Foil pan (optional but keeps the work area a lot cleaner)
I highly recommend brining the chicken pieces and while you don't have to do this, it will make the chicken more juicy and it adds some flavor to the chicken meat itself.
If you choose to brine, here's how to do it. Otherwise, skip on down to the preparation instructions below.
How to Brine the Chicken Quarters
Mix up your brine following the basic recipe below.
Place the chicken in a large Ziploc bag or a lidded plastic or glass container.
Pour the brine over the chicken and place it in the fridge for 2 hours.
Once it's done brining, rinse the chicken really good under cold water.
Basic Brine Recipe
1 gallon water
1 cup of kosher salt
3/4 cup of brown sugar (dark brown is best but light will work)
I like to use the basic recipe but if you want to add fruit juice, beer, wine, hot sauce, Zesty Italian dressing to the mix you can certainly do that. One of the really nice thing about brines are that whatever you put into the brine, will end up inside the meat.
Using a 1 gallon pitcher, pour kosher salt into water and stir until it is dissolved and water returns to clear. Then add brown sugar and stir until dissolved.
I ran the rub through a coffee grinder to make it more smooth but you do not have to do that. It's nice but not entirely necessary. The turkey baster has a nice large opening and will suck up the rub/butter mixture just like it is.
Use the microwave to heat the butter for about 30 seconds before adding the rub.
Once you have some mixture in the baster, inject a little under the skin of each chicken quarter at the leg section and at the thigh section.
Once all of the chicken quarters are injected with the rub/butter mixture, they are ready to smoke.
Prepare the smoker to cook at about 240°F.
These can be smoke cooked on any smoker whether it is electric, gas, charcoal or wood. If you need more information on various smokers, please see my smoker instructions page where you can find instructions for several different smokers. Even if they are not exactly what you have, you can garner some good information from reading them.
Once the smoker is perking along at your goal temperature and ready to go, place the chicken quarters directly on the smoker grate with about 1 inch between each piece so the smoke can have good access to the meat.
You can expect these to take about 2.5 to 3 hours under normal circumstances and I recommend keeping them in the smoke the entire time if you are using something other than a wood fired smoker.
Smoke, Wood, Fire: The Advanced Guide to Smoking Meat – Unlike the first book, this book does not focus on recipes but rather uses every square inch of every page teaching you how to smoke meat. What my first book touched on, this second book takes it into much greater detail with lots of pictures.
It also includes a complete, step-by-step tutorial for making your own smoked “streaky” bacon using a 100 year old brine recipe.