Brined & Smoked Chicken Quarters Recipe

Brined & Smoked Chicken Quarters Recipe

Looking for a smoked chicken recipe? Then you have to try Brined & Smoked Chicken Quarters from John McLemore.

I love it because I can make this brined chicken recipe in my smoker without too much hassle.

This chicken brine recipe also gives me an an excuse to use my Masterbuilt Electric Smoker more often!

You’ll love how the brine hydrates the smoked chicken quarters and ensures a juicy result.

That’s because combining the seasonings and moisture from the brine with the low-and-slow smoking process makes for a perfect piece of chicken.

This smoked chicken recipe is also a terrific way to learn how to brine and smoke before you try it on a big turkey during the holidays.

Start small by making Brined & Smoked Chicken Quarters first!

Brined & Smoked Chicken Quarters on a cutting board with a fork and knife with roasted vegetables

Tips for who to make Brined & Smoked Chicken Quarters

Here are some tips to make your smoked chicken quarters turn out perfectly!

What is a chicken quarter?

The leg quarter is made up of the thigh, drumstick, and part of the back of the chicken.

It's named a quarter because it consists of about a quarter of the entire chicken.

That's a decent portion of poultry and should fill you up along with a side dish or salad.

Brush away!

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 smoked chicken skin turn a nice golden brown, too.

Gluten free soy sauce

If you’re gluten free, use tamari sauce instead of soy sauce. Some grocery stores do stock gluten free soy sauce.

However, I find that many brands of GF free soy sauce are made with a lot of less-than-wholesome ingredients, so check the label before buying to see what you're comfortable with.

What types of pellets?

Finally, I recommend making this smoked chicken recipe with apple pellets or cherry pellets in your electric smoker.

I like either kind for chicken and turkey smoking.

More smoking and grilling recipes from John McLemore

Along with this smoked chicken recipe, John McLemore’s book, DADGUM That’s Good, Too! is a valuable addition to my barbecuing cookbook collection.

John’s mission is to make it fun to cook up traditional Southern recipes like brisket, baby back ribs, and Boston butt 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 chicken quarters, but if you want to cook up a smoked or deep fried turkey for the holidays, 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.

Lots of yummy holiday smoking recipes to choose from!

If you’re looking for a better for you take on smoking and grilling, John wrote Dadgum That's Good. . . and Healthy!: Lightened-up Favorites for Smoking, Frying and Grilling! that also has rave reviews.


Brined & Smoked Chicken Quarters Recipe

Brined & Smoked Chicken Quarters Recipe

You’ll love Brined & Smoked Chicken Quarters because you can make a brined and smoked chicken recipe in your smoker without too much hassle.

Prep Time 1 hour
Additional Time 8 hours
Cook Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 12 hours 30 minutes


  • 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 and peeled ginger root
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 gallons ice water
  • 4 chicken quarters
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Suggested wood: apple


  1. 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.
  2. When the mixture is cooled, stir in 2 gallons of 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.
  3. Preheat smoker to 225°F.
  4. 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 the middle rack of smoker and smoke for 3 to 3 1/2 hours or until internal temperature reaches 165°F. Remove meat from the smoker and enjoy!

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 chicken quarter

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 270Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 80mgSodium: 61mgCarbohydrates: 6gFiber: 1gSugar: 5gProtein: 20g

Nutritional information is automatically calculated per the ingredients list. Serving size may not be accurate. Please double-check with your preferred nutritional app for the most accurate information.

Recipe and pictures courtesy of John McLemore and Masterbuilt.

Originally published on October 9, 2012 and June 1, 2016. Updated with new pictures and information.

Photo credit: Adobe Stock

Brined & Smoked Chicken Quarters Recipe

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Recipe rating: 5 4 3 2 1