How to Smoke a Whole Chicken on a Pit Boss Pellet Grill (8 Simple Steps)

Want the ultimate smoked whole chicken recipe?

This one always comes out super juicy and succulent

Not sure exactly how to do it?

No worries.

We’re going to go through all the steps to get a juicy and smoky chicken with crisp skin

The last thing you want is rubbery skin, so follow my recipe below.

Our chicken looking tasty straight out the smoker!

How To Prepare The Chicken For Smoking

We’re going to start from the top with this chicken recipe. 

Preparing the meat is as important as smoking it. 

Follow these basic steps for preparing your chicken. 

Simple Method for Preparing Chicken

1. Remove the chicken from the packaging. 

2. Clean and rinse the chicken in cold water.

3. Dry the chicken and pat it down with a paper towel. 

4. Remove any items stuffed in the cavities or giblet bags. 

5. Get some kitchen shears or a meat knife. 

6. Remove the heart, liver, heart, and neck from the internal cavity. 

7. Trim the chicken by cutting away excess fat or skin from the corners. 

8. Trim any excess pieces on the edges of the cavities. 

9. Thoroughly wash the chicken in water. 

10. Pat the chicken dry with a damp paper towel. 

11. Get seasoning!

How To Get Crispy Skin On Your Smoked Chicken

Not a fan of rubbery chicken? Us neither. 

To get crispy chicken skin, the seasoning is as important as smoking the chicken at a high enough temperature.

This is also the case for smoking turkey as well as other cuts of chicken.

Should I Use A Rub On The Chicken?

We highly recommend you do!

A rub will give your entire chicken additional flavor and result in a delicious tender bird. 

You can use a premade rub or make up something from scratch. 

Rub Recipes for Smoked Chicken

If you’re looking for some rub inspiration, look no further. 

These rubs will help tenderize the chicken as well as season it.

Have a look at the options below to find great chicken rubs recipes. 

Feel free to experiment with your spices at home to find your new favorite seasoning recipe. 

Can I Dry Brine The Chicken?

Yes, you can. The dry brining process will keep the chicken moist and result in tender meat and crispy skin. 

Once you have prepped and cleaned your chicken, apply either your rub or salt to the entire chicken, inside and outside.

Avoid using oil with the rub when dry brining as it will affect the moisture of the meat. 

If you have the time allow the chicken to sit in the refrigerator overnight uncovered. Make sure you use a wire rack as this will allow airflow around the entire chicken.

The next day you might notice the chicken has a white powder look, which means the salt has penetrated the skin (which is what you want).

If you find there is a lot of excess rub or salt on the chicken give it a VERY light wipe with a clean paper towel or cloth.

What Temperature Should Your Pit Boss Be When a Whole Smoking Chicken?

Set your Pit Boss to 300°F to smoke a whole chicken. To ensure the fat renders you need to cook at a high temperature (this isn’t your normal low and slow BBQ recipe).

Note: if you have used a rub without much sugar in it, you could increase this to 350°F.

How Long Does it Take to Smoke a Whole Chicken on a Pit Boss?

A 5lb whole chicken takes around 1.5 – 2 hours to cook on a Pit Boss at 300°F.

Make sure you are using temperature probes in both the breast and thighs of the chicken.

Try to keep the lid shut as much as you can to avoid temperature fluctuations. Just use the temperature probes to see when your chicken is ready to pull from the smoker.

Note: if your cooking more than one chicken in the smoker, you need to make sure the chicken doesn’t stall.

Should You Use A Rotisserie?

The rotisserie is good for getting an even good on your chicken. However, the Pit Boss doesn’t come with a rotisserie.

It is something you have to add after you buy it. However, I do recommend installing one.

Preheating The Pit Boss

Preheating the grill is an essential step before you begin or start smoking the chicken. 

Preheat the grill after you have washed the chicken but before seasoning.

Preheat the temperature to 300°F degrees, which will ensure nice crispy skin. 

How To Smoke A Whole Chicken in 8 Steps

And now it’s time to get cooking!

Follow the basic process below for smoking your chicken. 

1. Prepare your chicken. 

2. Preheat the Pit Boss to 300°F.

3. Put the chicken breast side down on the preheated pellet grill. 

4. Let it smoke until the internal temp of the breast is 165°F and the thighs are 175°F (about 2.5 hours of cooking time). 

5. Cook chicken breast side up for the entire cook. 

6. To make sure it is fully smoked, the leg and chicken thigh should easily twist and almost come off. 

7. Let the chicken rest for 10-15 minutes and cover with foil. 

8. When you’re ready to eat, remove it from the grill and start serving!


Depending on the size of the chicken the cooking time will vary. Keep a close eye on the internal temperature for the best results. 

When a Whole Chicken is Done Smoking on a Pit Boss?

When the internal temperature of the breast reads 165°F and the thighs hit 175°F your whole smoked chicken is ready to eat. Make sure you don’t touch any bones when taking these readings.

