How to Smoke a Whole Chicken in 3 Easy Steps

Smoked Whole Chicken

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.

  1. Prepare the chicken
  2. Season your chicken – today I am using Everglades Fish and Chicken Seasoning
  3. 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.

Chicken Seasoned Everglades Chicken Seasoning

For those unfamiliar withpapain, it is an enzyme that occurs naturally in papaya and helps to break down the tough bands between fibers in muscle tissue, making tough meats fall apart during the cooking process. It has been used in South America as a digestive aid for hundreds of years.3. Smoke the Chicken at 225 Degrees F
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.

Smoke Chicken to an Internal Temperature of 165 degrees

To see all of the detailed steps, please watch our How to Smoke a Whole Chicken video below.

This entry was posted in BBQ and Grilling, Chicken and Turkey, How to Use a Smoker. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to How to Smoke a Whole Chicken in 3 Easy Steps

  1. joel says:

    Hi,i also am using a masterbuilt electric smoker to smoke sum chickens for first time if im doing multiple birds 4 or more do i add total weight of all birds to get cooking time?

  2. Jeff says:

    Use the individual weight (not the sum). Let me know how you like the Masterbuilt.


  3. Krista Pelayo says:

    I’m also using a Masterbuilt Electric. It has an “adjustable” round vent thing on top. Do you leave yours open, closed, or somewhere in between?

    • Hi Krista, If you are referring to the round vent on the top left (when facing the smoker), I adjust this depending on the meat and where I’m at in the smoking process. Usually, at the beginning, I keep the vent mostly closed until I get the smoke going. Then open it about 1/2 way. If I am smoking brisket or a pork butt (long smoke times), I tend to leave it open only a little. For chicken and pork, I open it more. Depends on the type of wood you are using and how much smoke flavor you want. Please let me know if you have additional questions. Also, we have quite a few Masterbuilt smoker recipes over on our YouTube channel.

  4. Jim moore says:

    I would like your recipe for between 8 -9 lb brisket

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