Fire up the grill, spend some time preparing just the right cuts of meat and monitor the heat to prepare moist and tender grilled chicken. Charcoal grilling takes patience, but the payoff in taste is worth the effort. Just like anything else, a little experience with a grill goes a long way. Once you get more familiar with this cooking method, mastering the process is just a matter of time. Share the rewards of great grilled chicken with family and friends.

Things You'll Need

Remove the grate from the top of the grill and set aside. Place a layer of charcoal briquettes evenly across the bottom of the charcoal grill.

Squirt lighter fluid over the top of the briquettes. Soak the charcoal thoroughly. Carefully light the lighter fluid-soaked coals and allow the flame to burn down. Wait for the coals to turn mostly ashen. Replace the grate over the top of the grill. Big John Grills recommends adjusting the grate to about 3 inches above the coals to reduce flare-ups while sealing in juices.

Boil a pot of water on the stove, while the coals are heating up. Place chicken quarters into the boiling pot and boil for about 20 minutes. The skin will have a yellowish cast and the insides will still have red juices. Taking this step reduces the grill cooking time.

Place the chicken quarters onto the grill. Fire Pit Cooking suggests placing the chicken in the middle of the grill where the temperature is hottest. Monitor the heat, redistributing the coals if they burn too hot. Flip meat with tongs if meat begins to get too brown.

Check the temperature of the meat with the meat thermometer until it reaches 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Apply barbecue sauce to the meat with the brush during the last 15 minutes or so. When cooking is complete, transfer the grilled chicken to a serving platter.


  • Don’t try to flip the leg quarters right away. As the chicken grills, the natural juices will release the meat from the grate, preventing sticking. Fill a spray bottle with vinegar to reduce fiery flare ups while adding great flavor to your chicken.