Chicken quarters consist of the thigh, drumstick and a portion of the back, or the breast, wing and a portion of the back and shoulder. Leg quarters have a deep flavor that holds up well to the aggressive tastes imparted by the smoking process, as well as the curing brine and spice rub that seasons them. Curing and smoking supplement the flavor of breast quarters, which have a milder taste due to their lower fat content. Although cooking times vary according to smokers and outdoor conditions, allow a minimum of one hour of smoking per pound of chicken.

Things You'll Need

Spice Rub

Mix together 2 tbsp. garlic powder, 1 tbsp. freshly ground black pepper, 2 tbsp. dark brown sugar, 1 tbsp. white granulated sugar, 1 tbsp. kosher salt, 1 tbsp. celery salt and 1 tbsp. smoked paprika.

Place the rub mixture in an airtight container.

Store the spice rub for up to six months in a cool, dry place.


Mix together 1 cup kosher salt, 1/4 cup dark brown sugar and 1 gallon cold water.

Add 1 tbsp. freshly ground black pepper and 1 tbsp. smoked paprika to the water-sugar-salt mixture. Mix well.

Add up to 4 chicken quarters per gallon of brine, cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 5 hours.


Remove the chicken quarters from the brine, rinse and pat dry with paper towels. Preheat the smoker to 225 degrees Fahrenheit.

Coat the chicken quarters with a thin layer of olive oil and coat with the spice mixture to taste. Place the chicken quarters in the smoker.

Smoke the chicken quarters for four hours; insert a meat thermometer in the thickest portion of the thigh or breast, depending on which quarters you are smoking, and make sure they have a minimum internal temperature of 175 degrees Fahrenheit. Allow the chicken quarters to rest 15 minutes before serving.