First Time Smoking Whole Chicken

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by stevetheteacher, Jul 29, 2015.

  1. This week I will be smoking whole chicken for the first time. I haven't purchased the bird yet but I do plan to keep the skin on. I am debating whether to drape bacon over it. Unless, there are other suggestions, I plan to smoke at 225-240 until I hit 165.

    I am still a newbie, so I would greatly appreciate any tips, suggestions, or advice you could provide. Thanks in advance!!!

  2. smokerelli

    smokerelli Fire Starter

    Maybe look into spatchcocking it to help out with the cook
  3. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I'd skip the bacon. It not only does nothing for the chicken, it tends to produce rubbery chicken skin.
    My suggestion (and it's only a suggestion) would be to get a sub 5lb bird, spatchcock it, brine it for 6 hours then put it uncovered on a rack in the refrigerator, skin side up, for 24 hours. Then apply rub and smoke at 300°-325° until the breast meat hits 165°. Then rest 30-60 minutes.
    No, you don't have to spatchcock, and no, you don't have to brine to produce a delicious chicken. But the margin for error is greatly increased if you do. In other words, it's a lot harder to screw up a spatched, brined bird than a whole un brined one.
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2015
  4. Not familiar with the term
  5. Oh, I thought bacon helped keep the chicken moist.
  6. smokerelli

    smokerelli Fire Starter

    I second the brine as well, always thinks it makes for a better bird all around. 

    Spatchcock just means to remove the spine so the bird can be flattened which helps cook it better..meaning the temps of all the parts are the same. 

    Do a quick search in the search bar up top and you can find all kinds of help with it.  Once you do it you will see how easy it actually is. 

    Also ton of great brine recipes on here as well
  7. Never brined beofre
  8. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    It doesn't. It keeps the skin from drying which keeps it rubbery and flabby. The moistness in the meat isn't affected by any noticeable amount. The only truly effective way to ensure a moist chicken is to not overcook it. The brine is basically an insurance policy, giving you a little more leeway in case you miss your target internal temp by a few degrees. Brining will also allow the meat to pick up salt and SOME extra flavors. The most effective are onion and garlic powder. They're water soluble and pack the most punch in a brine.
  9. joe black

    joe black Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Steve, I don't brine. I can't really see any improvement. I have brined in the past on several occasions, but not impressed. However, I do spatchcock my chickens. Check out the search bar for a video or some good pics. I would suggest some good poultry shears. Got my OXO shears on amazon for about $20. They really make it easier.

    I would really try for a cook temp of 300*. The chicken needs to cook faster to help the skin situation. It also helps to get the bird up to 165* IT without drying it out.

    I put butter under the breast skin with some SPOG. Then I rub the outside with butter and shake on some SPOG. For a little color and a little spice, I will also shake on some Weber Kick'n Chicken on the outside. The butter will bind the SPOG and rub and also help to crisp the skin. To get a better skin, when the bird is almost done, put it on a hot grill skin down for just a few minutes.

    I hope this will help. Good luck and make plenty of pics, Joe.
  10. tropics

    tropics Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

  11. getting a lot of interesting ideas
  12. If I'm starting off breast down, should I place the chicken of foil wrap or a pan?
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2015
  13. mowin

    mowin Master of the Pit

    I'm a newbee also. I've done several chicken's and they all came out fantastic. I don't eat the skin, so I'm not to concerned with crispy skin. I brined them overnight. Rinsed them off and set in the fridge for a few hrs to dry. I put butter under the skin on each breast. Rubbed 'em with EVOO and some rub. Smoked 'em whole for 4 hrs or so @ 225-250* and a IT of 165*.

    I did a spached bird last week. Brined and cooked at a higher temp of 330* for about 90 min. Came out great. I just like the low and slow method a little more.
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2015
  14. joe black

    joe black Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Steve, When you split the bird, put directly on the grate, bone side down. Leave it that way for the entire time. If you have a hot grill for the last few minutes, place it breast down for that. I've forgotten, do you have a cooking grate over your FB? If you do, that eliminates the need for the extra grill. Just put the bird directly over on the FB.
  15. I do have a cooking grate
  16. My 1st (so far only) whole chicken was done beer-can style.  Still not sure of the rules here about mentioning 3rd-party sites so I will mention a name and not a website just in case I'm in violation...

    I followed the instructions of Malcom Reed on his YouTube channel and I have to say it was maybe the best chicken I have ever eaten.  And my wife is a chef.  lol

    Turned out perfectly and since I had injected about a cup of wine into it it was so juicy it was squirting when sliced.
  17. I smoked my first chicken last weekend. Smoked it on a Brinkmann Smoke 'n' Grill with Royal Oak lump charcoal. No brining. Stuffed it with a quarter yellow onion and some celery. Rubbed it with olive oil, salt, pepper, paprika and garlic powder. Took 5 hours. My girlfriend said it was the best chicken she's ever had. I agree.

    The Brinkmann gauge read just at "hot", then slowly died to just "warm". According to America's Test Kitchen it's the worst smoker out there. If so, I can't wait to smoke on a good smoker!
    boboso likes this.
  18. xray

    xray Smoking Fanatic

    I did the spatchcock method for the first time about two weeks ago. The bird cooks nice and even. Very pleased with the results! If I changed anything, I would grill the chicken breast side down for a few minutes.

    Note: that's an onion I used to hold the temp probe not a head!! Lol,
  19. paul6

    paul6 Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    I like to brine mine in a garlic herb brine 24hrs before I put it on the smoker. Put a thin layer of BBQ sauce on for adhesive then coat with rub . I use a Beer can stand ( no beer) Smoke with the back facing the heat turn after 1hr and get the breast facing the smoke box , after 2hrs I am about 155 I then drop in a foil roaster , wrap tight and leave on for about 2hrs. Results are a very moist , tender and Flavorful Bird !!
  20. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    You Go , Steve. Just jump in with both feet and start playing with recipes and methods , the more you do the better you get .

    Try doing Chicken till you get really fed-up with and go to another meat. No better way to learn . Gets you in harmony with your Smoker and how to operate it for great


    Have fun and . . .

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