If you’ve ever wondered “how to grill chicken leg quarters on a charcoal grill”, then you’ve come to the right place.
My name is Ovi Tanchangya, a seasoned griller and outdoor enthusiast, ready to share my secret barbecue tricks with you.
This article will transcend your grilling skills, setting expectations for a finger-licking, smoky, and succulent feast like no other.
With a promise to make your mouth water, we’re about to explore the flavors of perfectly grilled chicken leg quarters.
Expect to grasp the art of achieving that perfect char and juicy interior with every read.
Ready to embark on this savory adventure? Keep reading to light your way to the ultimate BBQ experience.
Choosing the Right Ingredients
Your grilling adventure begins long before you fire up the charcoal. It starts at your local grocery store or butcher’s shop. Here, your mission is to pick the best ingredients – specifically the chicken leg quarters and the marinade.
Selecting the Chicken
Quality ingredients equal quality results. In this case, we’re talking about the star of the show: the chicken leg quarters.
When selecting chicken leg quarters, freshness is key. Look for chicken with a pinkish hue and avoid any that has a gray color or a strong odor – these are signs that the chicken isn’t fresh. The skin should be dry and void of any tears. Remember, a good quality chicken leg quarter will result in a juicy, delicious meal, while a subpar choice might leave you with a tough, dry piece of meat.
Choosing the Right Marinade
Once you’ve got the chicken in hand, the next step is choosing the right marinade. The marinade is like the secret sauce to a spectacular grilling experience. It imparts flavor and tenderizes the meat, making it juicy and delicious.
But how do you choose the right one? It’s all about the flavor profile you want. Do you prefer something spicy, sweet, or tangy? A classic BBQ sauce offers a bit of sweetness, while a marinade with mustard and honey provides a delightful tangy flavor.
For a quick and simple marinade, mix olive oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, salt, and pepper. Want to add a bit of heat? Throw in some red pepper flakes. Remember, the longer you let the chicken marinate, the more flavorful it will be – ideally, let it sit in the marinade overnight.
In short, grilling chicken leg quarters on a charcoal grill isn’t just about cooking; it’s an experience – from selecting the freshest chicken and choosing the right marinade to the actual grilling process. It’s about creating memories, igniting your taste buds, and sharing a delicious meal with friends and family.
Preparation Before Grilling
Just like any great adventure, the journey to the perfect grilled chicken leg quarters starts with a little prep work. It’s not just about slapping the chicken onto the grill. Oh no, there’s a bit of culinary finesse involved. The process entails marinating the chicken and setting up your charcoal grill. So, let’s roll up our sleeves and get started, shall we?
Marinating the Chicken
Marinating is not just about soaking your chicken leg quarters in some sauce. It’s an art of infusing flavors, enhancing the taste, and tenderizing the meat. Here’s how you can do it:
- Start by rinsing your chicken leg quarters under cold water. Pat them dry with a paper towel.
- Now, let’s prepare the marinade. Remember that mix of olive oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, salt, and pepper we talked about? Combine those ingredients in a large bowl.
- Submerge the chicken leg quarters in the marinade. Ensure they’re well coated, then cover the bowl with some cling film.
- Refrigerate your marinating chicken. The ideal marinating time is overnight for maximum flavor, but if you’re short on time, aim for at least two hours.
Setting Up the Charcoal Grill
Setting up a charcoal grill is more than just lighting it up. Safety and efficiency are of paramount importance. So, let’s get our grill ready:
- Clean your grill. Start with a clean slate by removing any ashes or leftover food particles from the previous session.
- Arrange the charcoal. Stack the charcoal in a pyramid shape in the grill, then douse it with lighter fluid. Give it a minute to soak in before lighting.
- Light the charcoal. Use a long match or lighter to avoid getting too close to the flames.
- Let it burn. Allow the charcoal to burn until it’s covered with white-gray ash. This usually takes about 10-15 minutes.
- Arrange your coals. For chicken leg quarters, arrange the coals for two-zone cooking – a hot zone for searing and a cooler zone for slow cooking.
Grill Chicken Leg Quarters on Charcoal Grill: The Process
With your chicken marinated and your grill prepped and ready to go, it’s time to move on to the main event – the grilling.
Placing the Chicken on the Grill
Placement on the grill plays a key role in how your chicken will cook. First, you need to place your chicken skin side down on the hot side of the grill for about 5-10 minutes until the skin gets those beautiful grill marks and turns a delicious golden-brown. Managing your grill temperature is also crucial – aim for a medium heat of around 350-375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Grilling the Chicken Leg Quarters
Once the chicken is on the grill, the magic begins. Grill the chicken quarters on one side for about 15-20 minutes, then flip them over using tongs. The goal is to achieve a golden-brown color with crispy skin.
Keep a close eye on the temperature and adjust as needed to prevent flare-ups. If a flare-up does occur, move the chicken away from the flames until they subside.
After flipping, grill the chicken for another 15-20 minutes. To ensure the chicken is thoroughly cooked, use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. It should read at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit at the thickest part of the chicken.
