Smoking Chicken (Whole fryer cut up) - Looking for advice

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ms mayhem

Original poster
May 29, 2007
Cliff Notes:
1. Skin or no skin?
2. Dry Rub, Wet Rub, None?
3. What to brine with?
4. What type of wood is best?

Read on for full post


I purchased an ECB from wally world and drilled the holes in the charcoal pan (haven't drilled any in the lid yet).

I've smoked whole cut-up chicken fryers twice (2 fryers each time) unbrined (is that a word?) with skin removed using no rub, kingston charcoal, and hickory wood. They came out pretty good.

But, I'd like to hear some thoughts on the subject. Which is better, a dry rub or a wet rub? I liked it without any, but it needed some Sweet Baby Ray's one on the plate.

Does brining make that much difference? Just salt and water? Or should I put something else in for flavor?

I've used hickory wood, but I know there a number of options... is there one I should choose for chicken?

We are going to have some folks over, and I'd really like to do this well.

Any opinions are welcome.
I would brine them.. there is a good brine recipe in the chicken section ..and I would add some pepper and spices to your taste as a rub ...I like to do them whole with the skin on and put some 1/4ed apples or oranges in the cavity to add moisture and spray with apple juice about every hr.
I agree w/cowboy. I always brine poultry now. Start w/the basics(salt, water, sugar) and add what you like(ie garlic, onion, cajun spices, etc).

I then put a light dry rub on, rub under the skin too, and leave skin on. If no skin, wrap in bacon.

I also like to "butterfly"/spatchcock the birds. Cut the back bone out and lay flat.

Brine is a must in my book, all else is "extra".

Good luck
First of all, when trying to impress, stick with what you know! Experiment on your family ... if that works then try it on guests.

I'd leave the skin on, rub with any seasonings you like, when internal is very close put all the pieces on your preheated grill until the skin is firmed up and get ready for the compliments! Sometimes simple is better!
I wouldn't butcher your ECB until you are sure you need to ......

Just my .02 worth! Good luck!
I have had very good luck with injecting various flavored marinate into the meat. Also, I get my fingers up under the breast and thigh skin and seperate the skin from the meat, I put rub between the skin and meat and smoke as usual. I LOVE crispy skin, so I crisp it up on the grill. Terry
I smoked a whole chicken just last night. I used some of Jeff's Famous Rub for the first time. Good stuff! I recommend dropping the 20 bucks and buying the recipe from him.

I left the skin on, my wife loves crispy skin. I could care less about the skin. I smoked it for 2 hours and then finished it up in my Ronco Showtime Rotisserie. It retains the juicy flavor and crisps up the skin really nice.
Golly Bill, (from Festus Hagen), finish a chicken on a rotisseri, rotissery,(where the hell is the spell checker on this thing?) finish it on an electrical spinning device, what a GREAT idea. I am glad that I thought of it! I don't know how these things come to me?? Ha, seriously, that is a great idea. I thank you! Terry
Let me know how it goes for you. Now to come up with a modification for a rotisserie that fits inside the smoker! Two birds with one stone.
Al - I was thinking yesterday about spatchcocking. Saw Alton Brown do it and thought it would be the way to go if smoking a bird.
As SmokyOky says, "Great minds think alike"
I did that last night in grilling some cornish hens. Works great for grilling, I've never done it for smoking birds though... it does make sense.
I spatchcock all the time now. Did the BCC, was fine, then tried this spatchcocking. I did a few turkey's like that too. I think they cook faster, but I've never really time tested it.

I'm a real big fan of brine'n poultry. Since the first time, I've done it every time. I took a chicken to 195*(got busy) and it was just as juicy.

I also want to try take'n the skin off and wrap in bacon. Did that on some boneless/skinless thighs and it was a big hit.

It also helps when the family is REALLY hungry, anything is good then.

"Great minds think alike", Mike. Your in for a long, tough life if we think alike!
I got in the habit of tearing out all the rib and sharp back bones and when the kids were little I was always afraid they choke on them. I like to throw it in the freezer until it firms up a bit and then the bones tear right out with very little hassle.

My son used to say I was raping the chickens again as I also tore the skin off. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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