Smoked Whole Chicken

September 4, 2019

This Smoked Whole Chicken is a juicy, delicious, and affordable way to make a dinner for your entire family. Better than any rotisserie chicken you’ll buy at the grocer, smoking your own whole chicken simply can’t be beat.

smoked whole chicken on a wood board with green herbs

Smoked Whole Chicken

Smoking a whole chicken is a great way to cook chicken when you are not in a big hurry. When you have time to go low and slow, why not infuse your chicken with as much smoke flavor as you can? Whole chicken often goes on sale at the store (the one I used for this recipe only cost $5.00). What a deal!

Smoked whole chicken are great to do on the weekends, because you can cook multiple chickens at a time, and they’ll be better than any rotisserie chicken you can buy at the store. I like to stash up the extra meat and save it for other tasty meals like enchiladas, buffalo chicken dip, or on nachos. Consider it an easy and tasty weekend meal prep. Nothing’s better than having a bunch of delicious smoked whole chicken ready to rock and roll for the remainder of the week.

Quick note: smoking can often result in leathery skin, so my way to combat this is with a nice layer of olive oil on the outside of the chicken prior to the dry rub. The fat in the oil will help to keep the skin moist and prevent the smoke from drying it out. This skin will also be soft, and not crispy. If you want crispy skin on your chicken, increase the heat in your smoker to 375-500 degrees F for the final 8-10 degree climb.

whole chicken coated in seasoning on a smoker

Smoked Whole Chicken Rub

I absolutely love a whole smoked chicken with a good sweet rub. My Best Sweet Rub is a favorite on this site, and super easy to make at home. If you want to buy some pre-made Signature Sweet Rub (available in both small and large bottles!) from our store, Patio Provisions, we’ll happily ship it straight to your door!

If you’d rather skip the sugar, another great rub for this smoked whole chicken is this Lemon Herb Chicken Seasoning. It contains smoked paprika (a seasoning game-changer), fresh herbs, and lemon zest for a refreshing final flavor. We also sell an award-winning Chicken Seasoning if you want something with a ton of flavor and just a touch of heat.

How to Smoke a Whole Chicken

Smoking a whole chicken is not as intimidating as it sounds. It’s a simple process of prepping, seasoning, and smoking. Nothing fancy here, just a simple smoked chicken that will come out juicy and tasting great.

  1. Get the smoke going. Preheat your preferred smoker (I cooked this on my Camp Chef SmokePro) to 275 degrees F.
  2. Season the whole chicken. Drizzle the chicken with olive oil and season on all sides with my Best Sweet Rub.
  3. Prep the chicken. Use butcher twine to tie the legs together. Tuck the wing tips behind the shoulder joint.
  4. Smoke that chicken! Place the seasoned chicken directly on the grill grates. Close the smoker and smoke for 2.5-3 hours. You’ll want the breasts to reach 160-165 degrees F, and the thighs at 170-175 degrees F internal temperature.
  5. Remove, slice, and serve. During the last 30 minutes of smoking, you can baste with your preferred BBQ sauce (my favorites with smoked chicken include my Maple Bourbon Glaze, Honey BBQ Sauce, and Kansas City BBQ Sauce. This is completely optional, and the chicken tastes just as awesome smoked with the dry rub only.

smoked pork chop on a wood cutting board with green herbs

How Long to Smoke a Whole Chicken

It takes approximately 2.5-3 hours to fully smoke a whole chicken at 275 degrees F. The final internal temperature of the breast should be between 160-165 degrees F, and the thighs should be between 170-175 degrees F.

The cook time for a whole chicken depends on a handful of factors. First, the bigger the size of your chicken, the longer it will take to cook. Second, smokers temps are not always perfectly consistent, so if your temp drops a bit, you could be looking at a longer cook time. As always, keep a reliable meat thermometer handy, and watch the internal temperature and not the clock when smoking a whole chicken.

Smoked Whole Chicken Recipe

This recipe was created for you, backyard griller! Here at Hey Grill Hey, we’re in the business of helping you make better BBQ, feed the people you love, and become a backyard BBQ hero. You can find more of my smoking and grilling recipes here on my website (browse the Homepage for inspiration) on InstagramYouTube or our Facebook Page.

Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Smoked Whole Chicken

Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time4 hrs
Total Time4 hrs 5 mins
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Asian, Barbecue
Keyword: Smoked Whole Chicken
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 62kcal
Author: Susie Bulloch (heygrillhey.com)

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Preheat your smoker to 225 degrees F.
  • Drizzle chicken with olive oil and season on all sides with the sweet rub. I don't recommend rubbing in your seasoning because it will just pull back on the skin and your seasoning will chunk.
  • Use butcher twine to tie the legs together and tuck the wing tips behind the shoulder joint.
  • Place your chicken directly on the grill grates on your smoker. Close the lid and smoke for 3 1/2 - 4 hours. Breasts should be about 160-165 degrees F. The thighs should be about 170-175 degrees F.
  • Baste with your favorite BBQ sauce during the last 30 minutes of cooking (this is optional). Also, if you want crispy skin on your chicken, increase the heat on your smoker for the final 8-10 degrees (aim for 375-400 degrees).
  • Once the chicken has reached the correct internal temperature, remove it from the grill, slice, and serve.

Nutrition

Calories: 62kcal | Protein: 1g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 1mg
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10 thoughts on “Smoked Whole Chicken

  1. When I cook pork or beef I always let the meat come up to room temperature before putting it on the smoker. Should I do this with chicken as well? I’ve been told in the past to not to because of bacteria.

  2. Love your site and I was surprised by this chicken, the last few whole chickens I’ve done have not been great, but these turned out very good. Does it matter which side you place them on? I went fat side towards the heat in my barrel smoker.

    1. Also one thing I do so I don’t have to mess with string is to cut a slit in one of the legs and push the other leg through.

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