How to Smoke a Whole Chicken in an Electric Smoker

How to Smoke a Whole Chicken in an Electric Smoker

Smoke-flavored chicken is one way of enhancing your test and experience at once. If you have to become a pro as far as smoking is concerned, you need sufficient kitchen-smoking tips. There are secrets you are going to learn today how to smoke a whole chicken, which forever will distinguish you from ordinary beginners.

Smoking chicken is an easy step-by-step procedure whose success greatly depends on your choice of the best electric smoker. Once you have mastered these steps, practicing on a daily basis will give you a chance to join experts.


Chicken smoking is a versatile experience that is applicable everywhere you wish to smoke. Thus as a successful meat smoker, learning how to smoke chicken is a basic task you need to master.

Restaurant smokers, smoking enthusiasts and professional chefs all at several instances require substantial mastery of smoking tips. And the best way is to learn from experts. Read on through this guide and let us move together in your quest to attain perfectionism in meat smoking.

Before starting the smoking process you should check all the necessary grilling equipment and kitchen tools are ready.

And also think before you go, If you plan to smoke in cold weather you need to know cold smoking tips perfectly.

Prepare your chicken:

Remove the vertebrae to take out all the giblets by cutting either side with a sharp knife. Lay the pre-smoked chicken flat, wash and rinse it thoroughly, ensuring that it is dry. Cold water is ideal for rinsing.

My suggestion for a new griller and cooker, read some bbq books for perfect bbq flavor.

Before you proceed, you will need the​ following ingredients:

  • 1 whole roasting chicken
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Cayenne pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • Olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • Salt and Pepper for taste enhancement
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 3 tablespoons of rub

You might have the following as your spices:

  • Salt (Kosher preferred)
  • Turbinado or brown sugar
  • Paprika (For the best flavor, choose Hungarian)
  • Chili powder
  • Garlic, granulate or powder
  • Onion powder

Once you have all the above ingredients ready, combine all of them except the chicken in the bag and mix well. Place the chicken in the bag. Ensure that no air is left inside before sealing. Mix thoroughly until the mixture coats the whole chicken completely. Let marinade in refrigerator until it is ready to cook.

Rubbing pre-smoked chicken should be the first step that precedes actual chicken smoking. Ideal rub uses a simple, dry, spice-accented rub recipe. After seasoning, slow and indirect heating is recommended as the best smoking method. 

The seasoning process is simple but works out great miracles on your smoking experience.

Choose the best smoke:

For perfect chicken smoking, your choice of smoke matters a lot. The best smoke is known to be produced by hickory, apple, cherry and maple wood. Here, we recommend choosing apple or hickory chips for slow, sure and perfect smoking.

Hickory and apple wood chips take some time to penetrate the meat. This combination gives you a perfect flavor you will ever live to cherish. Hickory burns slowly but produces strong and sweet flavor that is just good for chicken.

If you plan to smoke only chicken legs here is some tips for you.

Get into your smokehouse for the actual smoking:

  • Add some water to the water bawl at about an inch or 2/3 full. To avoid wasting your fuel, use some hot water.
  • Place your pre-soaked wood chips in the wood chip box. To avoid refilling from time to time, you’d better fill the chip box. A full chip box will last until the chicken is fully smoked.
  • Start your smoker and monitor your temperature until it hits 200 to 230 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the chicken with the skin side up and ensure it is as flat as possible on the rack. When it is flat, it cooks faster and more evenly. You can remove its breast-bone so that it lies more flat. This also makes it easier to cut when you are done.
  • Maintain a constant temperature throughout the cooking session. Cook until the thickest internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit and its juices starts to run clear. With the best Masterbuilt or any other smoker, there is no worry of overcooking or under-cooking. Simply set it at 200 to 230 degrees Fahrenheit and wait for the marvelous smoking.
  • After two hours, turn it over to finish up the smoking. Use your integrated food meat thermometer or external probe thermometer to check if it’s ready. Once you are satisfied with its doneness, rest it for about 10 minutes to allow its juices to turn to the center.
  • At this point, you can use a barbeque sauce and liquid smoke to enhance the flavor of your smoked chicken. 

Important points to consider:

  • The quality of smoking varies significantly depending on the exact smoker being used. A smoker with LED displays and internal meat thermometer makes your work easier thus increases chances of quality smoking.
  • The role of probe thermometer is vital when smoking chicken. Be sure to set it at 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Immediately it reaches that temperature, it automatically switches to the warm mode and the smoker stops cooking. 250 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal smoking temperature.
  • The exact time duration for smoking chicken also varies significantly depending on the size of the bird. Generally, average chicken cooks within 2 to 4 hours. It is between this time duration that you have to be careful will smoking your whole chicken.
  • Once you are done with you are done with your smoking, allow it to rest for around 20 minutes before you carve.

Final words:

The above procedure is typical and ideal for chicken smoking. If you are a fan of chicken smoking, the most important decision you are going to make is to purchase the best digital electric smoker. Although there are several smokers on the market today, the best brands such as Masterbuilt are easier, healthier and convenient to use.

As a beginner, you are likely to make common blunders especially if you don’t pay full attention to the instructions. However, these beginners’ mistakes are perfectly avoidable if you are careful enough.

Smoking a whole chicken is a great way to start off your carrier if this is where you like to be. It is quite easier than smoking brisket, ribs and the likes. The recipe we have given you is convenient for big families or if you have visitors coming over.

Creativity is encouraged especially if you have been following these steps quite often. To be a creative chicken smoker, you need to practice daily and learn ‘where’ to include ‘what’ as you progress.

You are ready to smoke a whole chicken. So why not to try BBQ Pizza and the spinach chicken?

Be careful with instructions and you will come to like it. So you need to learn it properly. You will count every minute you spend in your smokehouse a resourceful minute in your life.

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Theresa Lori

Hi, I'm Theresa. My passion for grilling delicacy gradually built during the time I was living with my parents. My family members especially my mother was a great fan of grilled dishes to and from the love of food. I started preparing smoked food with my mom. This bonding helped me to know more and more about to smoke, grill what always I share on So, in two words you can call me a BBQ lover.

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