How Long To Smoke A Whole Chicken ?

When it comes to outdoor cooking, you can’t go wrong with smoking a whole chicken. Not only does the smoky flavor add an incredible depth of flavor to the chicken, but there’s something about eating a perfectly smoked bird that just feels like home. However, if you’re new to smoking meats, trying your hand at making a delicious smoked chicken may seem intimidating. If that’s the case for you then look no further! In this blog post, we’ll be exploring how long to smoke a whole chicken so that your creation is juicy and succulent every time. So get ready to learn some tips and tricks so that next time your fire is crackling away in anticipation you can cook up an amazing meal!

How Long To Smoke A Whole Chicken?

Smoking whole chicken is a delicious way of preparing this popular poultry dish. However, for those who are new to the process, the burning question is always how long it takes to smoke a whole chicken to perfection.

The answer, of course, depends on the size of the chicken and the temperature of the smoker. As a general rule, plan on smoking a whole chicken for about 3-4 hours at a temperature of 225°F to 250°F. During this time, the chicken will absorb the smoky flavor of the wood chips and develop a crispy, golden-brown skin.

How long does it take to smoke a whole chicken at 225 degrees?

As a general rule, plan on smoking your chicken for 30-45 minutes per pound at a temperature of 225 degrees. So, for example, a 4-pound chicken would take around 2-3 hours to smoke. Of course, it’s always best to use a meat thermometer to ensure your chicken is fully cooked.

How long does it take to smoke a whole chicken at 225 degrees

How long does it take to smoke a whole chicken at 250 degrees?

The cooking time for a whole chicken at this temperature depends on its weight. A general rule of thumb is that it takes about 30-40 minutes per pound. That means a 4-pound bird would take approximately 2 and a half hours to smoke to tender perfection. However, it’s essential to use a meat thermometer to ensure the bird’s internal temperature has reached 165 degrees Fahrenheit before removing it from the smoker. The beauty of smoking chicken is that it creates a deliciously crispy skin with tender, juicy meat that’s sure to please even the pickiest eaters. 

How long does it take to smoke a 6 lb whole chicken?

For a 6 lb whole chicken, you can expect it to take anywhere from 3 to 4 hours to smoke to perfection. It is important to monitor the internal temperature of the chicken to ensure it has fully cooked and reached a safe temperature. Don’t rush the process, as taking your time will result in tender and juicy meat that is worth the wait.

How To Select a Smoking Chicken

  • Firstly, make sure to choose a chicken that is fresh and has not reached its expiration date.
  • You’ll also want to pay attention to the size and weight of the chicken, as this will affect how long it takes to cook and how much seasoning you’ll need.
  • In addition, consider the flavor profile you’re hoping to achieve – do you want a spicier chicken or a milder one?
  • Finally, don’t forget about food safety – always properly store and handle your chicken, and ensure that it is fully cooked before serving to avoid any potential health risks.

With these tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to selecting the perfect smoking chicken for your next meal.

How To Select a Smoking Chicken
How To Select a Smoking Chicken

How Long Should I Break Down Chicken?

  1. Start with a clean work surface and gather your tools, including a sharp knife and a cutting board.
  2. Remove any packaging or trussing from the chicken and pat it dry with paper towels.
  3. Place the chicken breast side up on the cutting board.
  4. Begin by removing the legs and thighs: Locate the joint connecting the leg to the body, then cut through the joint to separate the leg. Repeat the process for the other leg. Next, separate the thighs from the legs by cutting through the joint between them.
  5. Move on to the wings: Pull one wing away from the body and locate the joint where it attaches to the body. Cut through the joint to separate the wing. Repeat for the other wing.
  6. Now, focus on the breasts: Locate the breastbone in the center of the chicken. Make a vertical cut along one side of the breastbone, following the contour of the bone. Use your fingers to gently separate the meat from the bone as you continue cutting. Repeat on the other side of the breastbone.
  7. Once the breasts are removed, you can choose to keep them whole or further break them down into smaller pieces, such as chicken cutlets or strips.
  8. If desired, you can also remove the back portion of the chicken by cutting along both sides of the backbone and removing it. This is optional and depends on your preference and the recipe you’re preparing.

The Best Wood to Smoke Chicken

For chicken, one of the best types of wood to use is applewood. Not only does this wood impart a naturally sweet and fruity flavor, but it also burns at a low temperature, allowing the meat to cook slowly and absorb the smoky flavor. Another excellent option is hickory wood, which offers a more robust and earthy flavor that pairs perfectly with the rich and juicy taste of chicken. Ultimately, the choice of wood is up to personal preference, so have fun experimenting with different types to find your perfect match!

The Best Wood to Smoke Chicken
The Best Wood to Smoke Chicken

Other Smoked Recipes You Should Try Smoked Whole Chicken Recipe


  • 1 whole chicken (approximately 4-5 pounds)
  • Dry rub or seasoning of your choice
  • Wood chips or chunks for smoking (such as apple, hickory, or mesquite)
  • Olive oil or melted butter for basting


