These brick chicken leg quarters are crispy, delicious, and easy to make. A restaurant-quality chicken recipe made in only 45 minutes!
First Published January 2015; Updated June 2020
What are Brick Chicken Quarters?
Several years ago I noticed during a trip to NYC that there was some sort of brick chicken on several restaurant menus. The dish is exactly as it sounds; the chicken is flattened by deboning part of it and then it's cooked under a brick. The skin is golden and crispy while the meat is tender and juicy. Some will grill it while others will roast it. I prefer the crisp skin you get when you roast it.
While many chefs will flatten a whole chicken by cutting out the breast bone and then cooking, but I decided I didn't want to test my butchering skills. I really don't like to even touch raw chicken but there are things I do just so my family can have a good meal (hear that husband?). So to make things easy, I bought a package of leg quarters and cooked the chicken in pieces. You can do this with breasts too if you prefer white meat.
Do I Have to Use a Brick?
I really didn't feel like going to The Home Depot to purchase bricks so a few substitutions were made. Instead of using bricks which are wrapped in foil, you can use a heavy pot filled with cans. This worked perfectly and I had everything I needed in my own kitchen. I rubbed the chicken with a simple Stubbs chicken rub and a little dried thyme. I kept things really simple. Now to actually to cook the chicken.
How Do I Make these Chicken Leg Quarters?
First preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Then season your chicken quarters. Make sure you season both sides. You can do this several hours before you cook the chicken and keep it in the refrigerator.
Heat a large ovenproof skillet with olive oil and a dab of butter to medium high heat. A cast iron pan works well but I decided to use my heavy skillet.
Place the chicken skin side down in the pan. It should look like this.
Reduce heat to medium and cook like this for about 20 minutes. Check to make sure the skin is crispy and brown. You can always cook it for a few extra minutes if you want it crispier.
Next, flip the chicken over and cook for 5 more minutes. Place the pan in the oven to finish cooking.
Roast in the oven for about 10 more minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 165 degrees in the meatiest part of the chicken thigh.
I served this with roast potatoes and Brussels sprouts. The veggies can roast in the oven while the chicken is cooking on the stove.
Make this recipe and you will want it for dinner again and again!
What are Chicken Quarters?
- A quarter is a specific cut of chicken meat. There are two major kinds of quarters.
- The first is the leg quarter, which is made up of the thigh and the drumstick, as well as a small amount of the back. This quarter is all dark meat.
- Another variety is the breast quarter, which includes half a breast, a wing, and part of the back. If you prefer white meat, you may want to go with this cut instead.
- This presentation goes into more detail about the various cuts of chicken. You could use a number of these cuts with this recipe!
Suggested Side Dishes
Chicken Seasoning Variations
You can use this brick method with a variety of dishes. You'll end up with the same crispy skin and tender meat, but with a completely transformed flavor profile.
- If you're looking for something with some more heat, include chili powder or red pepper flakes.
- Why not do something a little out of the box and try sprinkling with some everything bagel seasoning? You can even make your own!
- Want to give the dish an Indian twist? Use turmeric, cumin, and coriander for a seasoning reminiscent of curry.
- Serving alongside seafood? Hit it with some Old Bay to make those flavors really come together!
- For a distinctly Italian flavor, keep the thyme and add basil, oregano, rosemary, and garlic.
More Chicken Dishes
- Simple Chicken Cacciatore
- Crock Pot Chicken Tacos
- Mushroom Chicken Thighs with Rosemary
- Chicken Shawarma Sandwich
- Indian Butter Chicken via Swirls of Flavor
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- 3 to 4 chicken quarters
- 2 TBS chicken rub
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Rub chicken quarters with chicken rub and thyme.
- Heat a large heavy skillet on medium high heat. Add olive oil and butter to the pan. When oil and butter is sizzling, add chicken, skin side down.
- Place a large heavy pot on top of the chicken. Add heavy cans to the pot so the chicken is pressed down.
- Reduce heat to medium and cook for about 20 minutes or until skin of chicken is crispy and golden. Remove pot and flip chicken. Cook for 5 more minutes.
- Place pan in oven and cook for additional 10 to 15 minutes or until meat thermometer placed in chicken registers 165 degrees.