Melt in your mouth BBQ chicken (on a gas grill)

Photo credit: VirtualErn

I had the opportunity yesterday to grill some chicken leg quarters on my gas grill and everybody raved about how moist they were and that the meat just fell off the bone. I figured I’d share a few tips so that you’ll never have to eat dry, overcooked chicken again.

The key to the whole process is temperature. Low and slow, like BBQ. Ok, not quite, but we’re not going to cook them on high either. Somewhere middle of the road, around medium temperature or about 350°F. Chicken skin tends to melt and flare up around 400° leading to black chicken that nobody wants to eat.

Once you get your grill warmed up, I like to wipe some olive oil on the grates to keep things from sticking. You can also use PAM, but only the kind made to be sprayed on a grill. Place your chicken leg quarters bone side down, with the skin up. Cook them for about 20 minutes, keeping an eye out w/ a squirt bottle of water for flare ups. If you keep your temperature around 350°F, flare ups should be rare. After the first 20 minutes, flip them over and coat the now cooked bottom with a BBQ sauce of your choice. I prefer Sweet Baby Ray’s.

After the second 20 min cooking period, flip them back over so that the skin side is up, coat that in BBQ sauce. Cook them this way for 10 minutes, then flip them over for a final 10 minutes. All this does is help cook the BBQ sauce on a bit and finish cooking the chicken. The temperature is low enough that your BBQ sauce will not burn so don’t worry. Pull the leg quarters off the grill and let them rest for a few minutes on a plate then enjoy!

Total cooking time for a 10-14oz chicken leg quarter should be about 60 minutes. You should also double check w/ an instant read thermometer before you pull them off the grill. The meat thermometer should read about 165°F.

31 Replies to “Melt in your mouth BBQ chicken (on a gas grill)”

  1. Love that Sweet Baby Rays! Gonna mix it up a little with creole mustard, cane syrup, tabasco, worstchestershire, and red wine vinegar to give it an extra spicy tang! Wish me luck

  2. 1/4 cup regular ketchup
    2 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
    1/2 teaspoon mustard
    1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
    mix well
    this is sweet sour sauce for the leg quarters
    and apply it the same way as
    if it was sweet baby ray

  3. burned hopelessly from the first five minutes. no flares, just burnt to a crisp. followed instructions exactly.

    1. The first time I tried these instructions…the BBQ sauce was burned totally….but the chicken was fine. The next time…I moved the chicken over to indirect heat for the two 10 minute periods…and it all turned out great.

    2. No, you didn’t:).
      Your grill was either too hot, or it had too much old stuff on it that needed cleaned/ burnt off.
      The temperature is THE key. If your grill doesn’t have a thermometer built in they can be bought.
      To get to 325’350 !! TOPS most gas grills need to be darn near all the way off.
      I’d suggest running it full blast, 500 degrees plus for around 15 min to burn off old fat. Then turn it all the way down until you get to 325-350 then have another go ! Good luck !

  4. Follow directions exactly but don’t put over direct heat, I turn on all burners at first to heat up grill, then turn off two burners and leave end burner on, meat goes over two off burners and maintain 350 by adjusting the one burner on

  5. Delicious. I forgot to turn off the other burners but only 2 out of 10 pieces got burned and they were still delicious. Thanks!!

  6. Ours turned out perfectly! The only struggle that we encountered was temperature regulation. So to be safe we removed our thermometer that we keep in our oven (just because the oven is ancient) which gave us time to finish cooking the fixings that went with our chicken.

    Thanks for the directions!

  7. Followed your instructions on my weber gas grill last night. I kept the grill at 350 with all burners going. I had flare ups so I cooked indirect and boosted the burners up to medium holding temp to 350. All grills are different, but have to say your instructions were spot on. My wife and I both agreed it was great BBQ chicken. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Awesome recipe. 40 mins into cooking and I can already tell its the right way. No burning just good Ol fashioned charbroiled chicken. It’s great.

  9. I had a lot of trouble cooking chicken leg quarters in the past, after lowering the heat and leaving them on the bone side a little longer they turned out great. Thanks for the recipe.

  10. Never, ever, ever use a spray bottle of water for flare ups unless you want to buy a new gas grill every year.

  11. I followed this to a T and cooked PERFECT BBQ chicken!! Was my first attempt at chicken and my new propane grill so I was nervous but got RAVE reviews from my family. I printed it out, will laminate it and have it outside with me each time until it is memorized, then I may experiment with rubs, other sauces, etc but this is the foundation for getting it right!! Thanks you!!

  12. Thanks for the easy recipe, Ryan! Lowes is delivering my first propane-powered BBQ this afternoon and I really want to cook chicken but I was clueless. All I know is the chicken must be thoroughly cooked for safety reasons. MY BBQ has iron grates that allegedly help to distribute heat evenly, so I’m excited to jump in and give it a try.

  13. Amazing!! I did everything word-for-word, and I had raves like I’ve never heard before. Sorry I had to take all the credit, but truth be told, you saved me on this one!

  14. I followed the directions exactly as stated and I got perfect chicken. My husband was so impressed. Thank you so much for such an easy way to cook. Sweet Baby Ray’s bbq sauce added the extra touch.

  15. First time I’ve grilled chicken without a batch of burned skin to throw away. Was a little too high on the heat for the first 5 minutes but got it under control. Turned all the burners to low and moved the chicken away from the hot end of the grill….the right end….to the left. Excellent; thanks.

  16. Thanks for the information on cooking barbecue chicken on a gas grill using Sweet Baby’ Rays sauce. Your method worked great on both boneless/skinless breast and also boneless/skinless thighs. All eight lunch eaters enjoyed the flavor and tenderness of the chicken.

    1. Lid closed for all cooking time. For indirect cooking, make sure the chicken is over a burner that is not on. Lid open will not work. You cannot control the temp properly with the lid open.

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