Chicken is an incredibly versatile meat that can be cooked in countless ways and paired with a variety of spices and herbs. However, if you’re not a seasoned cook, it’s easy to be confused by all the different cuts and cooking methods. One such cut is chicken quarters.
What are chicken quarters, and how can you prepare them? They are an affordable and versatile cut of meat that consists of the leg and thigh. They can be prepared in countless ways. Whether you’re grilling, roasting, or frying, they’re sure to be a hit with your family.
In this post, we’ll take a closer look at this cut of chicken and provide some tips for cooking it to perfection.
What Are Chicken Quarters?
Chicken quarters are a cut of chicken that includes the leg and thigh pieces. This cut often still has the skin on, which helps to keep the meat moist during cooking.
These are relatively inexpensive cuts of dark meat, making them a great choice for home cooks looking to save money on their grocery bills. They’re also incredibly versatile and can be grilled, roasted, baked, or fried, depending on your preferences.
Are Chicken Quarters Healthy?
Having learned about what they are, let’s explore the nutritional value of chicken quarters and whether they are healthy.
1. Nutritional Content
Chicken quarters are a nutritious choice for anyone looking to keep a healthy and balanced diet. One 10-ounce chicken quarter contains roughly 30 grams of protein, 361 calories, and 20 grams of fat.
However, it’s important to note that the fat content includes healthy fats such as omega-3 fatty acids that are beneficial to the body.
2. Health Benefits
Eating chicken quarters can provide several health benefits. Firstly, they contain large amounts of lean protein, which makes them perfect for maintaining and building muscle mass.
Additionally, these cuts are rich in vitamins B6 and B12, which are essential for a healthy nervous system, blood health, and energy metabolism. They also contain vitamin D, which is essential for building and maintaining strong bones.
3. Amount of Sodium
One thing to keep in mind when consuming chicken quarters is the amount of sodium they contain. Salt is often used as a preservative in processed chicken products, and chicken quarters can be high in sodium as a result.
Choosing fresh, unprocessed chicken quarters and seasoning with herbs and spices can help mitigate these health concerns.
4. Cooking Methods
The way you cook chicken quarters can also impact their nutritional value.
Grilling, baking, and roasting are healthier cooking methods compared to deep-frying, which can increase the fat and calorie content of the meat. Moreover, adding healthy sides such as roasted vegetables is a great way to further increase the nutritional value of your meal.
5. Portion Control
Finally, it’s important to practice portion control when consuming chicken quarters. While they are a source of lean protein, overeating them can lead to an excess of calories and fat.
Incorporating these chicken cuts into a balanced and varied diet with appropriate portion sizes is key to their health benefits.
Tips for Cooking Chicken Quarters
Delicious, juicy, and versatile, cooking chicken quarters can be a fun experience. However, mastering the art of cooking them can take some practice and guidance.
If you want some tips on how to cook perfect chicken quarters that your entire family will enjoy, read on to find some insightful tips on how to cook chicken quarters that will turn out amazing each time you make them.
Marinating should be the first stop in your chicken quarter cooking journey. This is because marinating helps to infuse flavors and tenderize the meat.
Mix your spices with some oil, vinegar, and other ingredients, then place the chicken in a large sealable bag, pour in the marinade, and let the chicken absorb the flavors for up to 24 hours. Always refrigerate the marinating chicken to avoid bacteria growth.
After marinating the chicken quarters, season them well. Don’t be afraid to add seasoning to give the chicken that extra burst of flavor.
With seasoning, you can get creative and try new blends that will make your chicken taste heavenly. Remember, you can always adjust the seasoning the second time around if it doesn’t come out as you expected.
3. Cooking Temperatures
Getting the cooking temperatures right is vital when cooking chicken quarters. Cook them in a preheated oven at 375°F, or cook them on a grill with medium-high heat for 40 to 50 minutes.
Meat thermometers are great tools to have to check the temperature, which should read 165°F. Always remember that the cooking duration depends on the thickness and size of the chicken quarters.
Basting the chicken quarters helps to keep them moist and adds flavor. Brush the chicken with any remaining marinade halfway through the cooking process and repeat after 30 minutes.
Pro tip: Don’t open the oven frequently to keep the heat stable, and avoid over-basting the chicken, as too much sauce could flake outside the chicken and create burnt spots.
After removing the chicken quarters, allow them to rest for about 15 minutes before serving. This is an essential step as it helps redistribute the juices throughout the meat. You can cover the chicken with aluminum foil to prevent it from getting cold.
Ways to Cook Chicken Quarters
There are several ways you can cook chicken quarters, and each has its advantages and disadvantages.
Preheat your oven to 375°F. Place the seasoned chicken quarters on a roasted rack or baking sheet. Cook for 45 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F. Let it rest for up to 10 minutes before serving.
Preheat your grill to medium-high heat. Place the chicken on the grill and cook for 8-10 minutes on each side or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F. Let it rest for up to 10 minutes before serving.
This is a great method for when you’re cooking bone-in chicken quarters. Brown the chicken in a skillet over medium-high heat with some oil, then transfer it to a pot with vegetables and broth.
Partially cover the pot, and cook for 40 minutes or until the meat thermometer reaches 165°F.
How to Know When It’s Done
The key to perfectly cooked chicken quarters is knowing the right time and temperature. Depending on the size, it should typically take around 45-60 minutes in the oven at 375°F.
However, it’s important to always use a meat thermometer to ensure the internal temperature has reached at least 165°F before serving. Remember, overcooking chicken can result in dry and tough meat, so it’s important to keep a close eye on it while cooking.
By following the recommended cooking time and temperature and using a meat thermometer, you can enjoy these delicious chicken cuts for any meal!
Delicious Side Dishes That Perfectly Complement Chicken Quarters
What are some side dishes that you can serve with chicken quarters? The great news is there are plenty of side dishes that perfectly complement this cut of chicken.
1. Roasted Vegetables
The combination of roasted vegetables with chicken quarters is unbeatable. Roasted vegetables such as potatoes, brussels sprouts, carrots, and bell peppers bring a wonderful depth of flavor and an array of nutrients to your meal.
Roasting vegetables improves their texture and intensifies their sweetness, making them a perfect complement to the juicy and tender flavors of the chicken quarters.
2. Baked Potato Wedges
For most people, a meal isn’t complete without some form of potatoes. Baked potato wedges are a fantastic side dish option that adds a crispy contrast to the chicken quarters.
Cut the potatoes into wedges, season them with some salt, pepper, and olive oil, and bake them until they are golden brown. The result is a deliciously mouth-watering side dish that perfectly accompanies chicken.
Coleslaw is a classic dish that goes perfectly with grilled or roasted chicken.
A combination of carrots, shredded cabbage, and onions in a creamy dressing creates a beautiful balance of flavors with the chicken quarters.
It adds a refreshing element to the meal, and the crunchy texture of the veggies complements the juicy and slightly crispy chicken quarters.
4. Garlic Bread
Garlic bread is a great side dish for any meal, especially with chicken quarters. It’s quick and simple to prepare, and it adds a deliciously garlicky flavor to your meal.
The soft, warm texture of the bread beautifully offsets the tender, juicy chicken chunks. The flavor of garlic adds a touch of depth to the chicken, making it more satisfying and savory.
5. Quinoa Salad
Quinoa is an excellent option for a healthier side dish and goes perfectly with chicken quarters. Quinoa is a high-fiber protein that has a delicate nutty flavor, which complements the chicken quarters beautifully.
A side of quinoa salad with grilled quarters not only adds some nutritional value to your meal but also balances the texture and flavors of your meal perfectly.