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Primo’s Italian Chicken Leg Quarters

A black platter with smoked chicken. Also in the backdrop are plates, mushrooms, and mashed potatoes.d
Chicken Hindquarters are economical and so moist when smoked on the Primo!

Hubby declared, “This is the best chicken ever!” To be exact, the best chicken leg quarters ever! No matter what, the Italian seasoning with baking powder added created crispy chicken skin that was so delicious. On top of that, the Primo Grill did it’s smoking magic and the chicken was plump, flavorful, and moist even though it did not soak in a brine. I’m eager to tell you all of my tips for smoking Italian Chicken Leg Quarters so please, read on!

Thank you to Primo Ceramic Grills for sponsoring this post!

5 chicken hindquarters are on a rack in a Primo Grill.
I love my Primo Grill! The design allows for a perfect cook on chicken.

Chicken is So Affordable 

Budgets are tight but we still need to feed the family! Plus, Spring has arrived and we want to climb out of hibernation and invite the tribe over. For that Spring Fling, Smoked Italian Chicken Leg Quarters is just the recipe. I bought my Chicken Leg Quarters, on sale, for 99-cents a pound! The large package of chicken leg quarters that I bought held 5 leg quarters (3.95 lbs) and sold for $3.91! See what I mean by budget friendly?

A package of chicken leg quarters showing the low price.
Chicken hindquarters can sell for 69-99 cents! What a bargain.

What are Chicken Leg Quarters?

A leg quarter has the drumstick and thigh attached. Consequently, the hindquarter is ideal for smoking because of the size. It is easy to overcook a chicken leg but not so with the chicken leg hindquarter due to the size. In addition, the fat content in the thigh makes for a tender and juicy bite. 

A rack that hold 5 seasoned chicken leg quarters.
Air dry the chicken on a rack to seal in the flavors.

Are Chicken Leg Hindquarters Dark or White meat? 

You probably know that chicken breast is white meat but what you may not know is that a chicken wing is considered white meat too! The chicken leg and thigh are definitely dark meat known for their deep flavor, their ability to keep moist especially on the grill. 

Should You Brine Chicken Before Smoking?

No matter if you use a Dry or Wet brine or not when smoking chicken on the Primo, the end product can be tender, juicy, fall-off-the-bone chicken that is finger-licking! In reality, it is all about the design of the Primo Grill. That being said, a wet brine can penetrate the chicken protein and break it down and give overall flavor and added moisture. However, a wet brine takes time! A Dry Brine adds flavor and the salt penetrates the chicken meat to aid in tenderness and flavor. Non-brine chicken will turn out moist and flavorful with the taste of the chicken meat being the star. To brine or not to brine is really up to how you want to play that day! 

A Primo Grill with a rack of 5 spiced chicken leg quarters.
The Primo Rib and Chicken Rack inverted makes for a perfect rack for smoking chicken.

Testing a Gas Grill to the Primo Ceramic Grill 

I did a test, I smoked chicken leg hindquarters on my gas grill with smoking chips. I fired up the Primo Grill and smoked chicken leg hindquarters with the exact same grill temperatures and timing as the gas grill. The difference was very notable! 

Both packages of chicken had been Dry Brine for about 3 hours (both were extremely tasty). But in the end the Primo Grill smoked chicken was visually plumper, light smoky pink, and more tender and moist.  It was a cool test to confirm why I love my Primo Ceramic Grill 400 XL! 

How To Smoke Chicken Leg Quarters on the Primo Grill

In this recipe the chicken has a dry brine applied a few hours before grilling. However, chicken can be dry brined overnight. So make ahead or at minimum let the chicken soak in that dry brine for one hour. My dry brine has baking powder added to help dry out the skin for added crispness. 

Set your Primo Ceramic Grill for two-zone cooking. Fill one side of the Primo firebox with Primo Lump Charcoal. Primo Lump Charcoal gives a tasty infusion of subtle smokiness to chicken. 

