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Smoking a chicken


Joined Jan 9, 2016
I will be smoking a whole chicken tomorrow, probably 5-6 pounder.  I plan on spatchcocking to help with the cooking evenly and getting smoke throughout the bird.  Below are the questions I have that I hope someone can shed some light on:
  1. What smoking temperature do you recommend for this situation?
  2. Approximately how long per pound at the temperature that is recommended (I know that ultimately with so many variables this could fluctuate and using a meat thermometer is the indicator of doneness)?
  3. Do I need to use water in the water pan of the smoker since I would assume this will be at a higher temp than the normal "low and slow" smoking?
  4. Any other suggestions for moist chicken?
Also, I plan on once up to temp throwing on the grill with skin side down for 10-15 minutes to crisp up the skin if needed as I don't want rubbery skin.

Thank you in advance!
Last edited:

chef jimmyj

Gone but not forgotten. RIP
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
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Joined May 12, 2011
Juicy Smoke-tastic Chicken and Turkey

Here is a Brine that is a Favorite with members of my Family. I like Apple and/or Hickory with Chicken or Turkey. We determine doneness by measuring the Internal Temp (IT) in the thickest part of the Breast and Thigh, 165* and 175*F respectively. For a One Step Smoke with Crispy Skin the birds have to be smoked at a temp of 300-325°F. You can figure about 15 minutes per pound to reach the desired IT. Electric smokers usually only go to 275°F. With these you will be smoking at the most common temp range of 225-275°F. You can figure on about 25 minutes per pound cook time + or - 5 minutes depending what part of the range you choose. Usually the skin will not crisp so if the skin is not Crisp enough when the IT is 145*F in the Breast, put the Bird in a 425*F Oven or offset on a hot Grill to finish cooking to 165* and Crisp the Skin...There is no need for water in the pan. I like to brine overnight but since you want it tomorrow, brine 4-6 hours and let it dry until smoke time..JJ

Families Favorite Brine

1/2C Kosher Salt

2T Paprika

2T Gran. Garlic

2T Gran. Onion

2T Dry Thyme

2T Black Pepper

1C Vinegar (Any)

1-11/2Gal Cold Water to cover Chix

1/2C Brown Sugar, Optional

1T Red Pepper Flake Optional

Mix well and Soak the Bird over night or up to 24 Hours.

Remove the Chix, rinse if desired and pat dry with paper towels.

Place in an open container in the refrigerator overnight or up to 24 hours for the Skin to dry.

This will give a crispier skin when Smokng or Roasting...


Epic Pitmaster
OTBS Member
Joined Oct 4, 2012
If you cook your bird to an internal temp of 165 you won't have to worry about the bird not being moist. For non rubbery skin you will need to smoke at temps above 300. Another factor to get better skin is to make sure the skin is dry. Best method is to air dry my n the fridge overnight. If you don't have time tondo this, you can use a hair dryer on low right before you put the bird in the smoker.


Master of the Pit
SMF Premier Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
Joined May 13, 2013

You are correct with spatchcocking the bird.

Chef Jimmy's Brine Recipe looks great and should add a ton of moisture.

I typically smoke my chickens at 170- 175, which keeps the moisture in and will keep the breasts from drying out.

As for time, for a bird that is 6 lbs it will take about 1-1/2 to 2 hours.  Like Chef Jimmy, I pull my chicken early and toss it on the gas grill at pre heated to 450 with indirect heat and bring the breasts up to 160, pull loosely tent with foil and let rest for 15 minutes or more.

Many times if I don't crisp up the skin on the grill and not everyone wants the skin, so I gently peel off the skin after it has rested and lay the big chunks on the grill and crisp up over high heat.

The nice thing about chicken is that as long as you do not over cook it, it is pretty hard to screw it up.

Good Luck and Smoke ON!

- Jason
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