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Smoked Whole Chicken
Smoked chicken is believed to be the most common, easy to make, and the tastiest meal that anyone can serve on a dinner table on any special occasion or for a holiday dinner. I found out making this whole chicken recipe incredibly easy, and it takes comparatively much lesser time than any other meat dish. I am sure if you follow my recipe, you will be serving your holiday dinner table with the best-smoked chicken recipe in no time. You can also go through the sideline recipes I have shared to serve a complete and proper meal.
I have shared several grilling recipes, but this one I like the most. It serves you with a sufficient amount of nutrition calories needed by the body from a one-time meal.
If you are hosting a friend’s reunion or a party, I recommend you smoke a whole chicken instead of going for other time-taking options rather than purchasing a rotisserie chicken from the grocer. I would say to smoke your chicken with the spice rub or the chicken rub you like.
Best sidelines for Smoked whole chicken
There are many other smoked chicken recipes, but this is my favorite one, and I just love it when I prepare it with my favorite dry rub presented along with my favorite side dishes that are Smoked baked potatoes, Smoked sweet potatoes, Smoked Asparagus, or smoked deviled eggs.
How to make Smoked Whole Chicken
Smoking chicken is a task for the experts, but at the same time, it can be a bit challenging for the young pitmasters to smoke the whole chickens but no need to panic! Here we will walk you through all the tips and tricks along with the top line recipe to make your best-smoked chicken.
To prepare the best chicken, grab your smoker. Fill it up with red hot charcoal and the fruitwood you like to infuse the meat with that tempting smoke flavor. Here I will be using a pellet grill.
Without wasting any more time, let’s jump to the recipe.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 4 hours
- Total Time: 4 hours 5 minutes
- Cook Temperature: 225ºF (375ºF for making the chicken skin crispier)
- Finished Temperature: 170ºF
- Wood Flavor: Apple wood or cherry wood
- Servings: 6-8 people
- Your preference of smoker (I recommend a pellet smoker)
- Commercial grade tinfoil
- BBQ temperature probe
- Kitchen twine
- BBQ tongs
- Paper towels
- Cooking tray/ foil pan
- 1 whole chicken
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 batch of Smoked Chicken Rub
- 2 tablespoons of melted butter
- Smoked Paprika
- BBQ Sauce (optional)
- Garlic powder
- Apple juice (optional)
- Brown sugar (optional)
- Fresh thyme for dressing
- Preparing the chicken brining and afterwards marinating it .
- Start your smoker and get the temperature stable at 225ºF.
- Coat the outside of your chicken in some olive oil, and then add your preferred chicken seasoning. For extra flavor, separate the skin from the meat by sliding your hand between the two and coating the meat with seasoning.
- Place the chicken directly on the grill and smoke for 3 hours. Optionally, you can also place it on a disposable tinfoil pan to keep some of the juices.
- Remove the chicken from the grill and let rest for 10 minutes.
BBQ Hero Tip: For the perfect crispy chicken skin, separate the skin from the meat during prep and make sure to get the rub between the skin and the meat for the perfect, and delicious, crispy chicken skin that is simply amazing
Detailed cooking instructions
1) Purchasing the chicken and brining it
This step is optional!
It is not necessary to brine the whole bird before smoking it, but also there is no harm in it. If you brine the chicken, it will tenderize the meat and keep it moist, serving you with incredibly moist, full of juiciness and tender meat. It will also help in getting rid of any unnecessary saturated fat. Once done with the brining process, you can discard the chicken brine and take the chicken straight for marinating. Always pat dry the meat with the help of paper towels before applying the spice blend.
Many people got confused with the terms chicken brine and chicken broth. Both of them are different things. You cannot use the brine, whereas you can store the chicken broth and can use it while making other delicious recipes such as soups etc.
2) Preparing the smoker and maintaining the desired temperature
Always clean your grill grates or the wire rack before using. Light up your smoker, make sure that the charcoals are red hot, then add wood pellets to it and close the lid. All fruit woods are considered to be the best wood for smoking, but it purely depends upon your taste. Maintain the internal temperature of the smoker at 225ºF. This is the optimal temperature to cook and make a perfect smoked whole chicken recipe.
3) Seasoning the chicken with rub/ spice blend and other ingredients
If you want to enjoy crispy skin, do not remove the skin while marinating or washing the chicken. To marinate the bird, place it on a cooking tray and brush it up with olive oil. After giving it an oil bath, apply the rub and all the other ingredients with the help of a hand or a brush, the way you feel easy.
When you are done marinating it hold the two legs together from the end and tie them up with kitchen twine and tuck in the wings behind the shoulder joint
4) Smoking a whole chicken
When you are done seasoning the chicken, place it directly onto the grill. You can also place the chicken in a foil pan and put it on the grill. Do you know why we do this? We do this to gather all the juices that pop out of the chicken while smoking so that the juice may not fall on the rack and you will not have to clean it again and again.
Leave it in the smoker at 225ºF for the desired cooking time that is 3 – 4 hours. When you are halfway through, start basting the meat with melted butter. You can also baste it after short intervals.
If you want to enjoy a crispier skin, increase the temperature to 375ºF and let it cook for another 30-40 minutes.
An electric probe thermometer or a simple BBQ thermometer must be inserted into the thickest part of the meat to record the internal temperature of the meat. If the internal temperature is recorded at 165 degrees f, consider it done.
5) Removing the chicken and serving it
When the desired internal temp is achieved, remove the foil pan containing the whole smoked chicken and set it aside for almost 10 minutes. You must be thinking about why we let it rest for 10 minutes. We do it to allow the meat to redistribute the juices and flavor amongst all the parts and enjoy a crisp crust. After 10 minutes, take a serving platter, place the bird on it and sprinkle some lemon juice along with finely chopped thyme or parsley. Do not forget to serve it with a side salad.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take to smoke whole chicken at 225?
The exact time to smoke the whole chicken at 225 is 4 hours until the thigs, breasts, or any thickest part has reached the said internal temperature. If compared with other smoked recipes, it consumes much less time giving an incredible flavor.
How do you smoke a whole chicken without drying it out?
There are three different ideas by which you can smoke a whole chicken without drying it out.
- Brining the chicken: it will give you a tender meat with all the juices trapped inside the meat.
- Avoid cooking or smoking it at high temperatures.
- Leaving the skin on the meat will allow it to retain all the juices while cooking, thus providing you with juicy meat.
How do you keep chicken moist when smoking?
To keep the chicken wet while cooking, add a brine before smoking. Brines can be made with just salt and water or with spices, fresh herbs, or aromatics like lemon and garlic.
What temperature should you smoke a whole chicken?
The optimal temperature to smoke a whole chicken is 225. Whereas if you want a crisp crust to increase the temperature to 375.
The optimal internal temperature at which your chicken gets fully cooked is 165
Do I need to brine chicken before smoking?
It is not necessary, but if you want to enjoy meat full of tenderness, juices, and natural flavors. I recommend brine it before cooking because brining the meat with spices, salt, and sugar will leave you with the best aromatic and juicy texture.
Do you wrap chicken in foil when smoking?
Wrapping the bird should not be necessary. Cooking the chicken in foil after it has been cooked can assist the flesh in becoming even more soft and moist. However, you should not wrap the chicken for an extended period of time since it will lose moisture.