Whole Smoked Chicken RecipeThis is one recipe I’m going to be using this July 4th Holiday. I’ve got a lot of people to feed, so I’m going to smoke whole chickens and pull them for Pulled Chicken Sandwiches and Smoked Chicken Nachos. I’ve done this in the past for parties and for catering jobs and people loved it… the smoked, pulled chickens go a lot faster than you will expect. They are juicy, delicious and even picky people can’t resist chicken. The first and longest step in my whole chicken process is the brine. A 4 – 5lb bird needs to soak for at least 6 hours, but I like for it to go overnight. This really packs in the flavor and makes a huge difference with the final product. If you don’t believe me, test it out for yourself. The brined chicken will be juicer and have more flavor through-and-through. Here’s the Whole Smoked Chicken brine recipe I used:
- Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot
- Add 1 cup of brown sugar to the boiling water
- As soon as the sugar dissolves add 1 cup of Killer Hog’s The BBQ Rub.
- Stir the rub into the mixture and turn off the heat
- Add 32oz of ice cubes to the pot to chill the brine
My cooking temp with whole chickens is in the 275-300 degree range. I’m a firm believer that higher temps produce better chicken. The meat cooks evenly and the skin turns out perfect every time. It normally takes about 2 hours to cook a whole chicken at this temperature. I start checking the internal temp of the Whole Smoked Chicken at the 1 ½ hour mark just to get a feel for where it is. As soon as I see temps of 165 in the breast and 175 in the thickest part of the thigh, I know it’s ready to come off the pit. Always let the chicken rest for 10-15 minutes before cutting into it. This gives the meat time to stop cooking and allows the juices to move away from the outer areas resulting in a juicer end product. If you cut into it immediately, all of the liquid (flavor) will run out onto the cutting board and you’ll get dry chicken. Malcom Reed Connect on Facebook Follow me on Twitter Subscribe to my YouTube Channel Find me on Google+ Follow me on Instagram Whole Smoked Chicken
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Do you truss your chickens or turkey when you smoke them?
I don’t usually truss them but will tuck in the legs and wings
Hey Malcolm! I send you and your family my love from Colorado. Is there an updated recipe you have for a whole smoked chicken using your newer rubs and brines? I own every product in both of your lines!
If I dont brine it because I just got my new smoker today and want to use tonight, will I get a similar result cooking it this way?
Sure – it will be fine just won’t have as much flavor.
Do you smoke with breast up or down?
Smoke it breast up the entire time
Do you smoke it in the pan or place just the bird on the rack?
No, just seasoned it in the pan.
Can u give me the recipe for your kicked up salt rub recipe!
I’ll always use your brine recipe when smoking a whole chicken – best brine EVER. Thanks!
Got a pit boss smoker do I use the same temperature and you said to cook at
Yes, just keep the temps steady!
Was wandering how u make the kicked up salt
4 parts salt, 2 part granulated garlic and 1 part black pepper. You can add whatever seasonings and spices you like to make it your own.
I followed this recipe all the way through, except I was running late and only for to brine for 6 hours. Still was awesome! Whole family loved it. Would make it again, easy and good! Thanks Malcom
Will 4 chickens take the same amount of time as one if u keep temp the same throughout the cooking process
Depending on the size of your cooker and the space between them. On a larger cooker with plenty of room they will cook pretty close to the same amount of time but a smaller cooker with less air flow may take a little longer. Thanks!
Sir: I was a bit surprised not to see salt in the brine. I was under the impression salt was a main ingredient in the brining process. THANK YOU for your great methods. You are the go-to when it comes to BBQ.
Lizard king– I believe the salt is in the BBQ Rub.
Love your recipes, does it cost anything to join your you tube channel?
no, we don’t charge for recipes
great! i will try i. why you did not add salt in the brine?
thank you for this awesome recipe
Do you use light or dark brown sugar for the chicken brine, or does it matter?
Made this on my new Weber EX6 (2nd Gen) tonight. Crazy tasty. While the chicken rested I grilled some veggies with a garlic herb butter. Malcom you are the man. Thanks for the recipes!
I have cooked several of Malcomb’s recipes over last five years or more and all have been great! Having a pro at your finger tips with suggestions is wonderful.
My brine was hopefully cooled down enough last night before adding the bird. It seemed to not be cooled off enough after the ice bath. I waited about an hour but it was so late I submerged birdie then put it in the freezer for 15 minutes. Then the fridge. Hoping that won’t make me sick or ruin the brining process. Has anyone else had similar? Going to smoke it tonight. Fingers crossed lol.
I think you will be fine, as long as the water is not boiling or hot enough where it will start cooking the chicken
I’ve been following your website for years, and just wanted to give you a shout out. Used your recipe, and more importantly, many of your tips and techniques. We got our first ” call” at a cook off competition. Thanks man! I appreciate you and your website.
I use your Cajun turkey brine recipe on my whole chickens. The family loves it and consistently request it for large gatherings! Your temp suggestions produce the best, juiciest chickens!
I’m cooking half a dozen chickens for a get together, I want to cook them and pull the meat about an hour before company comes, how do I keep it moist?