This leg and thigh chicken quarters smoked Traeger recipe come out great. Marinated first you’ll get tender meat with flavorful skin you can crisp.
Smoked chicken quarters are to die for. Whether you use our smoked chicken brine or just season with salt and pepper you will get smoky meat with tons of flavor. A cheap meal when you leave the leg and thighs together. (affiliate links present)
Traeger Chicken Quarters
Yesterday we shared our baked chicken leg quarters, that were beyond fantastic. We marinated them the same way with our sweet and savory blend. Submerging and leaving it in the fridge overnight lends to the best flavors and the moistest meat you will ever try.
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If you have never cooked this cut you’re in for a treat. Leaving both dark meat pieces together not only lends to more meat in each serving but they are cheap too. The less prep the butcher needs to do the more inexpensive it is basically. You will get both smoked chicken thighs AND a drumstick with each piece too.
Smoked Chicken Leg Quarters
You could certainly cook more than 4 at a time but the marinade explained below typically will only submerge that many. You’d just need to double or triple that if you wanted to soak and cook more at once. Another alternative would be to brush with olive oil and use our dry rub for chicken instead. That one is sweet and savory, with brown sugar.
- 3-4 chicken leg quarters
- 1 pinch salt and pepper
- Mustard Sauce
- 1/2 c dijon mustard
- 3 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
We used a quick mustard sauce for the top but you could swap that out for barbecue or teriyaki even. You just whip that up at the end and brush it on. Alternatively if you wanted to have it kinda’ bake on to the outside, add it 30 minutes before it is done so it sticks nicely.
The same steps would be followed if you chose to separate the two pieces. You would just cut down the timing a bit, until the thickest part reached 165 F internally and falls off the bone.
How Long to Smoke Chicken Quarters
If you did decide to brine first, remove from liquid and pat dry with paper towels. Right out of package, rinse and pat dry skin. Place chicken quarters on a wire rack with a rimmed sheet pan or the casserole dish if it fits. Put in refrigerator 12-16 hours until the skin is dry. Drying the chicken skin will create the best texture when smoked.
- Step one: Fill smoker with hardwood BBQ pellets.
- Step two: Prepare smoker by placing 2-3 long sheets of aluminum foil along the bottom of the smoker element, underneath the rack, for easy cleanup.
- Step three: Brush grill rack clean. Set smoker to smoke.
- Step four: Once it starts smoking, set temperature to 250°.
- Step five: Put chicken legs and thighs on pellet grill grate, skin side up. Close the lid and wait.
- same way for just smoked chicken drumsticks
- In a small bowl, mix together mustard sauce ingredients.
- Cover and set aside until ready to serve.
- This can also be made the night before, store in refrigerator until you put the chicken on the smoker, then take the sauce out to come to room temp.
When Traeger chicken leg quarters reaches internal temperature reaches 165 F in thickest part, about 1.5 hours, then remove the chicken. Allow to rest 3-5 minutes. Brush skin with mustard or bbq sauce and serve. Quicker than our Crockpot chicken leg quarters but both will need a bit of broiling to “fix the skin”.
Brined Chicken Leg Quarters
I highly suggest soaking first. If you do want to brine or marinate your meat beforehand you should think ahead. It will take a good few hours for them to soak for the best results, you could leave overnight too. This is how to cook chicken leg quarters with the following ingredients in a large casserole dish or flatter bowl to soak;
- 2 quart water PLUS
◦ 1⁄2 cup kosher salt and brown sugar
◦ 2 tsp rosemary and dry sage
◦ 1.5 tsp marjoram
◦ 1 tsp black peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves
In a quart jar or medium bowl, create brine by mixing together water, salt, and 1⁄2 cup brown sugar. Mix to combine. Set aside. Place chicken quarters in a casserole pan. Pour brine over chicken quarters. Add spices. Cover casserole pan and place in refrigerator for 5 hours. This will give you very juicy chicken made this way or as Instant Pot leg quarters!
If this is just a no go for you I would suggest just making bbq chicken at the end using bottled sauce. Best way is to brush it on 30 minutes before the end of your cook time and then crisp at the end. That way it will caramelize a bit and stick to your skin nicely.
How to get crispy skin on smoked chicken thighs?
We do the same steps whether we make smoked chicken breasts or with the leg and thigh like here. First tip is to follow the direction to keep them in the fridge for 12 hours to dry out the skin. Another is to use a chicken rub with brown sugar in it.
We have several dry rub recipes like this to choose from here. Third, you can crank the heat up once it barely reaches temp to 400 degrees. Lastly you can remove and set under a broiler or in an air fryer for a few minutes.
What to serve with smoked chicken thighs
I have made smoked vegetables before, sliced in an aluminum pan next to my main dish. That is handy to have everything done at the same time and cooked outside (especially during the hot summer days).
Other easy side dishes would be a side salad, baked potatoes on smoker or just make a batch of butter noodles. We hope you enjoy the smoked chicken quarter recipe below!
Want to see a few of my favorite things that I am totally obsessed with?? Take a peek and see how many you might already have…twinsies!
Chicken Quarters Smoked
- 1 smoker
- If you did decide to bring first, remove from liquid and pat dry with paper towels. Right out of package, rinse and pat dry skin. Place chicken quarters on a wire rack with a rimmed sheet pan or the casserole dish if it fits. Place in refrigerator 12-16 hours until the skin is dry.
- Fill smoker with hardwood BBQ pellets. Prepare smoker by placing 2-3 long sheets of aluminum foil along the bottom of the smoker element, underneath the rack, for easy cleanup. Brush grill rack clean. Set smoker to smoke.
- Once it starts smoking, set temperature to 250°. Place chicken quarters on smoker, skin side up. In a small bowl, mix together mustard sauce ingredients. Cover and set aside until ready to serve.
- This can also be made the night before, store in refrigerator until you put the chicken on the smoker, then take the sauce out to come to room temp. When chicken reaches temperature, 165°, about 1.5 hours, then remove from smoker.
- Allow to rest 3-5 minutes. Brush skin with mustard sauce and serve.