How to Smoke a Whole Chicken

My husband makes the most amazing smoked chicken. It is fabulous and something I never get tired of eating! So, I thought I’d ask him to share his tips on how to smoke a whole chicken.

Take it away, sweetie!

 

How to Smoke a Whole Chicken | ©addapinch.com

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Smoking a whole chicken is about as easy as it comes. There are only a few things you’ll need to watch for while prepping and cooking to make sure your smoked chicken turns out just right.

First, prep your grill or smoker.

We use a Big Green Egg smoker with lump charcoal by Big Green Egg. I’ve found it to be very consistent in heat and flavor. If you are using a gas grill to smoke, you’ll want to soak and add your wood chips to obtain the smoke flavor. For that, I’d recommend you just follow the directions for your smoke box or chips. If you are using a charcoal grill, you can use a lump charcoal like I’m using in my Big Green Egg.

Next, you’ll want to decide if you want to add a drip pan underneath the grates to catch any drippings off the chicken. As lean as chicken is known to be, a whole chicken will produce a good bit of drippings and these cause flare-ups. You definitely don’t want any flare-ups when smoking.

Once you have your grill/ smoker situated, preheat it to a stable 350 degrees, with no flames.

 

Next, clean your chicken.

Remove all of the giblets and other items that are placed inside the bird. If you’d like to save those for another use, do so. If not, discard them.

You’ll also want to trim off any excess fat from around the openings of the bird.

Then, once you’ve done all that, give your chicken a good rinse with clean water inside and out. Rinse it until the water runs clear.

 

Finally, smoke that bird!

Place your whole chicken onto the grill/ smoker and cook until temperature registers 165 degrees when checked with a meat probe. Be sure to check various areas of the chicken – the breasts, legs, thighs, etc. The cooking time will depend on the size of your whole chicken, but for a medium size will take about 45 minutes. Note: Be sure to use a meat probe or get a chicken with a pop-up indicator – or both! You just can’t tell if a whole chicken is done by looking at the outside. Better to be safe than sorry!

Wrap chicken in foil and allow to rest for five to ten minutes. Then, cut and serve!

Note from Robyn :: Occasionally, we’ll use a seasoning or rub on our smoked whole chicken, but that is always a matter of preference. If you choose to add a rub or seasoning mix to your chicken, do so before you add it to the smoker. If not, you’ll still have a tender, juicy, and delicious chicken following these steps.

 

 

How to Smoke a Whole Chicken | ©addapinch.com

 

 

Hope your chicken turns out as great as ours usually do. Be patient with it when you first start out smoking meat, but in the long run, it is so worth it.

Let me know if you have any questions!

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4.5 from 4 votes

How to Smoke a Whole Chicken

Learning How to Smoke a Whole Chicken opens up a whole world of delicious menu options. Follow these easy steps for a perfectly smoked whole chicken!
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 5 mins
Servings: 6
Author: Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch

Ingredients

  • 1 whole chicken
  • poultry season or dry rub optional

Instructions

  • Prep and preheat grill or smoker to a stable 350º F.
  • Place chicken onto grill or smoker and smoke until internal temperature registers 165º F when checked with an internal meat probe in multiple locations (breast, thigh, leg, etc). Time will vary based on the size of the chicken.
  • Remove from smoker and wrap with aluminum foil and allow to rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
Tried this recipe?Share a photo on Instagram and tag me with @addapinch and #addapinch!

Happy Smoking!

The Mister

 

30 comments on “How to Smoke a Whole Chicken”

  1. Now that is a good looking bird! I’ve never considered smoking a whole chicken on the barbecue, but am feeling so inspired to try this now.

  2. My hubby has guest posted and shared his wood smoking fun too! We have pretty talented hubbies:-) Great post, and very helpful! Now I want chicken, guess I know what we are making next weekend! :-)Take care, Terra

  3. This looks incredible! I can not wait to try smoking my first chicken soon!

  4. I love smoked anything!! This looks insanely delicious!

  5. Oh man. I want to try this..I’ve never smoked anything before…didn’t know it was possible with a gas grill!

  6. Egg envy. I want a big green egg!

  7. That is a beautiful photo of a bird! Will definitely have my husband give this a try! Thanks to your Mister for sharing!

  8. Looks perfect 🙂

  9. That chicken looks so tasty! Thanks for the tips, they will come in handy with the 4th coming up 🙂

  10. So fun hearing from Bart! And that looks scrumptious!

    P.S. Randy is in the middle of writing a recipe post for me too. Must be something in the water. 😉

    • This look wonderful. I do Turkey on my Weber, indirect method. I’m looking forward to your husband’s recipe. I don’t have a smoker, YET! LOL I’ll be trying this one soon.