Allowing Your Chicken to Rest and Carving It.

You should let your chicken rest for 10 -15 minutes.

First, remove the thighs from the bird, then you can cut off the breast and the wings.

Make sure you serve the chicken with some tasty sides (see some of my families favorites below)

Side Dishes for Smoked Chicken

Smoked chicken is great on its own, but sometimes it is good to pair it with some side dishes. 

There are plenty of options out there that you can serve with your chicken. 

See some delicious side dishes for BBQ chicken below

  • Smoked Corn on the Cob
  • Baked Potatoes
  • Green Beans
  • Smoked Asparagus
  • Pasta Salad
  • Baked Beans
  • Coleslaw
  • Rice

My Pit Boss has a Flame Broiler, Do I Need To Worry About Temperature?

Some Pit Boss grills have a flame broiler option which will tell you the temperature of the meat. 

However, the temperature distribution can be uneven so this is not always a reliable source.

We recommend still using a digital thermometer to check the doneness of your chicken. 

Should I Stuff The Chicken?

This is entirely up to you and your personal preference.

If you do choose to stuff the chicken, go with a simple dry rub so that the flavors don’t overwhelm the meat. 

Instead, coat the skin with salt and black pepper and a bit of apple juice or chicken stock. 

What Wood Pellets Should I Use With The Pellet Smoker?

There are plenty of options when it comes to what type of wood you can choose.

Your selection ultimately depends upon what sort of flavor you’d like

Have a look at the wood options below to find which one works for you. 

For A Heavy Smoke Flavor

Mesquite is a great option if you’d like a particularly intense smoky flavor to your chicken. 

Hickory is also an ideal choice if you like chicken the smokier the better. 

If you’re after an aggressive smoke flavor go try these woods. 

Looking For Something Milder?

After a wood that’s a little less intense?

Oak is a lovely milder choice that still gives a sweet smoke flavor. 

Fruitwood pellets are great if you’re after a mild mix of woody flavors. 

Other Options

Chicken is an incredibly versatile meat, so plenty of woods work with it. 

Applewoodcherry, and alder are all mild, non-offensive flavors that work well. For an alternative wood, we recommend trying beech or pecan with your chicken. 

Or You Could Pick Seasonally

Another option is to choose the wood you wish, depending upon what season it is. 

For winter and fall flavors: pecan, apple, mesquite, and hickory. 

For summer and spring flavors: beech, cherry, pecan, and alder. 

Storing Your Wood Pellets

To ensure your wood pellets last, make sure you store them indoors. 

We recommend keeping them in an airtight container at room temperature. 

Storing them as such, will give them a much longer life and retain their flavor. 

What to Do With Leftover Chicken?

Got leftovers?

If you’re looking to use your chicken in some other dishes, the world is your oyster. 

The chicken can be eaten whole or chopped up and added to salads, curries, chicken burritos, and much more.


How Long Can Leave Smoked Chicken in The Fridge?

So, you’ve smoked a delicious whole chicken with your Pit Boss…

If you’ve got leftovers, we recommend storing them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days. 

You can also freeze them for up to 6 months by removing the chicken carcass and sealing the meat in a Ziplock bag

Pit Boss Smoked Chicken

Smoking a chicken on a Pit Boss Pellet Grill is lots of fun and comes with some great results. It is relatively easy, mess-free, and doesn't take too long.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time2 hours 45 minutes
Course: Dinner, lunch, main, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 6
Calories: 170kcal
Author: Charlie


  • Pit Boss Grill


  • 1 whole chicken
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 tbsp rub of choice pre made or home made


  • Prepare your chicken.
  • Preheat the Pit Boss.
  • Put the chicken breast side up on the preheated pellet grill.
  • Let it smoke until the internal temp of the breast is 165 F and the thighs are 180 F (about 2.5 hours of cooking time).
  • Cook chicken breast side up for the entire cook.
  • To make sure it is fully smoked, the leg and chicken thigh should easily twist and almost come off.
  • Let the chicken rest for 10-15 minutes and cover with foil.
  • When you’re ready to eat, remove it from the grill and start serving!

Smoking a chicken on a Pit Boss Pellet Grill is lots of fun and comes with some great results. It is relatively easy, mess-free, and doesn’t take too long. When your smoking a fresh home-cooked whole chicken yourself you get to try out all sorts of different rubs and see what you like best.

Plus, it is accessible for both seasoned smokers and those who are new to the Pit Boss world. Are you a fan of smoking a whole chicken on the Pit Boss pellet grill?

Smoke On!


Author: Charlie Reeves
Hi, I’m Charlie, I am head taste tester at Simply Meat Smoking! I love it grilling, smoking, and getting out in the yard with the kids! The family also love to test all my recipes (especially my EXTRA CRISPY pulled pork, smoky pork loin, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill)

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 adventures with you!

You can read more on our About Us page.

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