How To Grill Chicken Quarters On Charcoal Grill

How To Grill Chicken Quarters On Charcoal Grill

Fire up the grill and get ready to impress your friends and family with juicy, flavorful chicken quarters cooked to perfection over charcoal. 

To grill chicken quarters on a charcoal grill, season them well, preheat the grill, cook over indirect heat for 30-35 minutes, then sear over direct heat for crispy skin.

In this blog post, we’ll show you step-by-step how to master the art of grilling chicken quarters on a charcoal grill. 

From seasoning tips to temperature control tricks, you’ll be grilling like a pro in no time. 

So grab your apron and let’s get cooking!

Benefits of grilling chicken quarters on a charcoal grill

Grilling chicken quarters on a charcoal grill has been a favorite cooking method for many people. 

Whether it’s for a backyard barbecue, camping trip, or just a regular dinner at home, there are plenty of benefits to grilling chicken on charcoal. 

Not only does it add a unique and smoky flavor to the meat, but it also produces juicy and tender results that are hard to achieve with other cooking methods.

Here are some specific benefits of grilling chicken quarters on a charcoal grill:

1. Enhances Flavor

One of the main benefits of grilling chicken quarters on a charcoal grill is the enhanced flavor it adds to the meat. 

The combination of heat and smoke from the burning coals infuses into the chicken, creating a delicious and distinct taste that cannot be replicated with other cooking methods.

2. Creates Juicier Meat

Another advantage of using a charcoal grill is that it helps to keep the juices in the meat while cooking. 

The high heat generated by the coals seals in moisture, preventing dryness and resulting in succulent and juicy chicken quarters every time.

3. Provides Versatility

Charcoal grills offer versatility when it comes to temperature control. By adjusting the amount of coal or by moving them around, you can easily create different heat zones on your grill, allowing you to cook your chicken at different temperatures depending on your preference.

4. Healthier Option

Grilling is generally considered one of the healthier ways of cooking since excess fat drips off during the process rather than being absorbed back into the food as with frying or baking methods. 

Additionally, using lump wood charcoal instead of briquettes eliminates any added chemicals or additives found in processed fuels.

5. Easy Cleanup

Unlike gas grills that require thorough cleaning after each use due to grease buildup, charcoal grills have fewer components and are relatively easy to clean up once they have cooled down. 

Simply remove any leftover ashes from previous uses, and you’re good to go for your next grilling session.

6. Affordable

Charcoal grills are generally more affordable than their gas counterparts, making them an attractive option for those on a budget. 

Also, charcoal is readily available in most stores at a reasonable price, making it a cost-effective way of cooking delicious chicken quarters.

Choosing the right chicken quarters for grilling

When it comes to grilling chicken quarters on a charcoal grill, choosing the right type of chicken is crucial for achieving delicious and juicy results. 

Here are some factors to consider when selecting the perfect chicken quarters for grilling:

1. Freshness

The first thing to look for when choosing chicken quarters is freshness. You want to make sure that the meat is firm and has a pinkish color. Avoid any pieces that have an off smell or appear discolored.

2. Size and Weight

Chicken quarters come in various sizes and weights, so it’s important to select ones that are similar in size for even cooking. This will ensure that all pieces are done at the same time, preventing some from being overcooked while others are undercooked.

3. Skin-on or Skinless

When it comes to grilling chicken quarters, you have the option of buying them with skin on or skinless. If you prefer crispy skin, then opt for skin-on chicken quarters. However, if you’re looking for a healthier option, go for skinless ones.

4. Organic or Conventional

It’s always recommended to choose organic chicken as they are raised without antibiotics and hormones, making them a healthier choice overall.

5. Brined vs Non-Brined

Some stores sell pre-brined chicken which can be a good option if you want added flavor and moisture in your grilled chicken quarters. However, if you prefer controlling the seasoning yourself, then opt for non-brined ones.

6. Bone-in or Boneless

Both bone-in and boneless chicken quarters can be grilled successfully on a charcoal grill, but bone-in usually takes longer to cook than boneless cuts since bones act as insulators against heat transfer.

7. Quality of Meat

Pay attention to the quality of meat when choosing chicken quarters for grilling on a charcoal grill. Look out for any excess fat or dark spots which can result in uneven cooking and affect the taste of your grilled chicken.

Prepping the chicken quarters for the grill

When it comes to grilling chicken quarters on a charcoal grill, proper preparation is key. This will not only ensure that the chicken cooks evenly and thoroughly, but also adds flavor and juiciness to the final dish.

 In this section, we will discuss how to prep the chicken quarters before placing them on the grill.

1. Clean and Trim the Chicken Quarters:

The first step in prepping your chicken quarters for the grill is to clean them thoroughly. Rinse each piece under cold running water and pat them dry with paper towels. 

It is important to remove any excess moisture from the skin as this can cause flare-ups on the grill.

Next, trim off any excess fat or loose skin from the chicken quarters using a sharp knife or kitchen shears. Leaving too much fat on can result in greasy and unevenly cooked chicken.

