Smoked Whole Chicken: A Delicious and Easy Recipe for Any Occasion

Best Smoked Whole Chicken: A Delicious and Easy Recipe for Any Occasion

Smoked whole chicken is a delicious and flavorful dish that is perfect for any occasion. Whether you’re hosting a backyard barbecue or looking for a tasty weeknight dinner, a smoked chicken is sure to impress. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know to make the perfect smoked whole chicken, from choosing the right chicken to serving it up.

Choosing the right chicken is the first step in making a delicious smoked whole chicken. You’ll want to look for a fresh, high-quality bird that is free of any bruises or blemishes. Once you’ve selected your chicken, the next step is to prepare it for smoking. This involves brining the chicken to ensure it stays moist and flavorful throughout the smoking process.

Key Takeaways

  • Choosing the right chicken is crucial for a successful smoked whole chicken.
  • Brining the chicken prior to smoking is essential for juicy, flavorful meat.
  • Preparing a delicious rub and seasoning mix is key to achieving a mouth-watering result.

Choosing the Right Chicken

When it comes to smoking a whole chicken, choosing the right chicken is crucial to achieving the best results. Here are some factors to consider when selecting a chicken for smoking:

Choosing the Right Chicken; Smoked Whole Chicken
Credits to

Type of Chicken

Different types of chicken can yield different results when smoked. Here are some common types of chicken you may consider:

  • Broiler/Fryer: These chickens are typically younger and smaller, making them ideal for smoking. They have tender meat and a mild flavor.
  • Roaster: Roaster chickens are larger and older than broiler/fryer chickens. They have a firmer texture and a richer flavor.
  • Organic: Organic chickens are raised without antibiotics or hormones and are fed organic feed. They may have a slightly different flavor and texture than conventionally raised chickens.

Size of Chicken

The size of the chicken is also important when smoking. A larger chicken may take longer to smoke and may not cook evenly. It’s best to choose a chicken that weighs between 2.5-4 pounds.


When selecting a chicken for smoking, it’s important to choose a fresh chicken. Look for a chicken with firm, pink flesh and no signs of discoloration or foul odor.


Choose a chicken that is free from bruises, cuts, or other blemishes. A high-quality chicken will yield better results and a more enjoyable eating experience.

By considering these factors, you can choose the right chicken for smoking and achieve delicious, tender meat with a rich, smoky flavor.

Preparation of the Chicken

Before smoking a whole chicken, it is crucial to prepare it properly. The following steps will guide you through the preparation process.

First, remove the giblets from the chicken cavity and discard them. Then, rinse the chicken under cold running water and pat it dry with paper towels.

Next, season the chicken generously with your preferred rub or seasoning blend. Make sure to rub the seasoning both inside and outside of the chicken.

To keep the chicken in shape during smoking, truss it with butcher twine. Start by tying the legs together, then tuck the wings under the bird and tie them to the body. This will help the chicken cook evenly and maintain its shape.

Finally, place the seasoned and trussed chicken in the refrigerator for at least an hour to allow the flavors to penetrate the meat. This step is optional but recommended for best results.

By following these simple steps, you will have a perfectly prepared whole chicken ready for smoking.

Brining the Chicken

Brining is a crucial step in preparing a smoked whole chicken. It involves soaking the chicken in a saltwater solution to enhance its flavor and moisture content. Brining also helps to tenderize the meat and make it more succulent. Here’s how to brine a chicken for smoking:

  1. Mix the brine solution: In a large pot, combine water, salt, brown sugar, garlic, onion, and lemon. Stir the mixture until the salt and sugar dissolve completely.
  2. Submerge the chicken: Place the chicken in the brine solution, making sure it is completely submerged. Cover the pot with a lid and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  3. Rinse and pat dry: After brining, remove the chicken from the solution and rinse it thoroughly under cold running water. Pat it dry with paper towels.
  4. Let it rest: Let the chicken rest at room temperature for 30 minutes before smoking it.
Brining the Chicken  to Smoked Whole Chicken
Credits to RecipeTin Eats

It’s important to note that the brine solution should be cold before adding the chicken. Also, make sure to use a food-grade plastic bag or non-reactive container to hold the brine and chicken. Brining time can vary depending on the size of the chicken, but a good rule of thumb is to brine for 1 hour per pound of meat.

In conclusion, brining is an essential step in preparing a smoked whole chicken. It adds flavor, moisture, and tenderness to the meat, making it a juicy and delicious dish.

Preparing the Rub and Seasoning

The key to a flavorful smoked whole chicken is a well-prepared rub. A rub is a mixture of herbs, spices, and other seasonings that are applied to the surface of the chicken before smoking. The rub not only adds flavor but also helps to create a crispy, golden-brown skin.

To prepare the rub, start with a base of garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and black pepper. These ingredients provide a savory, slightly sweet flavor that complements the smoky flavor of the chicken. For a little heat, add a pinch of cayenne or chili powder.

To give the rub a smoky flavor, use smoked paprika instead of regular paprika. Smoked paprika is made by smoking and drying sweet peppers before grinding them into a powder. It adds a deep, smoky flavor to the rub that pairs perfectly with the smoky flavor of the chicken.

For a more complex flavor, add some dried thyme and oregano to the rub. These herbs add a subtle earthy flavor that complements the other spices in the rub.

