Wow that's a lot of chicken!
I purchased this big package of whole chicken leg quarters for $3.49. I could just toss them all in the oven and bake them all at once, but we'd never eat 9 large chicken legs in one meal. Leftovers are great, but they can get boring.
I think a bigger problem I have with the leg quarters is that, as is, they're rather unappetizing looking with the back bones and tail attached. Then there's the mess they can make, as I'd end up with a ton of chicken grease to clean up in the pan and splattered in the oven due to all the excess skin and fat that comes with them. There's a reason they're cheap!
All is not lost!
We like "pretty" chicken and variety in our meals, so I'm going to get out my cutting board and a sharp knife. It only takes a few minutes to trim them out into drumsticks and thighs and remove that excess skin and back/spine section.
If you buy them frozen, like these were, they're actually easier to cut up if still firm and partially frozen, if your knife is sharp. Partially Freeze them if you buy them fresh to make parting them out easier.
Grab your cutting board and a good sharp knife.
Turn your whole chicken leg quarter over and cut off the rib section. Don't toss these as they are going into a large saucepan to make some chicken broth! Then flip it back over and cut the drumstick from the thigh. There will be a section of excess skin on the thigh, so trim that off and add it to your pot to make broth, too!
Now you have a pile of chicken drumsticks, thighs and enough trimmings to make some chicken broth
Cover your chicken trimmings with water and set it to simmer. It will continue to simmer as you cook and eat your dinner 1-1.5 hours depending on how large your pieces are. Just be sure its SIMMERING - it will reduce some, but you don't want your liquids to all evaporate away and burn, so do keep an eye on it.
Now, figure out what you'll be making dinner tonight. I've chosen to make oven fried drumsticks. These are so good, really easy and one of my son's favorite things. You can choose your favorite recipe, though!
Package your chicken thighs up for another meal, since they're still mostly frozen you can freeze, or place them in the fridge to use up in the next few days.
Here Are Some Recipe Ideas for Your Chicken Thighs
- How about Chicken & Dumplings instead of Chicken Helper?
You can have something amazingly good and even more economical than some pre-fab boxed dinner starter. Whip out your cutting board, knife & big stock pot as this makes enough to feed 6 hungry people.
- Chicken Thighs, Again? Budget Friendly Easy Asian Inspired Sweet & Tangy Skillet Meal Recipe
Skip the takeout and those cute little square paper boxes. Chicken and rice are basic budget friendly items, but this easy sauce transforms it into a treat. You can have this on the table in 1 hour.
Let's Cook These Chicken Legs
Oven Fried Drumsticks
Preheat oven to 450.
This can be messy, so line your pan with foil, or use an old pan that is well seasoned. I'm using a well seasoned 9x9 baking pan for my 9 drumsticks.
Place 1/4 cup of butter in your pan and place it in your hot oven to melt the butter. Then remove.
Place the following in a ziplock bag and shake to combine well:
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp of your favorite poultry seasoning.
Coat your chicken, then bake
Add your chicken drumsticks to your coating mix and shake the bag to coat all pieces well. Place in the melted butter in your pan and bake for 30 minutes. Then turn them over and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes.
These are crispy and the butter adds an amazing flavor. Use real butter, don't be tempted to substitute it. Yes, it's a little more expensive than the "fake butter" margarine, but it tastes so much better and is real food with real nutrition to be found in it. I stock up when butter is on sale, never pay full price if you can avoid it, it freezes well, too.
Tonight I paired my chicken with baked russet potatoes that I cooked alongside the chicken in the oven and some green beans. You can bake extra potatoes to have on hand to make easy and quick home fries with your breakfast the next day, or just zap in the microwave with any leftovers for lunch the next day.
I try not to waste having my oven on for just one food if I can avoid it to save money on the utilites and time cooking a future meal.
Now that dinner's over, let's finish up the broth.
You've been simmering your chicken trimmings, and it's time to strain it, get the fat out and package it up so that you've got some broth on hand and don't need to buy a can of it to make a recipe calling for it. I'll be making some soup calling for chicken stock/broth sooner or later, so mine will be stored in a zip lock bag in my freezer. That's gets expensive if you buy it canned, plus, you don't need to haul it home from the store! It's like free chicken stock when you take the time to make it yourself, and free is always good.
Strain out the solids, catching the broth in a bowl or pitcher.
You don't want greasy broth, so let's get the fat out.
A little fat is inevitable, but you want to remove as much as possible. There are several ways to do this, but I prefer the faster method, but we'll go over the basic ways to do it.
The slowest method is to just stick it as is in the fridge or freezer and wait for the fat to solidify into a cake, which you can then remove. This works, but it takes time.
You can get a spoon and spoon the fat off the top. I find I end up removing too much of the broth along with the fat doing this, and it takes some time to do.
