If you like chicken, then it doesn’t get much better than smoked chicken. For those just starting to use smokers, chicken is a great meat to select for honing your skills. Compared to something like a brisket or pork butt, smoking chicken is much easier. Today I will show you how to smoke a whole chicken in 3 simple steps.
- Prepare the chicken
- Season your chicken – today I am using Everglades Fish and Chicken Seasoning
- Smoke at 225 degrees F – roughly 1 hour for each pound of chicken.
1. Prepare the Chicken
Most whole chickens come with a bag of giblets stuffed down in the cavity. Simply remove this and discard. Next, rinse the chicken off using cold water and then pat dry.
2. Season the Chicken
You can do this the night before or 1-2 hours before you start the smoking process. For chicken, I don’t find any real flavor advantage in seasoning the night before. Today, I am using Everglades Fish and Chicken Seasoning. We especially like this seasoning when using the smoker because it has a high paprika content. Smoked paprika and chicken is simply an awesome flavor combination. The ingredients include salt, spices including paprika, dehydrated onion and garlic, sugar and papain.
Set the temperature of your smoker to 225 degrees F. I use a Masterbuilt Electric Smoker, so by simply using the remote I can set the temperature and in about 20 minutes the smoker is at temperature. For chicken I like to use a combination of mesquite and apple wood.
A general rule of thumb is to smoke the chicken for about 1 hour per pound. The time will vary depending on how often you open the smoker door among other factors. More importantly, you will want to smoke the chicken until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F (according to the FDA) in the thickest part of the meat. You should check the temperature in several different locations of the chicken to be safe. For my Masterbuilt smoker, there is a built in temperature probe that I insert into the breast. I can then monitor the temperature of the chicken with my remote. Once it reaches 165 degrees, I open the smoker and use a digital meat thermometer to check the temperature.
To see all of the detailed steps, please watch our How to Smoke a Whole Chicken video below.