Whiskey Peach Smoked Pulled Chicken could likely win an award for the most flavorful, succulent, melt in your mouth smoked chicken that ever was. Injected with peach juice, whiskey, and melted butter then slow smoked over peach wood, you can taste the love in every single bite.
How to Make Smoked Pulled Chicken
The secret to succulent smoked pulled chicken is the low and slow smoke time. We’re going for maximum smoke flavor and you’ve gotta be willing to put in the time to make that happen. I like to smoke my chicken over indirect heat and for this particular recipe, I prefer to use peach wood to accent the flavors in both the injection and the whiskey peach barbecue sauce.
Be sure your chicken is fully defrosted before starting and have all of your ingredients ready to go. With pulled chicken, we aren’t too concerned about getting that crispy skin since it mostly gets discarded, so I spend my efforts increasing the flavor of the meat itself. I do that with a whiskey, peach juice, and butter injection. If you don’t have a meat injector, I recommend picking up a dishwasher safe stainless steel model (like THIS ONE)
I always baste my smoked chickens with BBQ sauce and this one is no different. Even if the skin itself gets discarded, you still get that smoky sauce mixed into the meat itself as you shred your chicken. I made a special Whiskey Peach Barbecue Sauce just for this smoked pulled chicken and it is the perfect complement to the whiskey peach butter injection.
What Temp to Pull Smoked Chicken
This has been up for debate among pitmasters for quite some time. I say the perfect temp to pull smoked chicken is when you hit 160 degrees F in the breast. I then cover tightly with foil and let the carry-over cooking bring the internal temperature up to 165 degrees F.
Other pitmasters claim the best way to do low and slow smoked pulled chicken is to take it up to 200 degrees like a pork butt or brisket. I don’t love this method because my results have either been incredibly dry in the breast or, if I have brined the bird to retain moisture, I end up with mushy meat.
My personal recommendation is to stick to 165 degrees F, but if you’ve found success with the higher temperature, let me know in the comments! Make sure you are using an accurate instant read thermometer, the Thermoworks MK4 is my go-to and I’ve used it daily for a couple of years with no issues (I’ve never even had to replace the battery).
How Long to Smoke a Whole Chicken
If you’re cooking your chicken whole, I recommend 45 minutes per pound. If you want to spatchcock or split your chickens into halves (like I did in THIS RECIPE) you can shorted your cooking time to 35 minutes per pound. I don’t mind the longer cook time on this recipe because it gives my smoked pulled chicken more time in the smoker and more of that flavor throughout the exterior of the meat.
Whiskey Peach Smoked Pulled Chicken Recipe
- 1 3-4 pound whole chicken
- 1 cup peach juice
- 1/4 cup whiskey
- 1/4 cup melted butter
- 1/4 cup Hey Grill Hey’s Sweet BBQ Rub link in recipe notes
- 1/2 cup Whiskey Peach BBQ sauce link in recipe notes
- Preheat your smoker to 225 degrees F using a mild fruit wood like peach.
- Remove any giblets or neck from inside of the chicken and pat dry.
- In a jar, combine the peach juice, whiskey, and melted butter. Inject this mixture into your chicken in several spots. Be sure to inject in at least 3 different places in each breast, 2 places in the thighs, and 1 time in each leg. Work quickly during this step to prevent your butter from getting hard and clogging your injector. If your butter does start to harden, you can microwave the jar of liquid for 30 seconds to soften it up again.
- Season your chicken liberally on all sides with the Sweet BBQ Rub (link in recipe notes). Place in the middle of your smoker and close the lid. Smoke for 45 minutes per pound of chicken. A 3-4 pound bird will take 2.5-3.5 hours.
- When the internal temperature of your meat reaches 150 degrees, brush liberally with the whiskey peach BBQ sauce (link in recipe notes).
- Check the temperature in both the thighs and the breasts and when your internal temperature reads consistently 160 degrees F, remove the chicken to a rimmed serving platter or baking sheet (your chicken will release a lot of moisture) and cover tightly with foil to allow the chicken to come up to 165 degrees F and rest for 20 minutes.
- Shred the chicken and set it onto your serving platter. Discard the carcass or save for homemade stock. Drizzle your smoked pulled chicken with more of the Whiskey Peach Barbecue Sauce and serve on toasted buns.