Sometimes my recipes come together as the result of a series of happy accidents. With this one, I had read about slashing chicken quarters to get the marinade to penetrate deeper over at Griffin’s Grub, and that seemed like a great idea. Then I read Meathead’s post on Cornell Chicken, and that sure sounded tasty. And then I found myself back in my hometown for the weekend and my Mom mentioned that the local meat department I like had chicken quarters for cheap.
Voilà ! - Slashed Cornell Chicken Quarters.
4 chicken leg quarters
1/2 cup peanut oil
1 cup cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sea or kosher salt
1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic
Make the marinade by putting the garlic and salt into a food processor and pulse until the garlic is minced. Add the egg and process until it starts to thicken. Add the vinegar, seasoning, and pepper and whirl to combine. With the processor running, add the oil in a steady stream. The mixture will begin to thicken and form an emulsion, kind of like a very thin mayonnaise.
Slash the chicken quarters with a knife, making several deep cuts perpendicular to the bones.
Put the quarters in a zip-top bag and pour the marinade over them. Turn to coat, then squeeze the air out of the bag, seal it up, and stash in the fridge for at least 4 hours (overnight is even better). Turn the bag every so often to make sure all the pieces get a taste of the marinade.
Set your grill up for either an indirect cook or a raised direct cook at medium-high (400°F) heat. I like to fire roast skin-on chicken to keep it crisp, so I set up for a raised indirect cook using an extender to move the cooking grate up higher in the Big Green Egg’s dome. This way the chicken is getting cooked with a nice, large, even amount of heat on both sides.
When your grill is up to temp, remove the chicken quarters from the marinade and arrange on the grate skin side up. Close the lid and let it cook for 20 minutes. Flip and cook skin-side down for 20 minutes. Flip again and cook skin-side up until the chicken is done – 180°F internal in the thickest part of the thigh or until the leg joint moves easily and the juices run clear.
Remove chicken from grill and let rest 10 minutes before serving.
This was the absolute crispiest chicken I’ve ever made. It almost tasted like it had been fried. It was so good that my dear wife, who never eats chicken skin, loved it too. I’m sure that a lot of the crispiness was due to slashing the skin, giving fat more places to bubble its way out and get some air under the skin.
Then why 4 stars? Note that I didn’t baste the chicken – I should have. Using the marinade as a baste would have built up the flavors quite a bit and done more to help keep the chicken moist. My fault for not reading the original recipe as well as I should have.
One chicken leg quarter is 300 calories and 8 Weight Watchers points.