In short, to grill chicken leg quarters on a charcoal grill, season them well, preheat your grill to medium heat, place the chicken on the grill skin-side down for about 15 minutes, then flip and grill for another 15-25 minutes until internal temperature reaches 165°F.
And there you have it, my fellow grilling enthusiasts – beautifully grilled chicken leg quarters that are sure to be a crowd-pleaser at your next barbeque.
Also learn: Grill Chicken Leg Quarters on Gas Grill
Whew, the flames have subsided and you’ve lifted your beautiful chicken leg quarters off the grill. But hold on, don’t dig in just yet! There are a couple of post-grilling steps that can elevate your grilled chicken from delicious to downright delectable. Let’s discuss the importance of resting the chicken and how to serve it up in style.
Resting and Checking the Chicken
It might be tempting to dig into your juicy, grilled chicken quarters straight off the grill, but patience is key here. Allowing the chicken to rest for about 10-15 minutes is a game changer. Resting allows the juices to redistribute throughout the chicken, ensuring every bite is juicy and flavorful.
While the chicken is resting, it’s also a great time to confirm that your chicken is fully cooked. If you didn’t check the internal temperature on the grill, do it now. The chicken should be at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit at the thickest part. And the juices? They should run clear.
Presentation can take a meal from good to gourmet. Arrange your chicken leg quarters on a platter and garnish with some fresh herbs like parsley or cilantro for an added pop of color.
As for sides, nothing beats classic BBQ favorites like corn on the cob, coleslaw, or a hearty potato salad. And let’s not forget the sauce. While the marinade has already given your chicken plenty of flavor, having a sauce on the side like BBQ or a spicy buffalo can allow everyone to personalize their plate.
Learn more BBQ guide: Grill Chicken Wings on Charcoal Grill
Expert Tips and Tricks
Just when you thought we were done, we’ve got some more tricks up our sleeves! Even the most seasoned grillers can always learn something new. Let’s discuss some common mistakes to avoid, hear from expert grillers, and understand how to adapt the process for different flavors.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
One of the most common mistakes grillers make is not allowing the grill to reach the right temperature before starting. Patience is key! Also, resist the urge to constantly flip your chicken quarters. One or two flips are enough. And remember, marinades can burn easily due to the sugar content. So, watch out for flare-ups!
Tips from Expert Grillers
Expert grillers always stress on the importance of cleaning your grill grates before every use. This prevents your chicken from sticking and keeps flavors pure. Also, don’t be afraid to play around with indirect heat. For larger chicken quarters, searing them over direct heat and then moving them to a cooler part of the grill to finish cooking can yield fantastic results.
Adapting the Process for Different Flavors
Finally, feel free to experiment! Grilling chicken is an art, and part of the fun is trying out different flavor combinations. From spicy to sweet, Asian-inspired to classic American BBQ, the possibilities are endless. Just remember, the principles of grilling remain the same – it’s the marinades and seasonings that can add variety.
Read more: How to Grill Pork Tenderloin
FAQs about Grill Chicken Leg Quarters on Charcoal Grill
How Long to Cook Chicken Leg Quarters on Charcoal Grill?
Chicken leg quarters should be cooked on a charcoal grill for approximately 30-40 minutes, turning them every 10 minutes for even cooking.
How Long to Cook Leg Quarters on Pit Boss Pellet Grill?
Leg quarters should be cooked on a Pit Boss Pellet Grill for approximately 60-75 minutes at 350°F, until they reach an internal temperature of 165°F.
How Do You Cook Chicken Leg Quarters on a Weber Charcoal Grill?
To cook chicken leg quarters on a Weber charcoal grill, preheat the grill, place the seasoned chicken skin-side down on the grill, cook for about 15 minutes, then flip and continue to cook for 15-25 minutes until they reach an internal temperature of 165°F.
How to Grill Chicken Legs and Thighs on Charcoal Grill?
To grill chicken legs and thighs on a charcoal grill, season them, preheat your grill to medium heat, place them on the grill skin-side down for 10-15 minutes, then flip and grill for another 10-20 minutes until they reach an internal temperature of 165°F.
As the smoke clears and the savory smell of freshly grilled chicken quarters lingers in the air, it’s time to reflect on our grilling adventure. From choosing the right ingredients to mastering the grilling process, each step plays a pivotal role in achieving that tantalizing, mouth-watering result. So, what have we learned?
Well, for starters, we now understand that grilling is more than just slapping some chicken onto a hot grill. It’s about the careful selection of quality chicken leg quarters, it’s about the marriage of flavors in the right marinade, and the patience needed during the marinating process. We’ve seen the importance of setting up the grill safely and efficiently, and learned how to manage temperature for optimal cooking. We’ve also learned the importance of post-grilling steps like resting the chicken and presenting it beautifully on the plate.
But what’s next?
Well, as I always say, practice makes perfect! The more you grill, the more comfortable you’ll get with the process. Every time you fire up that charcoal grill, you’re adding to your grilling experience, refining your technique, and of course, creating delicious meals for you and your loved ones to enjoy.
Now go forth, dear reader, and conquer the grill!
Happy grilling, everyone!
Read more: How Long to Cook Brisket on Charcoal Grill