Smoked Chicken

Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time3 hours
Skill Leveleasy

This smoked chicken will knock your socks off! If you love roasting chicken, you’ll never go back after smoking one. The seasoning and smoke combine to provide such a delicious flavor that you won’t need to brine it. Try this smoked chicken and you’ll never look back!



  • 4 pounds whole chicken, preferably air chilled
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and lightly smashed

Butter Mixture

  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 sprig of rosemary, leaves stripped and minced
  • 1 sprig of thyme, leaves stripped and minced
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 lemon, squeeze 1 tbsp juice and use same lemon to stuff chicken


  1. Prep the smoker

    Preheat smoker to 225°F. Most pellet grills don’t need it, but you can add a pan of water in the corner of the smoker to keep moisture inside.

  2. Make the butter mixture

    In a bowl, add all of the butter mixture ingredients. Mix well to combine.

  3. Prep the chicken

    Remove giblets from chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Separate the skin from the breasts with your fingers being careful not to tear the skin.

  4. Stuff the chicken

    Stuff the cavity of the chicken with crushed garlic cloves and squeezed lemon. Optionally, truss the legs together with kitchen twine.

  5. Slather the chicken

    Slather 2/3 of the butter mixture under the skin and the remaining mixture over the skin of the chicken.

  6. Place chicken on the smoker

    Place the chicken directly on the grill grates above the pan. If using a roasting pan with rack, place the chicken on the inner rack so it’s floating above the bottom of the pan. Place baking pan on smoker.

  7. Cook the smoked chicken

    Continue cooking the chicken to an internal temperature of 145°F and then increase the grill temperature to 375°F for the remainder of cook. This will help get the skin crispy.

  8. Rest the smoked chicken

    Once the chicken reaches 160°F into the thickest part of the breast, transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let rest for 20 minutes before carving. The internal temperature will continue to rise to 165℉ while resting.

  9. Chow down on smoked chicken

    Slice the smoked chicken and enjoy!


Making gravy

We're huge fans of using the smoked chicken drippings for gravy! If you’re planning on making gravy from the drippings, pour 2 cups of chicken stock into a pan - aluminum or a roasting pan with rack. If using an aluminum pan, place it on the smoker below the chicken (under the grates) to catch the drippings. Place the chicken directly on the grill grates above the pan. If using a roasting pan with rack, place the chicken on the inner rack so it’s floating above the stock. Place roasting pan on grill grates.

Make gravy from the smoked chicken drippings

How to Store Smoked Chicken?

Smoked chicken is a dish you want to serve as soon as it comes out of the smoker, so you don’t want to make this one the day before. Still, depending on the number of guests you have over for dinner, you might have some leftovers.

To store smoked chicken, let it cool down to room temperature, cut it into manageable pieces and store them in a BPA-free plastic container with a lid. If air-tight, even better. Use cooked chicken within 3-4 days if stored at fridge temp. Leftover smoked chicken makes a mean club sandwich!

How to Reheat Smoked Chicken?

To reheat smoked chicken, place it on a baking tray and warm it up in the oven at 350°F. Remember to preheat the oven for at least 15 minutes.

To prevent the chicken from drying out, pour saved chicken drippings or a few tablespoons of chicken stock over it before placing the pan into the oven. For crispy skin, finish reheating the chicken in the broiler for a few minutes!

What to Serve With a Smoked Chicken?

This juicy and smoky bird is wonderful when served with starchy sides, from sweet potato fries to buttery mashed potatoes. Mac & cheese and creamy pasta are also nice warm side dishes. And don’t forget to eat your veggies; a few assorted grilled greens can really complement smoked chicken without stealing the spotlight.

So, What's Next?

If you enjoyed this recipe for a whole smoked chicken, check out my recipes for smoked pulled pork butt and brisket-style smoked tri-tip — I call this one a Trisket! Whatever you do, keep on smokin’ and grillin’, and make sure you call some friends over because these are all meals you’ll want to share.


  1. Tony Castellano
    March 9th, 2022

    Made this for dinner tonight and it came out perfect!!! Thanks for the recipe

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