Whole Smoked Chicken

This juicy and succulent smoked chicken recipe is an easy and affordable way to make a delicious meal for a cookout, weeknight dinner, or to impress at a dinner party.

The deep, smoky flavors you get are way better than any rotisserie chicken from the supermarket.

Smoked Whole Chicken

Affordable: I usually grab a few when I see whole chickens on sale. You can pick up a chicken for $5-$6, which is a bargain! I like to grab a few, smoke them together, and freeze the leftovers for my pulled chicken nachos, tacos, sandwiches, or salads.

Super Tender and Juicy – Smoking slowly with that longer cooking time ensures a juicy and tender texture.

Simple But Gets You Started: This is an easy recipe for amateur smokers. It will help you build on your smoking experience to tackle tougher cooks like smoked brisket and ribs. 

What You Need 

  • Whole Chicken
  • Vegetable Cooking Oil
  • Kosher Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Garlic Powder
  • BBQ Rub 
  • Butter

How to Smoke a Whole Chicken

Step 1: Prep

Remove the packaging from your chicken, and remove as much excess moisture from the bird with a paper towel. Drizzle the chicken with oil and spread evenly; cover the chicken (including the cavity) with salt, pepper & garlic powder.

Then, apply an even coating of BBQ rub.

Tip: Be careful with raw chicken. Check if any raw meat juices splash or come into contact with surfaces.

how-long-to-smoke-a-chicken

Step 2: Truss the Chicken

Gather Your Tools

Have the kitchen twine or butcher’s string ready and a pair of kitchen scissors to trim the excess twine. Place the chicken on a clean surface with the breast side up and the legs facing you.

Secure the Legs

Cross the chicken’s legs at the ankles and pull them together. Wrap the kitchen twine around the ankles and tie a knot to secure them.

Tie the Drumsticks

Extend the twine from the ankles to the tail end of the chicken. Wrap the twine around the tail end and pull it tight to bring the drumsticks closer together.

Tie a knot to secure the drumsticks in place.

Secure the Wings

Tuck the chicken wings behind the bird to prevent them from burning during cooking. Optionally, you can tie the twine around the wings to keep them securely in place.

Trim Excess Twine

Once the trussing is complete, trim any excess twine with kitchen scissors to ensure a neat appearance.

Step 3: Smoking

Pick your wood; fruit woods like cherry or apple will work best for a subtle sweet smokiness through the meat.

Load your chosen pellets, and set the smoker to a grill temperature of 275°F. Wait until it has come to temperature.

Place the chicken breast-side up and cook for 2 hours. Baste with butter or spray with cooking oil every 45 minutes to help the skin crisp up. Check the temperature periodically using an instant-read probe thermometer.

Rotate at 1.5 hours of cooking time so that the chicken cooks evenly.

Step 4: Remove and Rest

Check the internal temperatures of the thigh and breast meat to know if the chicken is cooked. After around 2 hours of cooking time, the breast should read 165°F and around 175°F for the thickest part of the thigh.

Remove the chicken from your grill or smoker and rest for 20 minutes. This will allow the juices to be redistributed before carving and serving.

Tip: Make sure your thermometers are not touching the bone, as this can cause a faulty internal temperature.

How Long to Smoke the Whole Chicken?

Smoking a chicken will take roughly 2 hours at 275°F. Note: The cooking time will vary depending on various factors, including the weight of your chicken and temperature fluctuations when smoking. Always refer to the internal temperatures from a calibrated probe.

Do I Need to Monitor the Internal Temperature?

Yes! Speaking of calibrated probes… Use at least 2 thermometers, as we will

Fun Fact: Dark meat cooks slower than white meat. This is because the darker meat in the thighs and legs has connective tissue and fat. White breast meat consists mostly of proteins. These proteins require less cooking time to break down and become edible.

How to Accurately Monitor the Internal Temp

Insert the first one into the thickest part of the chicken breast and avoid the bone. Insert the second one into the thickest part of the chicken thigh and avoid the bone.

Note: Did you know the probe is around an inch

How to Get Crispier Skin on Your Smoked Chicken

Basting the outside of the chicken with fat or butter while smoking will produce crispy and golden skin. Trussing to keep the skin tight and in place will help render the skin to perfection.

 

What to Serve With Our Smoked Chicken

Grilled Carrots

Traeger Smoked Brussel Sprouts

Cheesy Potatoes

Smoked Onion Bombs.

Whole Smoked Chicken

Charlie
This a juicy and succulent smoked chicken recipe! It an easy and affordable way to make a delicious meal for a cookout, weeknight dinner or too impress at a dinner party. The deep smoky flavors your get from a whole smoked chicken are way better than any rotisserie chicken from the supermarket.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Course Appetizer, Breakfast, Dinner, lunch, main, Main Course, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine American, Barbecue, bbq, dinner, grill, lunch
Servings 4 people
Calories 326 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 Smoker

Ingredients
  

  • 4-5 lb whole chicken
  • 2 teaspoons cooking oil
  • 3 tablespoons seasoning salt pepper, garlic
  • ¼ cup BBQ rub

Instructions
 

  • Drizzle the chicken with oil, then season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder from all sides including the cavity. Apply an even coating of BBQ rub.
  • Truss the legs with kitchen twine and tuck the wings’ tips underneath/behind the back of the bird.
  • Preheat the smoker to 275°F.
  • Place the chicken on your smoker breast side up, and cook for about 2 hours.
  • After the first 45 minutes, check on the chicken, and give it a spray of cooking oil or butter to help the skin crisp up.
  • After 1.5 hours, rotate the chicken so that it cooks evenly and give it another spray or coating or cooking oil or butter.
  • Check the temperature at this stage, it should read around 140°F for the breast, and around 150°F at the thigh.
  • After about 2 hours, it should read 165°F at the thickest part of the breast, and 175°F at the thickest part of the thigh (make sure that the thermometer is not hitting a bone to get a correct reading). That’s when the chicken is ready to come off.
  • Remove the chicken from the grill and let it rest for 20 minutes to allow the juices to redistribute before carving and serving.
  • Serve with steamed carrots and broccoli.
Keyword Smoked Chicken, whole smoked chicken

Smoke On!

Charlie

Author: Charlie Reeves
Hi, I’m Charlie, I have been meat-smoking and grilling for the past 15 years. I have an array of different smokers, thermometers, and have a love for finding the right wood and charcoal combo My favourite recipes are my EXTRA CRISPY smoked pork belly, juicy pulled pork, smoked brisket, duck poppers, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill).

I loves sharing his tips with beginners, helping them navigate the world of smoking. I find it’s not just about cooking; it’s a quest for that perfect smoky flavor.

You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling recipes with you!

You can read more about me on our About Us page.

Hungry For More?

Smoke On!

Charlie

Hi, I’m Charlie, I have been meat-smoking and grilling for the past 15 years. I have an array of different smokers, thermometers, and have a love for finding the right wood and charcoal combo My favourite recipes are my EXTRA CRISPY smoked pork belly, juicy pulled pork, smoked brisket, duck poppers, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill).

I loves sharing his tips with beginners, helping them navigate the world of smoking. I find it’s not just about cooking; it’s a quest for that perfect smoky flavor.

You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling recipes with you!

You can read more about me on our About Us page.

Hungry For More?

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