Preheat the Primo Grill to 275℉.  

Place the chicken over the indirect cooking zone, and smoke with the grill lid down, until the chicken meat reaches 155°F internal temperature. The chicken is not done cooking at this point. 

Raise the temperature of the grill to 400°F by opening the bottom and top vents. Place the chicken leg quarters over direct high heat and flip a few times until the skin is crispy and the internal temperature is 179°F. Yes, yes chicken thighs are safe to eat at 165°F but I’m suggesting taking that temperature higher. 

What Temperature are Chicken Leg Quarters Done?

According to the USDA, the safe internal temperature of a cooked chicken should be at 165 °F. But many grill masters agree that 175°F chicken thighs, hindquarters, and legs will give a juicier, more tender bite.

A wood tray with tablespoons of different spices. A bottle of Primo Garlic Pepper is in the scene too.
Primo Garlic Pepper and a few of my favorite Italian spices.

What Other Seasoning Blends are Good for Chicken Leg Quarters

Creole Seasoning: Mix onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper, white pepper, paprika, cayenne pepper, oregano, dried parsley, dried thyme, dried basil.

Mexican Seasoning: chili powder, cumin, coriander, paprika, garlic, onion powder, crushed red pepper flakes, ground chili, dried Mexican oregano, black pepper.

Blackened Seasoning: paprika, dried thyme, dried oregano, garlic, onion powder, parsley, black pepper, cayenne.

Asian Seasoning: dried chives, dark brown sugar, toasted sesame seeds, coriander, 5-spice, garlic powder, ginger, salt, pepper, dried red chili flakes.

Check Out More Primo Grill Recipes!

Find More A Merry Recipe Chicken Recipes Here!

A close up shot of smoked chicken leg quarters iwth herbs and microgreens.
It's time to eat the most delciious Primo Smoked Chicken.

Primo's Italian Chicken Leg Quarters
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Recipe: Primo’s Italian Chicken Leg Quarters 


Serves: 5

Prep Time: 10 min    Smoke Time: 75 minutes 

Seasons: All 

Category: Poultry

Smoke Source: Primo Lump Charcoal 


5 chicken leg quarters, a 4 pound package 

2 tablespoons Primo Garlic Pepper Rub 

1/2 tablespoon Italian dried herbs

1/2 tablespoon ground coriander

2 teaspoons smoked paprika 

2 teaspoons kosher salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon sugar

2 tablespoons avocado oil or lemon olive oil 


Season Leg Quarters: In a medium bowl mix dry seasonings. Add chicken leg quarters, cover with lid and toss a few times. The seasoned can be set on a rack and refrigerated overnight or cooked one hour after the seasoning has been applied. 

Prepare the Grill: Arrange Primo Lump Charcoal on the bottom of the firebox. Wedge 1 or 2 Primo Quick Light starter cubes in the charcoal, and light. Wait 10 minutes for the charcoal to build a small bed of embers. Insert the deflector rack and plates. Close the dome, and adjust the top and bottom vents to achieve a steady 275°F heat.

 Invert the Primo Ribs and Chicken Rack and use the bottom side. Arrange the chicken on the rack. Alternative: Chicken quarters can be smoked over indirect heat then transfer to direct heat for crisping. 



Smoke the chicken, on the bottom side of an inverted Primo Rib and Chicken Rack for 50-60 minutes, turning them over after 20 minutes. Smoke the chicken drumsticks until  the internal temperature registers 155°F. Remove the partially cooked drumsticks from the grill.  

Crisp the Chicken Leg Quarters: Bring the grill temperature to 40°F to 425°F direct heat. Return the chicken to the grates, and cook for 4-5 minutes on each side. Remove the chicken leg quarters from the grill once the internal temperature registers 175°F-189°F. 

Serve the Chicken: Plate and garnish Primo’s Italian Chicken Leg Quarters with pasta or fresh vegetables and a salad. 

Recipe Author: Merry Graham



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