Whole Smoked Chicken with a Zesty Tabasco Spiked Brine

October 6, 2018

This Whole Smoked Chicken is incredibly juicy thanks to the homemade Zesty TABASCO® Spiked Brine. It is so tender and flavorful, you’ll want to make extra to use in salads, soups, and dinners the whole week! This post is sponsored by TABASCO®.

Whole Smoked Chicken


Smoking whole chickens is one of my favorite ways to prepare a family style meal. The prep work is minimal and all of the magic happens with just a little bit of patience and giving yourself time. Smoked chickens come in several varieties and I make them lots of different ways! Some are halved, some are spatchcocked, but the simplest way to smoke chickens is just to season them liberally and smoke low and slow.

Smoked chicken is a bit of an art form, and one common struggle at the beginning is rubbery skin. This happens when the smoke starts to dry out the chicken skin without cooking at a high enough temperature to render the fat and make it crispy. The zesty brine really helps solve this issue by adding extra moisture into the skin to keep it from getting rubbery. It doesn’t crisp, but it does stay tender and deliciously bite-through. If you want crisp skin, you can either increase the heat on your smoker or broil the chicken for just a few minutes at the end of the cooking process.

brine for whole smoked chicken


I love a good brined chicken! Brining actually creates a change on the cellular level of your chicken where the cells are infused with additional moisture. Most brines are simply water, salt, and sugar (if desired). I took this brine a step further and added original TABASCO sauce to bring a little extra zip and pizzazz to the overall flavor of the chicken. The brine comes together in just a few minutes, but it really does the most amazing things to chicken by adding both flavor, tenderness, and moisture.  This will probably be the juiciest chicken you ever eat.

whole smoked chicken recipe

Whole Smoked Chicken Recipe

smoked whole chicken
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Whole Smoked Chicken with a Zesty TABASCO® Brine

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time3 hrs
Brine Time12 hrs
Total Time3 hrs 10 mins
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Whole Smoked Chicken
Author: Susie Bulloch (heygrillhey.com)


  • 1 whole fryer chicken 3-4 pounds
  • 1 tablespoon TABASCO® Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Homemade BBQ Sweet Rub
  • 1 yellow onion quartered
  • 1 lemon sliced
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme

For the TABASCO Brine

  • 1 gallon of water
  • ½ cup TABASCO® Sauce
  • ½ cup Kosher salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar


  • Create the chicken brine by dissolving the TABASCO® Sauce, kosher salt and brown sugar in 1 gallon of water. Once dissolved, submerge the chicken in the brine and refrigerate for at least 8 hours, or overnight. Weigh down your chicken with a plate, if necessary, to keep the whole bird submerged.
  • When you’re ready to cook, preheat your smoker according to manufacturer’s instructions to 225 degrees F. I recommend mild hardwoods like maple or pecan with this chicken.
  • While the grill is preheating, remove the chicken from the brine and pat dry. Rub with TABASCO® Sauce and season liberally with the BBQ seasoning.
  • Stuff the cavity of the chicken with lemon, onion, and thyme. Tie the legs together.
  • Place the seasoned chicken in your smoker and smoke for 2-1/2 to 3 hours or until an instant read thermometer reads 160 degrees F when inserted into the thickest part of the breast. Remove the chicken to a cutting board and allow the chicken to rest for 10-15 minutes and the internal temperature to finish rising to 165 degrees F.
  • Slice and serve!


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