How to Smoke Whole Chicken: Another Simple Food-Smoking Tutorial

As an Amazon affiliate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

For me, there is no best way to prepare a whole chicken than smoking it. This particular slow-cooking method ensures that you can get the fullest flavor and nutritional value that the meat has.

Unlike other ways of cooking, smoking does not suck out the essential contents of the food, making it a popular approach of many people. 

As for me, I can say that a smoked chicken is way better than its rotisserie counterpart. Aside from its genuine flavor, a smoked chicken is truly juicy and palpable.

It is one of the foods that you don’t get sick of eating. And even if there are leftovers, you can still do a lot to them. You can include them in pizza, sandwiches, and burgers. 

Since I keep on blabbering about this delicacy, I should already show you how to smoke whole chicken properly. It would save you a lot of time and money if you can create this delicacy in your own yard. Check out the simple tutorial that I made in the next section. 

How to Smoke Whole Chicken

Smoking food is actually an easy task as long as you have a working smoker. If you are an amateur, getting a gas or an electric smoker is a good idea. They are very easy to use and requires minimal nursing. 

But if you think that you have a pitmaster’s skills on smoking, get a gas grill. However, if that’s the case, then there is a good chance that you don’t need this tutorial anymore. After all, seasoned smokers can do this recipe in a breeze!

So aside from the smoker, you also need to use some rub to garnish the chicken. Some people would just like their chickens be sprinkled with salt and black pepper.

However, some folks out there will go as far as injecting marinade on their meat. They use meat injectors to feed the chicken with their secret concoctions or whatever they call it. 

But on this smoked chicken tutorial, I will just be using rubs. You can also use red pepper flakes in the rub if you want the chicken to acquire a spicy hot flavor.

Salt and black pepper are some of the basic garnishes that should not be missing in your kitchen when you are making this recipe. 

Alternatively, you can buy some commercial rubs if you are quite unsure of the flavor that you want for the meat. 


  • Whole chicken (4 pounds or more)
  • Rub (3 teaspoons per whole chicken)


Step 1:

The first thing that you need to do is to set up your smoker. There are basic things that you need to comply to ensure that the smoker can run smoothly and continuously.

If you are using a charcoal smoker, I do recommend that you choose lump charcoals instead of briquettes. The former can provide consistent and clean burns, which is essential to smoking. 

For those who are using electric smokers and gas smokers, the fuel source is not really a problem. As long as the gas tank is full and there is a power plug, things would be convenient for you.

Of course, you should not also forget the wood chips that you are going to use to flavor the chicken. You have a lot of options here.

You can go for hickory, apple, and maple because they are the basic choices. But for a more exquisite flavor, you might want to try pecan or oak. They can induce a strong accent to the meat.

Once all the preparations are ready, cran the smoker running and set it to the temperature of 250 degrees Fahrenheit. It would be great if the smoker that you have comes with a door thermometer to ensure that you can get the optimal heat.

Step 2:

While the device is heating itself, prepare the chicken. You have to rinse it in a running cold water to make sure that its surfaces can be cleaned.

If there are some unnecessary layers of fat or skin, you can trim them off with the use of a sharp knife. Make sure that the bird’s cavity is free from these aforementioned blemishes.

If you are finished cleaning, use a twine or a kitchen string to tie the legs of the chicken together. You could also have the wings be folded backward and then place them on the back. Doing these procedures do not actually affect the taste of the meat.

However, they can add to the visual impact of the delicacy. Do you want your smoked chicken to be the eye candy of the party, then do these tiny preparations. 

Step 3:

Clean your hands before doing the next step. When you are finished preparing the chicken, it is the time that you garnish the rub to it.

Do this process gently but make sure that you can cover all the parts of the chicken.

Don’t leave any uncovered spots because they can spoil the overall flavor of the food. 

Step 4:

Now that you are done with those steps, you can already insert it into the smoker. If you are planning to smoke more than one chicken, make sure that your smoker is quite spacious.

Moreover, the racks should provide enough room for the birds not to touch each other. It is an essential detail that you should not miss out.

Many of you would ask how long should the chicken stay in the device. To be honest, there is no exact answer to this question.

The only thing that you have to remember here is that the meat should achieve an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s the time you can guarantee that the bird has been fully cooked already. 

Based on my experience, the smoking time for a whole chicken takes around 3 to 6 hours. The time could also depend on the efficiency of your smoker and the size of the chicken itself.

If the bird is big, you should expect that cooking it would really consume your time.

Just always ready a meat thermometer whenever you are making smoked recipes. They can allow you to check the internal temperature of the meat with accuracy.

Of course, you should also wear a pair of barbecue gloves since you are dealing with hot objects and food here!

Step 5:

Remove the chicken from the smoker once the desired temperature is achieved already. Let it be cooled for around 20 minutes so that the remaining heat can further cook the flesh of the bird.

After this, you can already carve the delicacy and distribute it to your waiting customers!


As you can see, learning how to smoke whole chicken is easy. Even if you are dealing with a large piece of meat here, the smoking process is actually simple. All you need to have is the right tools and ingredients. Moreover, your patience should be accounted here as well.

After all, smoking is a slow-cooking method. But certainly, it is a waiting game that you would really want to win. The taste and juiciness of the meat would certainly gratify your appetite! 

Did you learn from this article? If you want to learn other cooking tutorials, just subscribe to my site. Also, if you want to ask something, just drop them in the comment section below! 

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.