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Smoked Whole Chicken

You will never believe how easy and spectacular this smoked whole chicken recipe is until you try it yourself. Full of tips and tricks, this post will help you make the best smoked chicken recipe you've ever had in your life!
Course barbecue, Main Course, Main Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword how to smoke a whole chicken, smoked chicken recipe, smoked whole chicken, smoked whole chicken recipe
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Dry-Brining Time 1 day
Servings 6
Calories 492kcal
Author Rebecca Lindamood


  • 6 pound whole chicken
  • 6 tablespoons dry rub or more, depending on preferences
  • ½ apple
  • ½ onion
  • 1 stalk celery


To Dry-Brine a Whole Chicken

  • Position a whole chicken on a rack over a rimmed baking sheet. Generously rub the chicken inside and out with the dry rub. Place the pan with the chicken, uncovered, in the refrigerator on a low shelf away from other food for 12-24 hours.

To Smoke a Whole Chicken:

  • If you haven’t dry-brined your chicken, you’ll want to rub it with the seasoning inside and out now. Set it aside.
  • Preheat your smoker to 275ºF for at least 30 minutes. Stuff the apple, onion, and celery in the chicken’s cavity and tie the legs together using butcher’s twine. Tuck the wing tips behind the shoulders.
  • Place the chicken directly on the grate and smoke until the breast meat reaches 160º to 165ºF * and the thigh meat reaches 170º to 175ºF. (See Notes) This will take about 30 to 40 minutes per pound, on average.


If you are using a Traeger or another smoker that allows you to grill at higher temperatures, raise the heat to 400º when the chicken reaches 140ºF. Raising the heat like this for the last 20º of cooking will help crisp the skin up, too.


Calories: 492kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 41g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 14g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 163mg | Sodium: 155mg | Potassium: 470mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 421IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 67mg | Iron: 3mg