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Mar 16, 2014 11:09 AM

Smoking chicken?

Has anyone smoked a chicken? I have smoker and it does great with pork and beef. Never tried smoking chicken. Does it work? How long would you smoke it-- dry rub first?

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  1. A quick google search came up with an amazing number of links. Might be a good starting point.


    Jeff Philipps is a good reference for all things smoked.

    1. Yes, of course you can smoke it. Usually higher temperatures work better. Low & slow does nothing for chicken tenderness and the skin turns to rubber. I would suggest a minimum of 250 degrees...up to 325(+).

      You can rub it (and probably 90+% of people do). I don't use a traditional rub on chicken...I just don't like it. I season it, yes...but not a rub like you would put on a butt.

      Another important thing is don't use too much wood and mind your smoke. Chicken over-smokes easily and becomes acrid tasting.

      Chickens are usually done in 3 hours or less depending on temperature.

      (I have no idea who Jeff Phillips is...never heard of him)

      4 Replies
        1. re: JayL

          I agree, Jay. I've come to prefer a higher temp/indirect grilling approach for chickens. In fact, I'll generally try to keep the temp between 300-325 and won't panic if it spikes to 350. It takes less time, absorbs the same amount of smoke flavor, and can save fuel. After all, there is no collagen issue dictating a low/slow cook.

          Similarly, I use a pretty simple seasoning rub - salt, black pepper, and ground chile - that I will only leave on for a couple of hours. I've done a more traditional rub approach before, but prefer the more basic.

          One other note worth adding is that I will "lacquer" the bird with a barbecue sauce and booze "glaze during the last half hour or so of cooking.

          1. re: MGZ

            I do the "last 30 minute" saucing as well. I like for it to evaporate a good bit so that it's not "saucy", but it concentrates the flavor. Tends to work well with my simple seasonings that are applied in the beginning.

            1. re: MGZ

              Maybe this is easier to see...

          2. We smoke whole chickens all the time. I put a rub on it that is a mixture of granulated onion, granulated garlic, dried ground sage, kosher salt, ground black pepper, paprika, and a pinch of cayenne pepper.

            Smoked chicken wings are outstanding too. We finish them on the grill to crisp up the skin.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Njchicaa

              You gotta dip those wings into a quick deep fry to finish sometime.

                1. re: Njchicaa

                  I wish I could take credit for it. They are not uncommon on menus in barbecue joints. Pig wings are another variant.

                  Admittedly, it's a bit of a pain in the ass. Certainly not the type of thing you're going to do for a quick Tuesday night dinner, but there are those Sundays in the Fall! If the wings get the smoke on Saturday, they can be fried in the Meadowlands parking lot the next day!

            2. I do it all the time.

              For whole birds, a quick dip in salt water bath to cleanse then a rinse and pat dry.

              Dry rub on outside, sliced oranges and onions stuffed in the cavity and then trussed.

              If I have the time I inject with my own wet marinade as well.

              Low and slow 250F will give you a hella tender bird but no crisp skin.

              Bump temp to 300F or 325F and crisp skin will result.

              Use a temp probe or thermometer and cook to 165 F internal.
              I use apple wood as hickory can be a little overpowering for chicken IMHO.

              Good luck.

              The tyipcal results of my bird smoking attached....
              All done at home.

              10 Replies
              1. re: jjjrfoodie

                I have had very good results with such an approach as well. Though, admittedly, I stop cooking any chicken a bit before it hits the 160 mark. You're absolutely correct about the fuel as well.

                1. re: jjjrfoodie

                  we put our birds in an overnight brine of kosher salt, sugar, water. Smoke at max of 250 degrees for 4-5 hrs usually, til 155 degrees. I like it pink inside.and so very moist. We don't eat the skin. They freeze well and stay moist.We use for smoked chicken sdwches, quesadillas.

                  1. re: opinionatedchef

                    The pink flesh is from the smoking, right? Is the skin not so good or do you just not like it?

                    1. re: c oliver

                      I'm guessing that the skin is all floppy, as tends to be the case with smoked birds. If you want it crispy, you probably have to put it under the broiler (?).

                      1. re: linguafood

                        I have enough "floppy"skin without adding any :) Tx.

                      2. re: c oliver

                        don't like chicken skin in either its rubbery form (when we smoke it our way) or in its crisp form (as directed in another person's post). But love duck, goose and turkey skin...go figure!

                        1. re: opinionatedchef

                          Several years ago I boned out a whole chicken and made a stuffing using turkey sausage and other stuff. I then rolled, tied, and smoked it. It tasted like a cheap hotdog.

                          1. re: John E.

                            Oh no! I was sure the ending was going to be different :(

                            1. re: John E.

                              One time I smoked a four pound chub of bologna following a "recipe" that required a short length of 3/4" PVC and a dowel. I found out that it's better fried and four pounds is way too much baloney.

                    2. I've never done a whole bird, but have done breasts a few times....flattened, stuffed with ham, prov, spinach, wrapped in bacon

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: BiscuitBoy

                        BB-Do you have a recipe you could share for there breasts?(I so wish you hadn't included a picture)
                        I couldn't find a way to PM you.

                        1. re: fmdualexhaust

                          I don't have a hard and fast recipe, but here's the general procedure:

                          -Flattened chicken breast
                          -Store bought Mesquite Rub, or make your own (brownsugar, cumin, ancho chile, salt black pepper)
                          -Thick bacon
                          -Provolone or cheddar
                          -Red onion
                          -Spinach or basil
                          -Pastrami or ham

                          Pound breasts flat, sprinkle both sides with the rub, and assemble onion, ham, cheese, spinach...roll'em up, or fold burrito style, depending on the shape...wrap with bacon slices, and use toothpicks to truss. Toss on the smoker, I usually aim for 250⁰ when working with poultry. Smoking time is around 2 hours, or until the chicken approaches 165⁰ GYSOT!

                          1. re: Veggo

                            Thanks! The smoke and aroma always brings a dog or cat thru the yard