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Smoking a whole fryer


Meat Mopper
Joined May 8, 2012
I have a simple question I hope.

A have smoked a whole chicken a few times and when I do I use two thometers one in breast and one in thighs. It seem like the thigh meat is always about 10 degree hotter that the breast meat. I start the fryer out on it breast for the first hour then roll on its back for the last few hours.

My question is what probe do I use as to tell when the chicken is ready. One will always reach 165% before the other.

Thanks in advance


Epic Pitmaster
OTBS Member
Joined Oct 4, 2012
I always go for 165 in the breast.

A way to get the bird to cook Evelyn is to spatchcock it. It allows the bird to lay flat and the thigh and breast will finish at about the same time. Once again I pull when the breast is 165. The thigh can handle more heat and won't dry out.

I spatchcock 98% of my whole chickens when cooking them.


Legendary Pitmaster
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Joined Oct 17, 2016
With any whole bird you're likely to encounter this variation between thigh/breast, perfectly normal and not a concern.
Take the breast to 165' and the thighs will still be tender/juicy at 175'+.

I second the Spatchcock, love it for cooking birds, turn up the heat and all that happens is the bird cooks faster.
My Tday turkey came to perfect breast/thigh temps simultaneously.


SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster
Staff member
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
Joined Jun 22, 2009
Actually I think the thighs are more tender & juicy at 175 to 180.

However the breast starts to dry out when it gets over 165.

I pull mine at 157, & a short rest on the counter will get it to 165.



Smoke Blower
Joined Oct 4, 2016
One other thing you can do to help with moistness (if you don't already) is to brine it.  I started brining this past summer and it was quite awesome in it effect on moistness and flavor.  I use a basic salt/sugar/water brine and then add whatever I want for additional flavor.  I usually go with garlic, pepper, and I like Trader Joe's 21 Seasoning Salute, although I am running out of it as I don't have a TJ's close by.

Amounts of salt/sugar/water will vary depending on what you are brining, so search for a brine that suits your needs.

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