2. Marinate or Season:

Marinating or seasoning your chicken quarters before grilling is a great way to add depth of flavor and tenderize the meat. 

If you are short on time, simply sprinkle some salt, pepper, and your choice of herbs or spices onto both sides of each quarter.

However, for maximum flavor, marinating is highly recommended. You can use store-bought marinades or make your own using ingredients like olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, soy sauce, honey, etc. 

Let the chicken quarters marinate for at least 30 minutes (or up to 24 hours) in the refrigerator before grilling.

3. Bring Chicken Quarters to Room Temperature:

Before placing your marinated or seasoned chicken quarters onto the grill, it is important to let them come to room temperature first. This allows for more even cooking throughout and reduces the risk of undercooked meat.

Take out your marinated/seasoned chicken from the fridge about 20-30 minutes before grilling so that they have enough time to reach room temperature while you prepare your grill.

4. Oil the Grill Grates:

To prevent the chicken quarters from sticking to the grill grates, it is important to oil them before cooking. You can use a paper towel dipped in vegetable oil and rub it onto the hot grates using tongs. Alternatively, you can also spray non-stick cooking spray on the grates.

5. Preheat Your Charcoal Grill:

Before placing your chicken quarters onto the grill, make sure that your charcoal grill is preheated to medium-high heat (around 375-400 degrees Fahrenheit). This will ensure that the outside of the chicken gets nicely charred while remaining juicy on the inside.

Setting up the charcoal grill and achieving the perfect temperature

Setting up the charcoal grill and achieving the perfect temperature is a crucial step in grilling chicken quarters. 

The right temperature ensures that your chicken is cooked evenly, giving it a juicy and flavorful taste. 

In this section, we will guide you through the process of setting up your charcoal grill for the perfect grilling experience.

Step 1: Selecting the right charcoal

The first step to setting up your grill is to choose the right type of charcoal. There are two main types of charcoal – briquettes and lump charcoal.

Briquettes are compressed blocks of sawdust, while lump charcoals are natural pieces of wood that have been charred. 

Both have their own benefits, but lump charcoal tends to burn hotter and faster, making it ideal for grilling chicken quarters.

Step 2: Preparing the coals

Once you have selected your preferred type of charcoal, it’s time to prepare them for lighting. You can either use a chimney starter or lighter fluid to light your coals. 

Using a chimney starter is considered safer as it eliminates the need for lighter fluid which can impart an unpleasant taste on your food.

Step 3: Lighting the coals

If using a chimney starter, fill it with enough coal to cover half its height and place some crumpled newspaper at the bottom before placing it on top of your grill grate. Light the newspaper from below until all coals are lit evenly.

Step 4: Spreading out the coals

After about 15-20 minutes, when most of the coals have turned greyish-white, carefully spread them out evenly on one side of your grill using long tongs. 

This creates two cooking zones- direct heat zone (where you directly cook over hot coals) and indirect heat zone (where you cook away from direct heat). 

For grilling chicken quarters, we recommend cooking over indirect heat as this allows for slower cooking and prevents the chicken from burning.

Step 5: Achieving the perfect temperature

The ideal grilling temperature for chicken quarters is between 375-425°F. 

To achieve this, place a grill thermometer on the indirect heat zone and close the lid of your grill. Adjusting the vents on your grill can also help control the temperature. 

Opening them will increase airflow and raise the temperature, while closing them will decrease airflow and lower the temperature.

Tips for marinating and seasoning chicken quarters for maximum flavor

Marinating and seasoning chicken quarters properly is the key to achieving maximum flavor when grilling. 

This step is crucial in infusing the meat with delicious flavors and also helps in tenderizing it for a juicy and succulent texture. 

Here are some tips to help you marinate and season your chicken quarters for the best possible taste on your charcoal grill.

1. Start with a Good Marinade:

The first step to achieving flavorful chicken quarters is choosing a good marinade. 

A marinade typically consists of an acidic ingredient like lemon juice or vinegar, oil, herbs, spices, and aromatics. 

The acid helps in breaking down the tough fibers of the meat while adding flavor. 

You can either use store-bought marinades or make your own using ingredients like soy sauce, honey, garlic, and herbs.

2. Marinate for at least 30 minutes:

To get the most out of your marinade, it’s important to give it enough time to work its magic on the chicken quarters. 

Ideally, you should marinate the chicken for at least 30 minutes before cooking. However, if you have more time on hand, you can leave it in the fridge for up to 24 hours.

3. Make sure the Chicken is Covered:

To ensure that every inch of your chicken gets flavored evenly, make sure that it is completely covered in marinade while it sits in the fridge. 

You can do this by placing the chicken and marinade in a ziplock bag or using a large bowl with a lid.

4. Add Some Seasonings:

While marinating adds tons of flavor to your chicken quarters, adding some extra seasonings before grilling will take it up a notch! You can sprinkle some additional herbs or spices on top of your marinated chicken just before cooking.