  11. I just got a BGE, so this post is perfect timing. I really want to smoke a turkey, but a chicken is probably a better place to start. It looks like you didn’t use the plate setter (for indirect heat) – is that correct? If it’s the case, I’m wondering if you put the chicken on a rack and then the drip pan under the rack?

    Many thanks!

  12. Oh wow! This chicken looks perfect, I have to try this out soon 🙂

  13. Pingback: Smoked Turkey Recipe - Cooking | Add a Pinch | Robyn Stone

  14. about how long did you have to smoke it?

  15. Everyone loves the picture, but nobody has commented on the instructions. We followed the instructions, added some hickory chips for smoke, and waited the 45 minutes. Then we waited another hour. After about two hours, the temp was at 160°. PLAN TO COOK IT LONGER than the 45 minutes. We cook chicken on the Big Green Egg all the time, I knew 45 minutes was way too optimistic. With a good dry rub, this was a great meal. Or maybe we were just really hungry.

  16. Just go with Traeger. 90 minutes on high (4-5 lb bird) and its perfect. High is usually around 400°

  17. We’re new to smoking. I thought smoking takes longer than regular cooking. When I roast a chicken in the overn at 350° it takes 1 1/2 hours. Why does it cook in only a half hour when smoking it?

    • I know how confusing this can be when these cooking terms are misused. I proudly own a Traeger pellet grill and have participated in BBQ competitions. I’ve come to understand a lot since I started, and most of that through my errors. The recipe above calls for a temperature of 350 degrees which clearly puts it in the realm of roasting. Smoking temperatures are much lower. They’re in the approximate range of 180 to 250. This technique is both a method of low temperature cooking (which demands very long periods of time) and the application of the wonderful flavor enhancer of wood smoke. I apply 3-4 hours of low temperature wood smoke everytime I cook ribs, brisket, and pulled pork roasts, and then, I actually start the cooking process by foiling the meat with braising fluids inside and increasing the temperature slightly to 225 -250 degrees for the remainder of the cook. Then you’ll watch internal temperatures to determine when to remove the meat. Back to roasting a whole chicken, turn up the temperature for this method to 400 degrees. Add wood to this method for great smoky flavor. A whole chicken will take approximately 70-90 minutes to reach an internal 165 at the thickest part of the thigh. Don’t forget to allow every piece of meat to rest. Each type of meat has it’s own particular needs regarding temperatures and resting periods. I pray that this has helped. Now combine some good meat with some good smoke and have fun with it. Sean

  18. Is the chicken smoked on indirect heat or direct?

  19. At 350 you are grilling not smoking

    • This is a Lebanese recipe that I decided to try on my egg. Fabulous!!!!!Rhonda’s chicken stuffed
      1 box Uncle Bens original rice (not instant)
      1 lb. lean ground beef
      1 large can tomato sauce + 1 small can
      Cumin garlic powder
      Lemon pepper
      Salt
      Butter (stick)
      Soak rice in water about inch above rice
      For about 20 min
      Then mix ground beef and rice with hands thoroughly
      Meat will practically disappear
      Then add seasoning
      Be very generous on all except garlic powder. Just cover top of mixture with it.
      Mix again
      Add tomato sauces
      Mix again
      Cut butter into tabs and mix it in
      Wash your chick
      Sprinkle inside and out with salt and lemon pepper
      Stuff meat mixture inside chick and all around it. Cover very tightly with foil and bake @ 325 for 2 hrs.
      If chick is not done bake 30 min longer
      Enjoy!

  20. Is it direct or indirect heat – is there a significant difference?

  21. This was a total SUCCESS! I used my smoker, which is mostly a BBQ grill; however, today I wanted to Smoke a Chicken. I followed your suggestions and a Large Chicken from Foster Farms Smoked for 1:30 and it was great! I stuffed it with Rosemary from my backyard and salted the skin. Thank you for the help!!

  22. I made this on a whim Monday. Whole process, including washing the chicken, took 2 hours, 12 minutes. Got the fire going on the BGE, washed the chicken, rubbed it with Lane’s Sweet Heat, threw some wood chunks in. Chicken was about 4 lbs. I think there might be a term for a short smoke at a high temp (not an expert), but at 350, this was perfect. Chicken took 1 hour, 10 minutesThank you for the recipe!

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