This smoked whole chicken is rubbed with a flavorful dry rub and smoked for 4 hours for a juicy chicken recipe with crispy skin!
The Tastiest Smoked Whole Chicken
Smoking a whole chicken is finger-licking good and once you prepare your chicken with a delicious dry rub, all you have to do is throw it on the smoker for a few hours and cook it to perfection.
Reasons we love this recipe
- You get crispy skin AND juicy meat when you smoke a whole chicken.
- This smoked chicken is rubbed (under the skin and on top) with a flavorful smoked chicken dry rub that adds so much flavor to the recipe.
- You can make it for a tasty dinner or meal prep smoked chicken salad or shredded chicken for the week.
Smoking a Whole Chicken – What You Need to Know
What size chicken to buy for smoked chicken?
Because you will be smoking a chicken for 3-4 hours you want to get a large chicken so you leave the chicken in the smoker long enough to get juicy and smoky.
We suggest buying a 3-4 pound whole chicken.
How long to smoke a whole chicken?
This smoked chicken calls for about 3-4 hours of smoke time. The time may vary depending on the size of your chicken or what kind of smoker you are using.
Internal temperature smoked chicken
Regardless of how long you smoke your chicken the internal temperature of your chicken should be 165ºF.
What is the best temperature to smoke a whole chicken?
We recommend smoking your chicken at 275ºF for 3-4 hours. It’s the perfect temperature to not dry out your chicken!
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What Kind of Smoker Should I Use?
There is a wide range of smokers out on the market now and we suggest using the smoker that you are the most comfortable with. Any smoker should work as long as it can fit a whole chicken!
We used a the Traeger 575 Pellet Grill. A pellet grill uses wood pellets to heat the chamber. We love our Traeger pellet grill because the grill automatically adds pellets to the smoker to keep the heat at the desired temperature.
Other kinds of smokers you can use are below.
- Offset Smoker (we have tested this recipe on an offset smoker, too!)
- Vertical Water Smoker
- Drum Smoker
- Smoker Oven
How to Make a Smoked Whole Chicken
Looking to make a whole chicken in smoker? Here’s a quick rundown. Scroll down for the full written recipe!
- Preheat the smoker. Preheat any smoker that you’re using to 275ºF and maintain that heat throughout the whole cook time.
- Prepare the chicken. To prepare the chicken, remove any innards that came with the chicken. Pat the chicken dry from water and then rub the chicken (under the skin and on top) with olive oil.
- Add dry rub. Sprinkle the chicken with smoked chicken dry rub. Be sure to get under the skin and in every nook and cranny.
- Smoke the chicken. Place the chicken on the smoker and smoke for 2 hours. Spray the chicken halfway with cooking spray and then smoke for another 1-2 hours.
- Check temperature. When the internal temperature reaches 165ºF remove the chicken from the smoker. Let the chicken sit for at least 10 minutes before carving.
here’s a temperature tip!
Get yourself a digital meat thermometer so you can place a probe in you chicken to manage the temperature of your meat for the whole cook time.
The Best Smoked Chicken Dry Rub
We chose to rub this chicken down in a delicious dry rub because we wanted crispy and crunchy chicken skin. We used a delicious chicken dry rub of sweet and savory spices.
Should I brine my chicken first?
While this recipe doesn’t call for a brining, you’re more than welcome to do so. A chicken brine will infuse your whole chicken with even more flavor and help it stay nice and moist on the smoker.
Do note that it will add about 12 hours of prep-time, but it’s definitely worth it and something you can do the day before.
Check it out: here’s a post on how to brine a chicken for your reading.
What to Serve with Smoked Chicken
Serve this whole smoked chicken with any of the delicious sides below for a complete meal!
Grilled Brussel Sprouts- This Grilled Brussel Sprouts Recipe is perfect for a quick and easy weeknight dinner side or meal-prep for the week!
Baked Potatoes in Foil- One of our favorite dinner sides is a baked potato in foil. Whether you’re hoping to make a grilled baked potato in foil or oven baked potatoes in foil, we’ll teach you how to make a perfect baked potato every time!
Greek Salad Recipe- This Greek salad is made with sweet cherry tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, feta, and homemade Greek salad dressing! It is perfect for meal prep, a summer picnic, or just a healthy summer meal!
Broccoli Salad- This recipe for a broccoli salad gets its sweetness from dried fruit and a sugar/vinegar dressing. Plus, it’s a good way to trick children into eating their veggies.
If you have leftovers (I’m sure you do!), try our smoked chicken salad recipe. It is one of our favorite things to make for lunches because the smoked chicken is so flavorful. Here are some other ways to use your leftovers:
We suggest storing this chicken (carved, cubed, or shredded) in an air-tight container the refrigerator for up to 7 days.
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Smoked Whole Chicken
- 3-4 whole chicken
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 tablespoons smoked chicken dry rub from below
- Preheat the smoker to 275ºF and make sure you have enough pellets. We used Traeger's signature blend, but any kind will work.
- Prepare your whole chicken. Remove any innards inside of the chicken and pat the chicken dry with a paper towel.
- Next drizzle olive oil all over the chicken. Rub the olive oil into the chicken, be sure to rub underneath the skin and every nook and cranny.
- Generously sprinkle the chicken with the dry rub by starting by separating the chicken skin from the chicken meat. Sprinkle about 1 tablespoon of dry rub underneath the skin and massage the dry rub into the breast meat.
- Carefully sprinkle the rest of the dry rub over the chicken. Massage the dry rub into the skin. Be sure the whole chicken is covered.
- Place the chicken on the smoker and spray it with non-stick cooking spray. Then cover the smoker and cook for 2 hours.
- After 2 hours, spray the chicken again with non-stick cooking spray and smoke for an additional 2 hours or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165ºF.
- Remove the chicken from the smoker and let the chicken rest for 15 minutes.
- Carve the chicken and enjoy.
Tips & Notes
- We used Traeger’s signature blend pellets for this recipe, but any kind will work. Just make sure you have enough in your smoker!
- Leftover smoked chicken will last 5-7 days in the fridge.
Photography: photos taken in this post are by Erin from The Wooden Skillet.