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Two smoked whole chickens on a platter.

Smoked Whole Chicken Recipe (whole chicken in smoker)

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  • Author: Erin Jensen
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 4 hours
  • Total Time: 4 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner/Entree
  • Method: Smoker
  • Cuisine: American


Whole Smoked Chicken (2 ways) – a juicy and delicious smoked whole chicken recipe with dry rub and brine option too!



Smoked Chicken Dry Rub

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander

Smoked Whole Chicken

  • 12 tablespoons olive or avocado oil
  • Approx. 4 lb whole chicken
  • (see Notes for Option #2)


  1. (optional) Make a batch of our Smoked Chicken Brine and brine your chicken for 12-24 hours. Remove from brine and pat dry.  
  2. Preheat smoker to 225 degrees F. 
  3. Ensure chicken is fully thawed and and the cavity is empty. 
  4. Pat chicken dry with a clean paper towel. Drizzle with olive oil and rub all over until it is fully coated.
  5. Combine Smoked Chicken Dry Rub in a small bowl.  Take dry rub rub all over the chicken, including under the skin where you can – ensure you get into every nook and cranny. 
  6. Use kitchen or butcher twine to truss the chicken legs together and tuck the wings. 
  7. Place chicken on the smoker (breast side up) and close. 
  8. Let cook approximately 3.5 – 4.5 hours or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.  Keep an eye on your smoking chips so you don’t run out! 
  9. Remove from smoker and let rest 10-20 minutes before carving (cover will aluminum foil). 


  • Option #2: instead of using the Smoked Chicken Dry Rub you can take 2-3 tablespoons softened butter and mix with 2-3 teaspoons minced garlic and then rub that all over the chicken (including under the skin where you can) then sprinkle generously with kosher salt and ground black pepper. Smoke according to the instructions above. 
  • Smoke Time: the best way to track when your bird is done is to keep track of the internal temp. Every smoker can be different and there are always so many variables at play when when determining how long it will take to become fully cooked (such as humidity, hot spots on your smoker, wind, etc). Use an internal meat thermometer or probe to track your internal temp – if you feel like your internal temp is plateauing you can always turn up the heat a bit (say to 235 or even 250) towards the end of cooking time. 
  • Brine: if you want to brine our Smoked Chicken Brine before you smoke – feel free! It still turns out amazing even without the brine, but if you have time and want to try something different it is a good one! 
  • Hot Finish: if you want more crispy skin you can take off your bird when it hits 160 degrees F. and then transfer it to a grill at high heat (500 degrees) and place it on there for about 5 minutes. 
  • Leftovers: got leftovers or smoked an extra bird – we love this Smoked Chicken Salad!
  • Wood Chips/Wood Pellets: I love using cherry, apple wood, pecan or mesquite here!
  • BBQ Sauce: feel free to baste with your favorite BBQ Sauce during the last 30 minutes of cook time!