Reverse Seared Chicken Leg Quarters

Absolutely. It imbues the chicken with smoke before caramelizing the proteins with the sear for a wonderful flavor profile. This is a fantastic way to pack a lot of flavor and protein into the family for a tiny price tag, relative to most other proteins. With food prices what they are, I find myself doing reverse seared chicken leg quarters for my family more and more with the way food prices are lately. This is a fairly simple recipe that any number of ingredients (other than the chicken) could be swapped out for what’s in your pantry/spice rack making it even more of a budget friendly meal. Stay tuned at the end for a rice recipe that pairs well with the leg quarters.  

Here are a couple other budget friendly chicken recipes the whole family will love: Wine Can Chicken and Basil Pesto Sheet Pan Chicken Legs

Reverse Seared Chicken Leg Quarters Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper, optional
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes, optional
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 chicken leg quarters
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, rough chopped (substitute flat leaf parsley if you are one of those folks)

How to prepare chicken leg quarters

First off, we need to go into some food science. 

What are chicken leg quarters?

This is the chicken leg and thigh still connected together. There are two leg quarters per chicken and each one is approximately 25% of the whole bird and is comprised entirely of dark meat which makes them ideal for smoking as the extra fat allows them to handle more heat (and take on more smoke) before cooking all the way through.

Now that we have that taken care of, let’s get after our budget friendly recipe.

Blend all the dry ingredients together in a bowl:

Feel free to omit the cayenne and crushed red pepper flake if you want to remove the heat from this budget friendly recipe, or cut in half to decrease the zing. 

Drizzle the leg quarters with the oil as a binder and coat with the the spice blend:

Prepare the grill for two zone or indirect grilling with coals (or lit burners) on one side and nothing on the other. Put smoke wood on the coals and the chicken on the side with no heat to make a standard charcoal or gas grill into a smoker. In this case, we used the only kamado grill made in the U.S.A. which is the Primo Ceramic Grill. In a kamado, put a plate setter between the coals and the meat to deflect the heat around the chicken. On both situations, the meat will collect all that smoke flavor before we give the meat a sear. Target temp inside the grill is between 250F-300F. 

Once the chicken quarters reaches 155F (in our case about 50 minutes) crank up the heat in the grill to 400F at the grill grate and place the chicken right over the heat and sear on both sides, once the chicken is browned nicely on both sides and tops 165F the chicken is done:

Reverse Seared Chicken Leg Quarters

Serve over the Mexican rice you will find below the recipe card below and sprinkle the rough chopped cilantro (or flat leaf parsley if you are like me):

Reverse Seared Chicken Leg Quarters

Reverse Seared Chicken Leg Quarters Recap

The chicken has a wonderful spice profile to go along with that savory smoke along with caramelized and crispy skin. It has some zing as well, so feel free to cut back on the cayenne and crushed red pepper (or omit it entirely) if that’s not your thing. Substitute smoked paprika to up the smoke flavor even more. 

If you have any questions or comments feel free to leave them below or shoot me an email.

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Reverse Seared Chicken Leg Quarters

Chicken leg quarters, seasoned with zesty spices before being smoked, then seared and served over Mexican rice for reverse seared chicken leg quarters
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Course: Chicken, Entree, Main Course
Cuisine: American Fare, Barbecue, Chicken, Grilling, Mexican, Southwest
Keyword: #Grilled, #Primo, #Smoke, #Smoked, Andouille Smoked Sausage, Chicken, Chicken Leg Quarters, Chicken Quarters, Green Mountain Grills, Grilling, Kamado, Kamado Grill, Leg Quarters, reverse sear, reverse seared, Reverse Seared Leg Quarters
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic substitute garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper optional
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper optional
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 4 chicken leg quarters
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, rough chopped substitute flat leaf parsley

Mexican Rice Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 jalapeños, seeded and diced finely
  • 1 large red bell pepper seeded and diced
  • 1.5 cups cups long grained white rice
  • 1.75 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 8 ounces tomato paste
  • 2 ounces taco seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper optional

Instructions

  • Mix all the seasoning together in a bowl and blend well
  • Drizzle the oil over the chicken as a binder and sprinkle with the blended seasoning
  • Set up the grill for two zone grilling with a target temperature inside the grill between 250F-300F
  • Smoke the chicken until it reaches 155F
  • Crank up the heat of the grill to be at 400F+ at the grill grate and sear the chicken on both sides
  • Once the chicken reaches 165F and is browned on both sides, remove from the grill and serve over Mexican rice listed below

Mexican Rice

  • Add garlic, onions, jalapeños and bell pepper in a pan and sauté over medium heat in the oil
  • Cook until veggies are soft
  • Stir in the remaining rice ingredients one a time and blend completely
  • Bring to a boil then reduce to a low simmer
  • Simmer for 15-20 minutes until the rice is tender
  • Remove the rice from the heat and fluff onto a platter
  • Place the reverse seared chicken leg quarters on the bed or rice

Mexican Rice Preparation Instructions

Add garlic, onions, jalapeños and bell pepper in a pan and sauté over medium heat in the oil. Cook until the veggies are soft:

Stir in the remaining rice ingredients one a time and blend completely. Bring to a boil then reduce to a low simmer. Simmer for 15-20 minutes until the rice is tender:

Place the reverse seared chicken leg quarters on the bed or rice:

Reverse Seared Chicken Leg Quarters

And here are some bonus pics:

Reverse Seared Chicken Leg Quarters

Scott Thomas

Scott Thomas

Scott Thomas, the Original Grillin’ Fool, was sent off to college with a suitcase and a grill where he overcooked, undercooked and burned every piece of meat he could find. After thousands of failures, and quite a few successes, nearly two decades later he started a website to show step by step, picture by picture, foolproof instructions on how to make great things out of doors so that others don’t have to repeat the mistakes he’s made on the grill.
Scott Thomas

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