5.Essential Seasoning Tips: 

When selecting seasonings for your grilled chicken quarters keep these tips in mind:

  • Use coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to enhance the flavor of the meat.
  • A blend of garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika adds a smoky, savory flavor that pairs well with grilled chicken.
  • For a kick of heat, add cayenne pepper or chili flakes to your seasoning mix.
  • Don’t forget to add some fresh herbs like thyme or rosemary for an aromatic touch.

Marinating and seasoning your chicken quarters before grilling is essential for achieving maximum flavor. With these tips in mind, you can elevate the taste of your grilled chicken and impress your family and friends with juicy, flavorful meat every time. 

Step-by-step guide on how to grill chicken quarters on a charcoal grill

Grilling chicken quarters on a charcoal grill requires a bit of preparation and technique, but the end result is worth the effort. 

Follow these simple steps for perfectly grilled chicken quarters every time.

Step 1: Prepare the Chicken Quarters

Start by rinsing the chicken quarters under cold running water and patting them dry with paper towels. 

Then, season them generously with your choice of spices or marinade. 

A simple yet delicious option is to mix together olive oil, minced garlic, salt, pepper, and your favorite herbs in a bowl and rub it onto the chicken quarters.

Step 2: Set up the Charcoal Grill

Before starting your grill, make sure you have enough charcoal briquettes to create an even layer across the bottom of your grill. 

Light the charcoal using either a chimney starter or lighter fluid according to manufacturer’s instructions. 

Once lit, allow the coals to burn for about 20 minutes until they are covered with white ash.

Step 3: Create Direct and Indirect Heat Zones

Spread out the hot coals evenly across one half of the grill while leaving the other half empty. This will create two heat zones – direct heat for searing and indirect heat for slow cooking.

Step 4: Place Chicken Quarters on Grill

Place each seasoned chicken quarter skin-side down over direct heat first. Using tongs, carefully place them on top of the hot coals in a single layer without overcrowding. 

After about five minutes, flip them over to sear on both sides before moving them to indirect heat.

Step 5: Cook Over Indirect Heat

Once all chicken quarters are seared on both sides, move them over to indirect heat – placing them skin-side up this time. 

Close the lid of your grill and let them cook for approximately another 30-40 minutes depending on their size. 

Use an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of meat (not touching bone) to check for doneness. The internal temperature should reach 165°F.

Step 6: Baste with Sauce (optional)

If desired, baste the chicken quarters with your favorite BBQ sauce during the last 10-15 minutes of cooking. This will add an extra layer of flavor and create a delicious glaze on the outside of the chicken.

Step 7: Rest and Enjoy

Once done, remove the chicken quarters from the grill and let them rest for about five minutes before serving. 

This will allow the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in tender and juicy chicken quarters. Serve with your favorite sides and enjoy!

Checking for doneness and safety precautions when handling grilled chicken quarters

When it comes to grilling chicken quarters on a charcoal grill, it is important to ensure that they are fully cooked and safe to eat. Undercooked chicken can pose a serious health risk due to the presence of harmful bacteria such as salmonella.

To check for doneness, use a meat thermometer and insert it into the thickest part of the chicken quarter. 

The internal temperature should reach 165°F (74°C) for the chicken to be considered safe to consume. 

If you do not have a meat thermometer, you can also make a small incision in the thickest part of the chicken and check if there is any pinkness or bloody juices. 

If so, continue cooking until the chicken is no longer pink and the juices run clear.

In addition to ensuring proper doneness, there are also some safety precautions that should be followed when handling grilled chicken quarters:

1. Wash your hands before and after handling raw chicken

It is important to wash your hands with soap and warm water before handling raw chicken to prevent cross-contamination. After handling raw chicken, make sure to wash your hands thoroughly again.

2. Use separate utensils

When grilling chicken quarters, it is essential to use separate utensils for handling raw and cooked meat. This helps prevent bacteria from spreading onto already cooked food.

3. Marinate safely

If marinating your chicken quarters, make sure to do so in the refrigerator rather than at room temperature. Also, discard any leftover marinade that has come into contact with raw meat.

4. Keep an eye on flare-ups

Grilling over charcoal can sometimes result in flare-ups due to dripping fat or marinade hitting hot coals. Keep a close eye on these flare-ups as they can quickly char or burn your chicken quarters.

5.Use tongs instead of forks

When flipping or moving your grilled chickens quarters, always use tongs instead of forks which can pierce through the meat and allow juices to escape, leading to dry chicken.


Grilling chicken quarters on a charcoal grill is a delicious and easy way to enjoy this popular protein. 

By following these tips, you can achieve perfectly grilled chicken quarters every time. Remember to marinate the chicken for added flavor, use indirect heat for even cooking, and check the internal temperature before taking it off the grill. 

Whether you’re hosting a backyard barbecue or looking for a simple weeknight meal, grilling chicken quarters is sure to be a hit with family and friends. So fire up that charcoal grill and get ready to impress your taste buds!

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