Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Aug 23, 2012 08:49 AM

Chicken on the smoker?

The boyfriend wants to fire up the smoker this weekend, and we want to try something new other than the usual brisket or pork butt. I was considering a whole chicken, but the thing is, I don't like a heavy smoked flavor. I haven't had problems with his brisket, but I wonder if with chicken, the smoke flavor would be more powerful. Anyone have any insight, or have another recommendations for the smoker? Thanks!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Whatcha cookin on? Charcoal/Wood ~ Gasser ~ Electric ???? ~~~ Whatever.. just keep flavoring wood (smoke) to a minimum. ~ I like cherry on poultry.. mostly for color.~ Try spatchcocking the bird.

    Fun & Enjoy!

    1. I *love* smoked chicken, game hens and other poultry. You can reduce the smoke flavor by using smoke for a shorter time or by using lighter wood such as alder. You might want to brine first. For some really good advice on smoking check out the Bradley Smoker Forums; they are not product-specific

      1. We have a gas smoker, and do chicken all the time. It doesn't need to smoke for all that long (maybe 1 1/4 hour), even for a whole chicken, and doesn't seem that smoky to me. My favorite way to do it is Beer Can (or Chicken on a Throne). Rub the entire chicken with your favorite dry rub (inside and outside). Try to get some under the skin. Let set at room temperature (or do early in the day, keeping in the fridge) while you get the smoker set up. Drink about 1/4 of a can of beer, make more openings in the top of the can, and perch the chicken over the can (legs down to make a kind of tripod). Sort of a poor man's vertical spit. Smoke until done. Serve with your favorite sauce if you like.

        1 Reply
        1. re: dkenworthy

          I have at one time or another ruined every other cut of meat on the smoker, but whole chicken has never failed me. I agree with the beer can method because it puts the dark meat closer to the heat and the drier breast further away.

        2. My first couple of smoked chickens were very smokey but I liked that. I think chickens tend to pick up smoke easier because their muscle fibers seem "looser" to me (There's separation between the muscle groups since it's a whole animal instead of one piece of one single muscle group).

          If you don't want a heavy smoke flavor, go lighter on the smoke, avoid strong woods like mesquite, and cook at a higher temperature. No need for low and slow. Basically, roast the bird with a kiss of smoke. If using lump charcoal, that may give enough smoke flavor by itself.

          1 Reply
          1. re: seamunky

            I was going to comment on this thread, but seamunky said exactly what I was going to say.

          2. Smoking chicken is our chicken cooking method of choice for whole birds and we have done our Thanksgiving turkey that way for almost 20 years. I agree with the previous poster, no need for low and slow and don't use too much smoking wood. We often use lighter fruit woods for poultry.

            My homemade stock is from the carcasses of these birds and it's the best I've had.