Spice-Rubbed Chicken Leg Quarters


When it's too cold outside to barbecue, I drum this up in the oven for family gatherings! The dry-rub barbecue has so much flavor versus using the sauce. And when you make your own dry rub, you'll never buy it in the store again. This is a must-try, family-favorite dry rub.

Prep Time:
20 mins
Cook Time:
1 hrs 20 mins
Additional Time:
2 hrs
Total Time:
3 hrs 40 mins
10 servings


Brine and Chicken:

  • 5 cups water

  • cup white sugar

  • cup kosher salt

  • ½ cup white vinegar

  • 5 pounds chicken leg quarters

Dry Rub:

  • 7 tablespoons dark brown sugar

  • 4 tablespoons smoked paprika

  • 3 tablespoons chipotle chile powder

  • 1 ½ tablespoons kosher salt

  • 1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper

  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder

  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (Optional)

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg


  1. Mix water, sugar, salt, and vinegar for brine in a food-grade, nonreactive container.

  2. Rinse chicken and pat dry. Place it in the brine, cover, and let sit for 2 hours.

  3. Mix brown sugar, paprika, chile powder, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, cumin, and nutmeg for dry rub together in a small bowl.

  4. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Line a baking dish with foil.

  5. Remove chicken from the brine and pat dry. Place it on a tray and generously sprinkle dry rub all over each piece, rubbing it into the skin and meat. (You will have some dry rub remaining.)

  6. Place chicken, skin-side down, in the prepared baking dish,. Cover with foil, making sure not to wrap it too tightly.

  7. Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour. Remove from the oven. Increase the temperature to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).

  8. Remove the foil cover and turn chicken over. Sprinkle more dry rub onto the skin and return to the oven.

  9. Bake until skin is crispy, chicken is no longer pink in the center, and the juices run clear, about 20 more minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 165 degrees F (74 degrees C).

Cook's Notes:

You will not want to skip the brine process. It keeps the chicken moist while it's slow cooking in the oven.

For those who want barbecue sauce to complement the chicken, heat the dry rub with a few splashes of apple cider vinegar and honey on the stovetop over medium heat for approximately 5 minutes.

Editor's Notes:

Always brine foods in a food-grade, nonreactive container such as a stainless steel or enameled stockpot, a brining bag, or a food-grade plastic bucket.

Nutrition data for this recipe includes the full amount of brine ingredients. The actual amount of brine consumed will vary.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

500 Calories
28g Fat
19g Carbs
42g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 10
Calories 500
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 28g 36%
Saturated Fat 8g 39%
Cholesterol 188mg 63%
Sodium 4057mg 176%
Total Carbohydrate 19g 7%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Protein 42g
Potassium 544mg 12%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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