Grilled chicken leg quarters are the ultimate dinner recipe whether you are having a cookout or making dinner for the family! They are super easy to make with a simple dry rub and then they are grilled to perfection. The skin turns out crispy and they are full of flavor.
Chicken leg quarters are one of my favorites. They are usually cheaper then most cuts of meat and they are really easy to cook. Seriously, you can overcook them and they are still amazing. You can't do that with a chicken breast without it drying out!
There are so many things you can use them for from boiling them down to make soup to making cast iron chicken quarters - seared and then baked to perfection.
But being I love to grill, grilled chicken leg quarters are one of our favorite ways to make them. You can get the skin as crispy as you want very easily and they are very easy to cook on the grill.
Please note that this recipe is for grilling chicken quarters on a gas grill so if you are using charcoal, please adjust cook times accordingly.
The ingredients for grilled chicken leg quarters are simple ingredients, the spices are common spices but if there is one that you do not like you can substitute it or leave it out. I know the skin on our chicken here looks like it has a pattern on it, it's from our food saver bags. I vacuum seal all the meats I freeze.
- Chicken leg quarters - Use your favorite brand of chicken here, we usually use Perdue or store brand.
- Salt - Highly recommended to enhance all the flavors, but you can reduce the amount if needed.
- Paprika - You can use smoked or regular. We have tried it with both and it really depends on if you like the smoked flavor or not.
- Garlic powder - No substitutions recommended.
- Thyme - If you are not a big thyme fan you can use rosemary in place of the thyme. We use dried thyme, if you use fresh double the amount.
- Black pepper - No substitutions recommended.
Other great grilled dishes
If you love our grilled chicken leg quarters, you will love these other great dishes!
- Perfectly grilled chicken legs
- The best T-bone steaks on the grill
- How to grill a perfect burger
- The best grilled baby back ribs
How to season the leg quarters for the grill
We do not use any marinades on our grilled chicken leg quarters. We think they turn out best with a simple dry rub.
Mix together the salt, paprika, garlic, thyme and pepper in a small prep bowl. Set aside until ready to put on the chicken.
Take the chicken out of the package and remove any large pieces of fat. Sometimes on the bone side you will find large pieces of fat. Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel - this is best for flavor and texture.
Take the dry rub and sprinkle it all over the chicken leg quarters, then rub it all over so it is evenly coating the chicken. Set aside for about 10 minutes before putting the chicken leg quarters on grill.
How long to grill chicken leg quarters on gas grill
All together it will take about 35-40 minutes depending on the thickness of your leg quarters. You need to cook the chicken to at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit (we actually prefer 175 degrees) before eating so please go by temperature and not just the cook times.
First heat the grill to between 400 and 450 degrees Fahrenheit. You will be cooking the grilled chicken leg quarters over direct heat for this recipe. If you do indirect heat, you may need to adjust the times slightly.
Start with the chicken skin side up. Place the chicken leg quarters on grill and close the lid, cook for 10 minutes. Open the grill and flip so the skin side is now down, close the lid and cook for 15 minutes. Flip the leg quarters one more time so the skin side is up. Close the lid and cook about 10 minutes, until they reach at least 165 degrees.
If they are higher then 165 when you check the temperature, it's ok! They are better when they are hotter then 165, the texture is much better and so is the flavor (in our opinion.) We think grilled chicken leg quarters are best at 175 degrees before removing from the grill personally. They do not dry out easily like chicken breasts do so don't sweat it if they are over in temperature.
At 165 degrees the meat may seem a little more rubbery, but it is a safe recommended temperature. At 175-185 (yes you can go beyond 175 with chicken leg quarters), the texture is more soft and tender.
Allow them to rest for about 5 minutes before serving. We like to serve them with loaded potato foil packs or potato wedges cooked along side them on the grill.
Frequently asked questions
Yes you can! The cook times here are for how long to grill chicken leg quarters on a gas grill so they may need to be adjusted for charcoal, depending on the temperature you have your charcoal grill heated to. Cook until they reach at least 165 degrees.
If you have your charcoal grill around 400, you can follow the same cook times before checking temperature.
No, we never parbroil chicken before grilling it. You lose some flavor when you boil it and the skin doesn't get the perfectly crisp texture. I do not recommend doing it.
They only take about 35-40 minutes on the grill so you would be doing extra work and time by boiling it first. It's not worth the flavor loss.
If you have any leftover leg quarters, refrigerate them promptly. I use the meat for various things, depending on how many pieces are left (usually only 1 if we have any.)
Taking the chicken off the bones and adding it to the top of a salad is always a great lunch! You can also put the chicken on bread with some mayo for a quick and easy chicken sandwich. Sometimes I add it to some broth, noodles and veggies for a quick chicken soup.
Grilled Chicken Leg Quarters
- 4 chicken leg quarters
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon paprika smoked or regular
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon thyme dried
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Heat your grill to about 400-450° Fahrenheit.
- In a prep bowl mix together the dry rub ingredients.½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon paprika, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon thyme, ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Take chicken out of the packaging and remove any large pieces of fat (sometimes there is a big piece by the bones.) Pat chicken dry gently with a paper towel.4 chicken leg quarters
- Sprinkle the dry rub over the chicken and gently rub it all over the chicken quarters.
- Place on the grill skin side up. Close the lid and cook for 10 minutes.Flip so skin side is down. Close the lid and cook for 15 minutes. Check the skin to see if it's as dark as you like it, if not cook another couple minutes before flipping again.Flip so the skin side is up. Close the lid and cook for about 10 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches at least 165. We prefer it at 175 here for best texture and flavor (see notes.)
- Remove from the grill and allow to rest at least 5 minutes before serving.
Love the balance of heat in your spice rub. These grilled chicken leg quarters were crispy and juicy at the same time!
Tenia Johnston Mackowiak
Awsome!! Perfect recipe