Preparing the Rub and Seasoning to Smoked Whole Chicken
Credits to Nexgrill

When preparing the rub, be sure to mix the ingredients thoroughly to ensure that the flavors are evenly distributed. Once the rub is mixed, apply it generously to the surface of the chicken, making sure to cover all areas, including under the skin.

In summary, a well-prepared spice rub is essential for a flavorful smoked whole chicken. By combining garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, black pepper, chili powder, smoked paprika, cayenne, thyme, and oregano, you can create a rub that is savory, slightly sweet, and smoky. Apply the rub generously to the chicken, and you’ll be rewarded with a delicious, crispy, and flavorful bird.

Smoking the Chicken

Smoking a whole chicken is a simple process that can yield delicious results. The key is to use a low and slow cooking method to ensure the meat is cooked through while still remaining juicy and flavorful.

To smoke a whole chicken, you will need a smoker or a pellet grill. You can use a variety of different types of wood chips to add flavor to the chicken, such as apple wood or mesquite wood. The best wood for smoking chicken will depend on your personal preference and the flavor profile you are looking for.

Smoking the Chicken
Credits to Smoker Cooking

Before smoking the chicken, it is important to prepare it properly. Remove any giblets or excess fat from the cavity and rinse the chicken thoroughly with cold water. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season it with your desired rub or seasoning.

Once the chicken is seasoned, preheat your smoker to 225°F. Add your preferred wood chips to the smoker and place the chicken on the grates. Use a meat thermometer to monitor the internal temperature of the chicken, aiming for a temperature of 165°F in the thickest part of the meat.

 meat thermometer to monitor the internal temperature of the chicken  to Smoked Whole Chicken
Credits to The Grilling Dad

The smoking process can take several hours, depending on the size of the chicken. It is important to maintain a consistent temperature throughout the cooking process to ensure the chicken cooks evenly. You may need to add more wood chips periodically to maintain the desired level of smoke.

Once the chicken reaches the desired internal temperature, remove it from the smoker and let it rest for 10-15 minutes before carving and serving. Enjoy your perfectly smoked whole chicken!

Serving the Smoked Chicken

Once the smoked whole chicken is ready, it’s time to serve it up to your guests. Here are a few tips to make sure the chicken is presented and enjoyed perfectly.

First, make sure the chicken is sliced and arranged on a platter or cutting board. This will make it easy for guests to grab a piece and enjoy.

Serving the Smoked Chicken
Credits to Jerkyholic

Next, consider serving the smoked chicken with some classic sides such as mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, or potato salad. These sides will complement the smoky flavor of the chicken and provide a hearty meal for your guests.

If you’re looking for something a bit lighter, consider serving coleslaw or a simple green salad. These refreshing sides will balance out the richness of the chicken and provide a fresh contrast to the smoky flavor.

Finally, make sure to have plenty of napkins and utensils on hand, as smoked chicken can be messy to eat. With these tips, your guests are sure to enjoy every bite of your delicious smoked whole chicken.

Additional Tips and Tricks

To achieve a perfectly smoked whole chicken, there are a few additional tips and tricks that can help you get the most out of your cooking experience.

Firstly, to keep the chicken moist and tender, it is recommended to use foil to cover the chicken during the smoking process. This helps to lock in moisture and prevent the chicken from drying out.

When it comes to cutting the chicken, it is important to let it rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing into it. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in a more succulent and flavorful chicken.

For those who prefer crispy skin, spatchcocking the chicken or using a rotisserie can help achieve this. Both methods allow for more direct heat to reach the skin, resulting in a crispy and delicious texture.

If you are cooking multiple chickens, it is important to adjust the cooking time accordingly. A general rule of thumb is to add an additional 15-20 minutes of cooking time for each additional chicken.

When seasoning the chicken, using kosher salt and Meat Church’s SPG (Salt, Pepper, Garlic) blend can help enhance the flavor.

Lastly, using a digital meat thermometer can ensure that the chicken is cooked to the correct temperature, resulting in a perfectly cooked and safe to eat chicken.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best way to get crispy skin when smoking a whole chicken?

To get crispy skin when smoking a whole chicken, it is recommended to dry the chicken skin thoroughly before smoking. Additionally, rubbing the chicken with oil or butter can help to achieve a crispy skin.

What is the recommended brine recipe for smoking a whole chicken?

A simple brine recipe for smoking a whole chicken is to mix water, salt, sugar, and any desired herbs or spices. The chicken should be soaked in the brine for at least 4 hours before smoking.

How long should I smoke a whole chicken on a pellet grill?

The ideal smoking time for a whole chicken on a pellet grill is approximately 3-4 hours at a temperature of 225-250°F. However, the smoking time may vary depending on the size of the chicken and the desired level of doneness.

What is the ideal temperature for smoking a whole chicken?

The ideal smoking temperature for a whole chicken is between 225-250°F. This temperature ensures that the chicken is cooked evenly and retains its moisture.

What are some tips for smoking a competition-worthy whole chicken?

To smoke a competition-worthy whole chicken, it is important to brine the chicken beforehand, dry the skin thoroughly, and season the chicken generously. Additionally, using fruitwood or hickory wood for smoking can add a delicious flavor to the chicken.

How long should I smoke a 10 pound whole chicken?

A 10 pound whole chicken should be smoked for approximately 4-5 hours at a temperature of 225-250°F. However, it is important to use a meat thermometer to ensure that the internal temperature of the chicken reaches at least 165°F before serving.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *