How Long to Smoke a Whole Chicken Properly?

Are you wondering how long to smoke a whole chicken properly? The entire chicken that has been smoked is juicy, soft, and flavorful. This simple recipe is the ideal way to get started if you’ve been wanting to learn how to smoke meats or are unsure of how long to smoke a full chicken.

A smoked entire chicken’s cooking time will vary depending on your preparation method, the temperature you choose, and the kind of result you want.

If you don’t roast your bird at a higher temperature, using the aforementioned procedure will still give your poultry a smoky flavor without guaranteeing crispy skin. According to Matt Pittman of Meat Church BBQ, “the skin gets crispier the higher the temperature.”

Spatchcocked Chicken

The internal temperature should reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit after 40 to 50 minutes at 400 degrees.

Beer Can Chicken

165 degrees Fahrenheit should be reached inside after 60 to 75 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Whole Chicken

The interior temperature should reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit after around 60 minutes at 375 degrees.

Place a digital thermometer into the thickest section of the chicken’s breast to determine its internal temperature. When the chicken reaches 165 degrees F, it’s time to remove it from the grill.

How to Choose a Chicken for Smoking

A quality cut of meat is the foundation of every good barbecue, and fresh, healthy chicken is essential. Of course, the ideal situation would be to purchase it straight from the farm.

But if you know what to look for when purchasing chicken, you may also find quality meat from your neighborhood butcher or grocery store.

A bird that has been raised on high-quality food and in a healthy environment will have white, milky skin. Discolored skin may indicate that the bird is not fresh, was not packaged correctly, or was not given a good upbringing.

Additionally, blood stains are a bad sign since they indicate that the bird was under a lot of stress and that the meat will be tough.

To make the meat appear fresh, search for cuts that haven’t been marinated or injected. You want complete control over the marinating procedure to achieve the flavor profile of your choice. You’ll also be aware of the ingredients that will be served to your visitors and family for supper.


What is the Internal Temp Guide for Smoking a Whole Chicken?

When poultry achieves an internal temperature of 165°F, it is deemed done and fit for consumption. To obtain the finest reading, place a meat thermometer into the thickest area of the thigh. Make sure the probe hasn’t pierced through the cavity or touched any bones.

Cooking thermometers that are wired enable the probe to remain inside the smoker for the duration of the cooking process.

This eliminates the need for you to repeatedly open the smoker lid in order to get the most precise, minute-by-minute readout.

Once the chicken hits 160°F, you can take it out of the smoker because the temperature will rise while the flesh rests.

How Do You Keep Chicken Moist When Smoking?

It is crucial to brine any meat before smoking it whole, including chickens. There are two varieties: moist and dry.

A wet brine is precisely what it sounds like: meat is soaked in a solution of water and salt. While some prefer to use stock or broth as the liquid, salt is actually the most crucial component.

A dry brine, or just coating the chicken with salt and other spices, is called for in this recipe for smoked entire chickens. This rub is applied and left in the refrigerator for the entire night, helping to preserve the flavor and fluids for the ideal cooking outcome.

What Internal Temp am I Looking for?

Your chicken should be between 160 and 165 degrees inside. However, you MUST ensure that the fluids are clear as well. 

However, keep in mind that you are cooking meat at a lower temperature when you SMOKE it, so there won’t be as much “carryover cooking.”

The internal temperature of your meat would continue to rise a few degrees after you remove it from the grill and during its resting period if you were GRILLING it at a higher temperature—let’s say 500 degrees. 

When smoking meat, the same is NOT true because the cooking temperature is significantly lower.


Bottom Line

For every lover of barbecue, smoked whole chicken is an absolute must. You may have succulent, juicy chicken with a delightful smokey flavor even if you’re a novice at smoking an entire chicken on a pellet barbecue.

This is an excellent recipe for novice smokers as well as seasoned pit masters wanting to whip up a tasty family supper or wow guests at the next cookout.

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