues if I brined these quarters over night? Or should I brine them Sunday morning if I'm planning on having them for dinner at 5pm?

The brine times most folks list are for minimums. Example: 4 hrs for chix pieces, 8 hrs or overnight for whole birds. Longer brining periods of 12-24 hours won't hurt anythhing, and if a reduced salt solution is used would be beneficial for more equalization resulting in a deeper flavor of the brine's spices in the meat or poultry.

Anyway, you're smoke is long over by now, but for future reference, there's my answer.

Hope you had a great smoke and sunday dinner!

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