My favorite thing is to use my vintage and cute fat separator. They do make them still today, but many of them are plastic and not nearly as charming. There is a spout in the inside that draws from the bottom, so when you pour, you're pouring only the broth and the fat will stay in the separator. Simply stop pouring when you get most of the broth out!
Once you have it all separated, store your broth
Don't bother to keep emptying your separator of fat as you work through it all the fat will all stay in there.
When the broth is separated from the fat, you're ready to package it up, date it and store. I'll be freezing my broth, so I poured it into a quart sized freezer bag, removed most of the air and froze it laying flat. This will save space in your freezer and it will defrost quickly when you're ready to use it. Be sure to label and date exactly what's in there. Using a measuring pitcher makes it easy to know exactly how much you have.
LaZeric Freeman from Hammond on October 05, 2020:
I thought that my wife was the only one who did this. Nice.
Barbara on September 06, 2017:
I've been buying those bargain bags of leg quarters for more years than I care to omit. ;) As I never learned the art of frying chicken I also accomplish that in the oven. However I've never seen anyone post cooking it the way I do so I hope you don't mind me sharing what I have learned here. I preheat the oven to 425 F. Line a cookie sheet with foil to save yourself clean up. Lay wire cooling racks, (such as you use to cool cookies), over your cookie sheet. To prepare my chicken I lift the skin and sprinkle my seasoning directly onto the meat, add a dot of butter, then lay the skin back down and place it on the rack. I don't always use the butter, the chicken will cook to perfect crispness without it, however, I usually use it on the white meat as I find that rather dry. Just my taste so use your own judgement. I place a meat thermometer probe into the largest piece of meat and cook to 180 F. As to seasoning, I especially like Mrs. Dash Garlic & Herb mix or a homemade Cajun Spice mix but whatever tickles your fancy, it will all be good!
Will on May 16, 2017:
Smart person. You have a fun attitude.
Kay on March 18, 2017:
We got 10 pounds reduced and grilled them all and put the extra in the freezer.
Kellie on January 25, 2017:
when I get them for $.39 Lb I take about 20 pounds and season and roast them. Then I pick them, freeze the meat and reroast the bones for broth. I have a stand up freezer so I buy 40 pounds when I find this deal.
Dorothy on December 15, 2016:
I pour my broth into smaller containers to make some gravy or sauce. Even better is to freeze in ice cube trays, bag when frozen and use to cook veggies.
Amie Says on July 03, 2016:
I cut my leg quarters up and freeze them. 4 drumsticks and 2 thighs to a bag. That's just enough to make a one-pot meal or to cook for just me. I hit a sale the other day and got those 10 lb. bags for 2.90. I got two of them and it took me a month to eat it all! 20 lbs. of chicken is a lot. I couldn't get it all in my freezer, so I ended up cooking up one bag and deboning it to fit it all in. I will never buy 20 lbs. of chicken again.
ann on October 02, 2015:
Wanted to add, I freeze the back pieces and make broth as needed. Otherwise, I'd have no room in my freezer for the broth I could make! Bones don't take up as much room as broth, believe me, I know. I just get tired of having my freezer so full that things would fall out every time I opened the door! :P I keep a running inventory of where everything is and my freezer is organized but just not big enough and I'm a single person! I love too cook that's why I share with my neighbors. Too bad I can't share food via the internet!
Ann on October 02, 2015:
I just bought leg and thigh quarters for .35/lb! They were huge...5 quarters weighed bit over 5 lbs, all for a whopping $1.94! I do the same as you do, dividing into legs and thighs and removing the back. Not too difficult. Home-made chicken broth is the best! I like to brine the legs and thighs before freezing (if I don't plan on eating them right away), keeping the legs separate from the thighs. Yesterday I bought 6 lbs, grilled them and shared them with my neighbors! $2.11 for 6 lbs makes me feel really generous! Lol! Too bad I don't have a freezer...
Kathy (author) from Minnestoa on January 10, 2015:
Thanks Buffy, I am glad you found this helped you!
Buffy Richmond on December 27, 2014:
While searching for a new recipe, for those pesky chicken quarters, I happened to come across this post. Wanted to take this time to stop and thank you bunches for sharing. It was very useful information and gave me several new ideas for my future dinner's! Thanks again for sharing! (Two thumbs up!)
Teresa Sanderson from Rural Midwest on June 06, 2013:
Great hub! We buy chicken leg quarters like this and usually separate them into sets of 2 for single serving dinners for my husband and I. My husband, though, is an expert on making the chicken broth from leftover bones. He always has fresh stock on hand. Loved seeing that detailed in your hub! Voted up and useful
Kathy (author) from Minnestoa on March 04, 2013:
You're very welcome, Dani! I'm glad you found it helpful.
Dani on March 04, 2013:
Thank you so much for this post! I had just bought a pack of chicken leg quarters and had no idea what to do with them.
CarNoobz from USA on February 08, 2013:
We buy 'em in bulk too. We'll make a big pot of soup and just freeze the rest. Yeah, leftovers DO get boring after awhile.