Move over red meat, smoked chicken is becoming one of the most popular smoked meats by home cooks. 

smoked chickenNot only is it a healthier option than red meat, it is also much easier to prepare. No matter what the flavor of seasonings or wood chips that you choose, the end result will always result in moist and tender chicken with that classic smoky flavor.  

The technique and recipe listed below is our classic, go-to smoked chicken recipe that even managed to win top honors at a local barbecue competition.  Because this dry rub chicken is so tasty, there is no need to add that messy, hard to eat barbecue sauce!

And if you like this – be sure to check out our article on smoking chicken wings :  How to Smoke Chicken Wings

Smoked Chicken Recipe

smoked chickenDry Rub Ingredients:

1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup paprika
2 tablespoons Kosher salt
2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons onion powder


smoked chicken1. Whisk dry rub ingredients in a medium size bowl until well combined. Set aside

2. Soak 2 cups of wood chips (we prefer Hickory) in a large bowl filled with water for at least 30 minutes.  If you are looking for good chips – here is one we use and like : SmokeHouse Chips

3. Rinse chicken and pat dry with paper towels. – including the cavity. Place chicken on a baking sheet and refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 20 minutes to dry while you prepare the smoker.

4. Light the smoker (we use a propane smoker) and let the grill heat until it reaches at least 250°F.

5. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and rub it all over with oil. Next, season generously with the dry rub, including seasoning the cavity and then let it sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes.

6. Place the chicken on the cooking grate, breast side down. Add half of the soaked wood chips to the grill tray (each smoker will be different). Close the door and adjust grill temperature so that it remains at 235°F.

7. Do NOT open the door for at least the first hour. 

I know it’s hard, but resist the urge.  After an hour, you can add the rest of the wood chips if you no longer see smoke coming from the smoker.  Although it is personal preference on how smoky you like your chicken, we find that smoking for half of the cook time (approximately 2 hours) provides the best flavor for most people. 

smoked chicken8. After 2 hours of cooking, flip over your chicken.  Also, this would be the time to rotate positions if you are smoking more than one chicken. For example, rotate the chicken closest to the heat to the top rack and do the opposite for the chicken furthest away from the heat. Continue to cook until the internal temperature reaches 165°F on a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh.  Approximate cook time 3-4 hours.

9. When the chicken is done, remove it from the grill and let it rest for 15 minutes before carving.

smoked chickenEnjoy!

Mary and Jim

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