Food ingredients

Why are chicken leg quarters so cheap?

Chicken is a popular dish in most American households. Every year, Americans consume billions of chickens. 

Chicken is quite versatile. You can roast, braise, boil, grill, or even bake. It also has great dietary value and nutritional value. Other than that, chicken is very affordable compared to pork, turkey, and beef.

Most people also prefer chicken to other meats because it is easy to cook and takes a relatively short time.

You don’t need to be an experienced cook to whip up a decent chicken meal.

What are chicken leg quarters?

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Chicken leg quarters comprise the chicken drumstick and chicken thigh in one piece plus a portion of the chicken back.

They are called quarters because they consist of approximately one-quarter of the chicken. 

Chicken leg quarters are cheap compared to other chicken cuts. There are three main reasons why chicken leg quarters are so cheap; packaging time, amount of meat on them, and marketing.

This recipe discusses in detail why chicken leg quarters are so cheap. I will also share two of my favorite chicken leg recipes.

Why are they so cheap?

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In the US, chicken is packaged in 8 different ways, i.e., whole chicken, chicken leg quarters, chicken drumsticks, boneless chicken thighs, bone-in chicken thighs, boneless chicken breast, chicken wings, and split chicken breast.

Out of the eight, chicken leg quarters are the cheapest cut per pound. The most expensive cut is boneless chicken breast.

There are specific reasons why chicken leg quarters are so cheap. Below are some of them.

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  • Take a short time to package.
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We are all familiar with the saying that time is money. One of the reasons chicken leg quarters are so cheap is that they take a relatively short time to package.

Note that the meat cutters take a long time with boneless chicken breast because they have to separate the meat from the chicken’s body then debone it.

With chicken leg quarters, experienced meat cutters take about 30 seconds to separate the chicken leg quarters from the rest of the chicken.

This explains why boneless chicken breast is the most expensive cut while chicken leg quarters are the least expensive.

  • Chicken leg quarters don’t have a lot of meat on them.
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Chicken leg quarters come from the back part of the chicken, which is mostly bones. Therefore, they do not have a lot of meat on them.

Since chicken leg quarters are mostly bones, the bones significantly contribute to their weight. Therefore, one pound of chicken leg quarters will have less meat than one pound of boneless chicken breast.

This is one of the reasons why chicken leg quarters are so cheap.

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  • Marketing
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Marketing has made chicken leg quarters the cheapest cut. Most people use their mental and visual calculations to decide which cut has the most meat.

Therefore, it is only natural that most people conclude that one pound of chicken drumsticks has more meat than one pound of chicken leg quarters; hence should be more expensive.

Most people prefer buying a whole chicken and cutting it themselves because it is more economical.

Recipes

Baked chicken leg quarters

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To bake chicken leg quarters, you only need a handful of ingredients.

You can transform the chicken leg quarters into an amazing oven-roasted dish in just a few minutes. Follow the steps below for the best-baked chicken leg quarters you have ever had.

  1. Place the chicken leg quarters in a baking pan or roasting pan. Brush the chicken with olive oil, then sprinkle pepper and salt to taste.
  2. Make a chicken rub by combining three cloves of minced garlic, one small lemon, ¼ teaspoon red pepper, and one teaspoon crushed fennel seed.
  3. Use your fingertips to loosen the meat from the chicken skin, then spread the rub between the skin and the meat. Repeat this step for all the chicken legs. If any of the chicken rub remains, drizzle on top of the chicken leg quarters.
  4. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. Bake the chicken leg quarters uncovered for 40 minutes.
  6. Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the chicken. If it is 175 degrees Fahrenheit, remove the chicken from the oven and enjoy.

If you have 375 degrees Fahrenheit oven, adjust the cooking time to 50 minutes.

Just be sure to check whether the chicken is done by inserting a meat thermometer into the chicken thigh before removing it from the oven.

I love using this recipe because it always gives me amazing results.

Roasted chicken leg quarters

Chicken leg quarters are ideal for roasting because they are dark meat. Use the recipe below to make the best-roasted chicken leg quarters for your next family dinner.

You will need;

  • Four chicken leg quarters.
  • ½ cup chicken broth.
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper.
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt.
  • Four cloves garlic (minced).
  • One teaspoon dried oregano.
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin.
  • Two tablespoons extra virgin oil.

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Combine the chili powder, oregano, salt, garlic, black pepper, and cumin in a small bowl. Add olive oil, then mix the ingredients until they form a paste.
  3. Lightly oil your baking dish, then arrange your chicken leg quarters in it. Make sure that the chicken leg quarters are on a single layer, do not overcrowd the baking dish,
  4. Rub the mixture you made on each chicken leg quarter, ensuring that all of them are covered.
  5. Pour 12/2 cup of chicken broth into the bottom of the baking dish. If you don’t have chicken broth, you can use dry white wine in its place.
  6. Bake the chicken in your preheated oven for 50 minutes. Do not cover it while it is baking.
  7. Once it is ready, remove it from the oven and enjoy. Serve it with a vegetable dish, salad, or roasted potatoes.
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Also, Check out: How to Reheat Sweet and Sour Chicken.

Conclusion

Chicken legs are cheap, but they make for an amazing meal when well prepared. You can bake, roast, boil, braise, or grill chicken legs.

Try using any of the recipes we have shared above, and let me know how your chicken leg quarters turn out.

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