Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time3 hours
Skill Leveleasy

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Looking for a mouth-watering, smoky chicken recipe that will be a hit with your family and friends? Look no further than this Smoked Whole Chicken recipe! This dish is perfect for those who love the flavor of a classic roasted chicken but want to add a smoky twist. And best of all, it’s easy to make and doesn’t require any fancy equipment. So fire up the smoker and get ready to enjoy a delicious meal!

How do I make gravy for a smoked whole chicken?

We're huge fans of using the smoked whole 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

What should I serve with smoked whole chicken?

This juicy and smoky bird is wonderful when served with starchy sides, from sweet potato fries to buttery mashed potatoes. Mac & cheese (see our delicious recipe!) 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 whole chicken without stealing the spotlight.

How do I smoke a whole chicken?

To smoke a whole chicken, start by cleaning and seasoning the bird. Then, preheat your smoker to 225°F and place the chicken in the smoker. Smoke the chicken until it reaches an internal temperature of 125°F. Then, increase the temperature of the smoker to 375°F until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.

What type of wood should I use to smoke a whole chicken?

Fruit woods like apple or cherry are great for smoking chicken. Hickory and mesquite are stronger woods and can be overpowering for poultry.

How long does it take to smoke a whole chicken?

It typically takes 3-4 hours to smoke a whole chicken, but the exact time will depend on the size of the bird and the temperature of your smoker. By using the smoking/grilling combination method in this recipe, that time will be cut back significantly.

Can I smoke a whole chicken on a charcoal grill?

Yes, you can smoke a whole chicken on a charcoal grill. Set up the grill for indirect cooking and use wood chips or chunks to create smoke.

How do I know when the smoked whole chicken is done?

The best way to determine when a smoked whole chicken is done is to check the internal temperature of the thickest part of the breast with a meat thermometer. It should reach 165°F for safe consumption. Additionally, the juices should run clear when the chicken is pierced with a fork.

Do I need to brine the whole chicken before smoking?

Brining a whole chicken before smoking is optional, but it can help keep the chicken moist and tender. A simple brine of water, salt, and sugar can be used for a few hours before smoking. You'll want to brine for 1 hour per pound of chicken.



  • 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

BBQ Tools


  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.

    Smoked Whole Chicken Ingredients
    Smoked Whole Chicken Ingredients Combined
  3. Prep the whole 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 and slather the chicken for smoking

    Stuff the cavity of the whole chicken with crushed garlic cloves and squeezed lemon. Optionally, truss the legs together with kitchen twine. Slather 2/3 of the butter mixture under the skin and the remaining mixture over the skin of the chicken.

    Smoked Whole Chicken Season Under Skin
    Smoked Whole Chicken Seasoned
  5. Place the whole chicken on the smoker

    Place the whole 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.

    Smoked Whole Chicken in Smoker
  6. Grill the smoked whole chicken

    Continue cooking the chicken to an internal temperature of 125°F and then increase the grill temperature to 375°F for the remainder of cook. This will help get the skin crispy.

    Smoked Whole Chicken In Grill
  7. Rest the smoked whole 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.

    Smoked Whole Chicken Resting
  8. Chow down on smoked chicken

    Slice the smoked whole chicken and enjoy!

    Smoked Whole Chicken Served


  1. Tony Castellano
    March 10th, 2022
    Review Star FilledReview Star FilledReview Star FilledReview Star FilledReview Star Filled
    Made this for dinner tonight and it came out perfect!!! Thanks for the recipe

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