Smoking a chicken for dummies

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Original poster
Mar 4, 2011
I am completely new to smoking meat.  I do a lot of grilling but no smoking, so lets just pretend I'm a complete idiot, lol.  Give me some tips or things I NEED to know when it comes to smoking a whole chicken (or smoking meat in general).  I wanna know the best temperature, how long, how do I keep enough smoke going, etc etc.  Much appreciated.
First off welcome to SMF.. if ya use the handy dandy search bar u will find lots of info on whole chicken smokes.. the wikis are great also..
Whole chickens are easy peezy.  I smoke them at 250* until internal temps hit 165* in the thickest part of the breast meat.  I start by patting the skin dry with paper towels and seasoning to taste: for me it's butter, lemon juice, salt & pepper.  A little heat is nice in the form of a rub or such, if you like.  Do NOT stuff them as it may take too long to get up to temp and out of the danger zone for bacterial growth.

Smoke them breast side down until about the last hour or so then "flip the bird."  This allows juices to flow down into the breast meat for a moist finished product.  Use a light wood, like apple, almond, alder, etc.  I recommend you place a pan under the bird to catch the drippings for a gravy base that will knock your socks off!  Total cook time varies from about 3-4 hours, but go by internal temp, not time.

thanks fellas...much appreciated.  big question, where do I place the thermometer in the chicken.  do I want to poke it all the way through into the middle cavity or just in the breast area?
Welcome to SMF & good luck with that chicken. Let us know how it turns out, with Qview of course.

I have smoked 6 chickens and I usually brine them the night before, 1 cup of kosher salt & 1/2 sugar to a gallon of water. Mix 1/2 of the water and the salt and sugar to a boil. Once it is boilig, cut the heat and add the other 1/2 gallon of water. Then, chill to 42 deg or under, wash chicken and put in the water over night.

When you are ready to smoke, wash chicken and pat dry. Add your rub, if you cover it in mustard first and then put your rub on it will hold your rub. I bought 2 non-stick roaster pans @ wally world for 6.50 each.

Put chicken in pan. I usally smoke for 2-3 hours with mesquite, then cover with foil for another 2-3 hours. Usually you smoke 1 hour per pound. Check your temp.

All my chickens have turned out perfect. In fact today I was able to pull all the meat off the bones.

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