Should I smoke a while Chicken?

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Hi there and welcome!

The important things to know about smoking whole chicken (skin on):
  • If you don't cook it hot, you will end up with leathery/rubbery skin. I always recommend smoking at 325F smoker temp or so, for bite through or often crispy skin texture. There are some other things you can do to try and get good skin but they may be hit or miss, where higher temps simply gets the job done.
  • Brine or Inject the bird all over, especially in the breast to avoid getting a dry bird. I prefer to brine where I weigh the amount of water and weigh the chicken and add that total weight up. Then I add 1.65% (0.0165 x Total weight in grams or ounces if you don't want to use grams) and that is how much salt is needed to brine the chicken and never get too salty even if you leave it in for 2+ days or longer. This does WONDERS for a great tasting bird. If brining don't season the outside with any salt, just other seasonings minus salt. You can also brine and inect that brin solution all into the chicken while its soaking for 24-48hrs, I do this a ton for best most even results.
  • Internal Temp (IT) of the breast should not go over 165F meat temp. Basically smoke it to like 162'ish or so and then pull it out of the smoker and the chicken breast temp should rise to 165F. Every degree over 165F the breast gets, the dryer and less flavorful it will be. The dark meat (legs) can go up to 180F with no problem.
  • Smoke with the chicken vertical but no need for a full beer can in it. Drink the beer, use the can or use a vertical chicken holder rack. OR as others have mentioned, cut the back out and splay out to be a spatchcocked chicken.
  • Seasoning is simple. Salt (in the brine only or in the injection), black Pepper, Onion, Garlic, and Paprika. With salt in the brine you don't need salt anywhere else. Just season quite well with the other seasonings and you are good to go. Basically you can go pretty heavy with everything but salt and be ok.

I think whole birds provide the best smoked chicken product vs just doing pieces.
You follow this info and you will make AMAZING smoked chicken whether it's whole or pieces AND you can always tweak seasoning and go whole vertical/horizontal or spatchcocked to play around and see what you like best. Finally, chicken is the cheapest for you to play with and you can make it absolutely amazing!

I hope this info helps, ask any questions you have :D

I'll second the wet brine. I've been using Tuffy Stone's wet brine and its made a world of difference in not only how juicy the bird is but also flavor .

Its a bit of a pain as it has to be made a day or two before, but its excellent .

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