Whole Smoked Chicken

Whole Smoked Chicken Recipe

Whole Smoked Chicken Recipe

This 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:
  1. Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot
  2. Add 1 cup of brown sugar to the boiling water
  3. As soon as the sugar dissolves add 1 cup of Killer Hog’s The BBQ Rub.
  4. Stir the rub into the mixture and turn off the heat
  5. Add 32oz of ice cubes to the pot to chill the brine
This recipe is enough brine for 1 chicken. It can be easily doubled for multiple birds or even whole turkeys. Once the brine has chilled, open the chicken, remove the neck and internal organs (usually packed in the cavity), and rinse the bird under cold water. Place it in a large bowl and pour the brine over it. Make sure the chicken is submerged completely; then place the bowl in the refrigerator. Whole Smoked Chicken Cooking process The next day remove the chicken from the brine. You can tell that the seasonings have penetrated the skin and soaked deep into the meat. Lay it on a sheet pan and spray the entire outside with cooking spray. You can substitute vegetable, olive, peanut, or any type oil that you want; but don’t skip this step. It not only binds the rub to the skin, but it’s also what gives the final product a beautiful, golden appearance. For seasoning the whole chicken I start with a kicked up salt made with cayenne pepper, black pepper, and garlic powder. This goes on first and creates a base layer of flavor on the skin. Next I dust on The BBQ Rub to enhance the color and really make the skin pop. Since I soaked the chicken overnight there’s no need for injecting. This bird is packed with flavor and all it needs now is smoke.
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. Whole Smoked Chicken 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 Buy Killer Hogs Products Here Whole Smoked Chicken

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31 responses to “Whole Smoked Chicken Recipe”

  1. John Minkin says:

    Do you truss your chickens or turkey when you smoke them?

    • Malcom Reed says:

      I don’t usually truss them but will tuck in the legs and wings

      • Joshua Westra says:

        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!

  2. chris kelley says:

    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?

  3. Joe Noll says:

    Do you smoke with breast up or down?

  4. Heath Malone says:

    Do you smoke it in the pan or place just the bird on the rack?

  5. James west says:

    Can u give me the recipe for your kicked up salt rub recipe!

  6. John J says:

    I’ll always use your brine recipe when smoking a whole chicken – best brine EVER. Thanks!

  7. Earl says:

    Got a pit boss smoker do I use the same temperature and you said to cook at

  8. Alan Rollins says:

    Was wandering how u make the kicked up salt

  9. TG says:

    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

  10. Nick says:

    Will 4 chickens take the same amount of time as one if u keep temp the same throughout the cooking process

    • Malcom Reed says:

      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!

  11. MojoRisin says:

    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.

  12. Love your recipes, does it cost anything to join your you tube channel?

  13. danial says:

    great! i will try i. why you did not add salt in the brine?
    thank you for this awesome recipe

  14. Matt says:

    Do you use light or dark brown sugar for the chicken brine, or does it matter?

  15. Johnnie Hawkins says:

    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!

  16. Joe Belote says:

    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.

  17. Eric Hurst says:

    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.

    • Jesse Chen says:

      I think you will be fine, as long as the water is not boiling or hot enough where it will start cooking the chicken

  18. Randy says:

    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.

  19. Blake M says:

    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!

  20. Debbie says:

    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?

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