When I was sent the recipe for “Dadgum, That's Good” Brined & Smoked Chicken Quarters, I was thrilled. Not only did it involve a simple chicken brining recipe, but it gave me an excuse to use my Masterbuilt Electric Smoker. I’m always on the lookout for easy smoked chicken recipes, which is why I was pleased to add John McLemore’s book, DADGUM That’s Good, Too! to my barbecuing cookbook collection.
What I like about this brined and smoked chicken recipe is that both processes give the chicken leg quarters maximum smoking taste and texture. First, brining the chicken hydrates the meat and ensures a juicy result. Second, the smoking process infuses smoky flavor into the chicken. Combining the seasonings and moisture from the brine with the low-and-slow smoking process makes for a perfect piece of chicken.
Also, if you’re nervous about brining and smoking a big turkey during the holidays, you can practice and start small by brining chicken quarters first!
More Dadgum Good smoking and grilling
John’s mission is to make it fun to cook up traditional Southern recipes like brisket, baby back ribs, Boston butt and recipes like “Dadgum, That's Good” Brined & Smoked Chicken Quarters using Masterbuilt electric smokers, grills and indoor fryers. However, his cookbook isn’t all about meat. He shares recipes for Southern classics like blackberry cobbler, shrimp and grits and gumbo, too.
John’s barbecue recipes are simple, straightforward and perfect for those new to smoking, grilling, and deep frying. Not only are there recipes for smoked recipe brine chicken, but if you want to cook up a smoked or deep fried turkey for the holidays or a summer barbecue, Dadgum, That's Good, Too! contains recipes for Brined Whole Turkey, Dadgum Good Smoked Turkey, Garlic and Herb Deep-Fried Turkey, and Smokin’ Fried Turkey.
If you’re looking for a healthier take on smoking and grilling, John wrote Dadgum That's Good. . . and Healthy!: Lightened-up Favorites for Smoking, Frying and Grilling! that has rave reviews.
This Mama’s tips for making Brined & Smoked Chicken Quarters
Here are some tips to make your brined and smoked chicken leg quarters turn out perfectly!
- Don’t skip brushing the chicken quarters with olive oil. Not only does it help the chicken retain moisture during the smoking process. The oil helps the skin turn a nice golden brown, too.
- If you’re gluten free, use tamari sauce instead of soy sauce. Some grocery stores do stock gluten free soy sauce, but I find that it’s made with a lot of less-than-wholesome ingredients, so check the label before buying
- John recommends smoking with apple pellets for smoking the brined chicken quarters in your Masterbuilt Electric Smoker. I also like using cherry pellets on chicken or turkey.
“Dadgum, That's Good” Brined & Smoked Chicken Quarters
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups molasses
- 2 cups kosher salt
- 1/4 cup soy sauce (gluten free)
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated peeled ginger root
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 gallons ice water
- 4 chicken quarters
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Suggested wood: apple
- In a large stockpot over medium heat, combine 2 cups water, molasses and salt. Bring to a boil until salt is dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, ginger and garlic powder. Set aside and let cool.
- When mixture is cooled, stir in 2 gallons ice water, mixing well. Place each chicken quarter in a brining bag or oversized plastic bag. Pour brining mixture over each chicken quarter and place in a bowl. Refrigerate, turning once, for 6 to 8 hours. A plastic bucket that is deep enough to have the meat completely covered will also work.
- Preheat smoker to 225°F.
- Remove chicken from brine after at least 6 hours, and rinse thoroughly to remove any remaining salt. Pat dry and brush with olive oil. Place on middle rack of smoker and smoke for 3 to 3 1/2 hours or until internal temperature reaches 165°F. Remove meat from smoker and enjoy!
- Serving size: 1/8 of recipe
Recipe courtesy of John McLemore and Masterbuilt.
Originally published on October 9, 2012. Updated with new pictures.
Photo credit: Adobe Stock
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