Smoked Chicken

Smoking chicken has kind of been an enigma for me over the years. I will admit, it is not a go to meat for us at home, so taking the time to practice smoking whole chickens hasn't been a top priority.  Chicken, when done right can have an amazing flavor, but it doesn't come without adding the right combination of spices or injections for added flavor.



Chicken also has a really small window of tender and juicy.  Under cook it and suffer the consequences, over cook it and you end up with dry flavorless meat.  So what is the perfect temperature and how do you hit the sweet spot on a smoker?

This is one of the few meats I actually use a thermometer to test the internal temp of the meat.  Chicken has to be cooked to an internal temp of 165 degrees to ensure it is safe to eat.

For a 5lb bird I butterfly it along the breast bone and flatten it out so it gets smoke throughout and will cook more evenly.  I also trim off excess skin and fat as it will only burn and not really have a great flavor.


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I used a combination of season salt, olive oil, paprika, and pepper to rub the skin of the chicken. This aids in creating a crispy skin as its cooks and adds flavor.  Looking back, next time I will not only inject the meat, but rub under the skin as well as the surface.  This will help the flavors permeate into the meat itself and not just the skin.










I smoked this chicken for 4hrs and moved it around the surface of the smoker to prevent it from getting over cooked.  Chicken skin is tricky,  on the smoker alone it will not get crispy and will actually get really chewy.... To finish the chicken off and crispen up the skin at the end of a smoke, I transferred the chicken to the grill to put some direct heat on the skin and create a nice crispy outer layer that we enjoy with grilled chicken.