Smoked Whole Chicken

Smoked Beer Chicken

 Peter Sieling / Flickr / CC2.0

  • Total: 4 hrs 20 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins
  • Cook: 4 hrs
  • Marinate: 2 hrs
  • Servings: 4 to 6 servings

This is a classic smoked chicken recipe with tons of flavor. You can make it the day you plan to serve it, or a day or two ahead. The result of this slowly cooked bird is meat that's so flavorful and juicy, it will fall off the bones.

Chicken is the star of the show in this recipe, and you'll really want to taste it, so choose the best-quality chicken you can find.

This spice rub is a classic combination, however, you can develop your own signature rub by adding whichever herbs and spices you prefer to make it your own, such as cumin, lime, and oregano, or fennel seed and a pinch of red pepper flakes.


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  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper (freshly ground)
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (minced)
  • 2 cloves garlic (grated)
  • 4 to 5-pound chicken
  • 1/2 cup fruitwood chips

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Stir together the salt, sugar, pepper, paprika, thyme, and garlic. Rub the chicken inside and out, and under the skin of the breast and thighs with the spice mixture.

  3. Let sit in the refrigerator for 2 to 8 hours.

  4. Prepare the smoker with fruitwood chips. Smoke the chicken at 250 F/120 C until the thermometer inserted into the center of the chicken breast reaches 160 F. This will take about 3 hours—or 45 minutes per pound.

  5. Once cooked, remove from heat and tent with aluminum foil. Let chicken rest for 20 minutes.

  6. Carve chicken and serve with your favorite sides. Enjoy!

Smoked Chicken Tips

  • Crispier Skin
    For skin that's more crisp than what you can produce in the low heat of a smoker, preheat the oven to 400 F and when the chicj=ken reaches 130 F in the thigh, transfer it to the oven, and finish cooking it there until it's 165 F in the thigh.
  • Twice as Nice
    It's the same amount of work to make two chickens. Double the spice mix and cook a second one at the same time. Smoked chicken makes amazing sandwiches, soups, casseroles and it freezes well for later.