  1. Preheat your smoker: Set up your smoker according to the manufacturer’s instructions and preheat it to a temperature of around 225-250 degrees Fahrenheit (107-121 degrees Celsius). Make sure to fill the smoker’s water pan if applicable.
  2. Prepare the chicken: Remove any giblets or excess fat from the chicken’s cavity. Rinse the chicken under cold water and pat it dry with paper towels. Rub the chicken all over, including the cavity, with olive oil or melted butter. Season the chicken generously with your preferred dry rub or seasoning, covering all sides.
  3. Smoke the chicken: Once the smoker is preheated and the wood chips or chunks are producing smoke, place the seasoned whole chicken directly on the smoker’s grates, breast side up. Close the smoker’s lid and let the chicken smoke for approximately 3 to 4 hours, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit (74 degrees Celsius) when measured at the thickest part of the thigh using a meat thermometer.
  4. Maintain the temperature: Throughout the smoking process, monitor the temperature of the smoker and make any necessary adjustments to maintain a consistent temperature. Add more wood chips or chunks as needed to continue producing smoke.
  5. Baste the chicken (optional): About halfway through the cooking time, you can baste the chicken with olive oil or melted butter to keep the skin moist and enhance the flavor. Baste every 30 minutes until the chicken is fully cooked.
  6. Rest and serve: Once the chicken reaches the desired internal temperature, remove it from the smoker and let it rest for about 10-15 minutes before carving. This allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in a juicier chicken. Carve the smoked whole chicken into desired pieces and serve.

Leftover Smoked Chicken Recipes

Smoked Chicken Salad: Shred or chop leftover smoked chicken and combine it with mayonnaise, sliced celery, diced red onion, and seasonings of your choosing. Serve it as a sandwich filling or on top of a bed of greens for a light salad.

Warm corn or flour tortillas and fill with sliced smoked chicken, shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, sliced avocado, and your favorite taco toppings for Smoked Chicken Tacos. For extra flavor, drizzle with lime juice and salsa.

Smoked Chicken Quesadillas: Layer two tortillas with shredded smoked chicken, shredded cheese, and sautéed onions and peppers. On a griddle or skillet, cook the quesadillas until the cheese melts and the tortillas are golden brown. Serve with salsa, guacamole, or sour cream as desired.

Smoked Chicken Pizza: Use leftover smoked chicken as a topping for homemade or store-bought pizza dough. Spread tomato sauce on the dough, sprinkle with shredded cheese, and add sliced smoked chicken, sliced red onions, and your favorite vegetables. Bake until the crust is crispy and the cheese is bubbly.

Smoked Chicken Pasta: Cook your favorite pasta, such as penne or fettuccine, and toss it with a creamy sauce made from a mixture of heavy cream, grated Parmesan cheese, minced garlic, and chopped fresh herbs. Add diced smoked chicken and sautéed vegetables like mushrooms or spinach for a satisfying pasta dish.

Smoked Chicken Nachos: Arrange a layer of tortilla chips on a baking sheet and top them with shredded smoked chicken, black beans, diced tomatoes, sliced jalapeños, and shredded cheese. Bake in the oven until the cheese melts, then garnish with chopped cilantro and serve with salsa and sour cream.

Smoked Chicken Stir-Fry: Slice the leftover smoked chicken into thin strips and stir-fry it with a medley of vegetables like bell peppers, broccoli, carrots, and snap peas. Season with soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and a touch of honey for a flavorful and quick meal.

Smoked Chicken Enchiladas: Roll the smoked chicken in corn tortillas, place them in a baking dish, and cover them with enchilada sauce. Sprinkle with shredded cheese and bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve with rice, beans, and a side of guacamole.

Smoked Chicken Soup: Make a hearty smoked chicken soup by combining the shredded smoked chicken with chicken broth, diced vegetables, such as carrots, celery, and onions, and your choice of herbs and spices. Simmer until the flavors meld together, and serve with crusty bread.

Smoked Chicken Sliders: Slice leftover smoked chicken into smaller pieces and serve them as sliders on mini buns. Top with your favorite barbecue sauce, coleslaw, and pickles for a tasty and portable meal.

Conclusion: How Long To Smoke A Whole Chicken

In conclusion, smoking a whole chicken is an inexpensive and delicious way to fill the air with tantalizing aromas! The time to smoke an entire chicken depends on the size of the bird, as well as the temperature of your grill. If you’re using a pellet grill, smoking a whole chicken will take about 2-3 hours at 225 degrees Fahrenheit or 1 hour per pound at 250 degrees. Depending on the size of your chicken, you may need to adjust that time accordingly. Remember to select the best wood before you begin and spatchcock your chicken for even cooking results. Drying brine can also add extra flavor and moisture retention. Reheating smoked whole chickens or leftovers can often be done in just minutes, making them easy to add to any weeknight dinner rush. With this blog post guide, you now have all of the information needed for how long it takes to smoke a whole chicken. Enjoy!


Should I flip the chicken while smoking?

It is generally not necessary to flip the chicken while smoking. Keeping the breast side up throughout the smoking process allows the skin to become golden and crisp, while the smoke evenly flavors the meat.

Can I smoke a frozen whole chicken?

It is recommended to thaw the chicken completely before smoking. Smoking a frozen chicken may result in uneven cooking and a longer cooking time.

Should I baste the chicken while smoking?

Basting the chicken with a mixture of oil or melted butter can help keep the skin moist and add additional flavor. Baste the chicken every 30 minutes if desired.

Can I stuff the chicken before smoking it?

It is not recommended to stuff the chicken before smoking. Stuffing can hinder airflow and increase the cooking time. If you want to infuse flavors, consider placing aromatic herbs, garlic, or citrus slices inside the cavity instead.

Can I smoke multiple chickens at the same time?

Yes, you can smoke multiple chickens at the same time. Just make sure there is enough space between them for the smoke to circulate. Adjust the cooking time accordingly based on the total weight of the chickens.

Can I eat the skin of the smoked chicken?

Absolutely! The skin of the smoked chicken becomes flavorful and crispy during the smoking process, making it a delicious part of the chicken to enjoy.

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