Tasty Smoked Chicken Recipe For Whole or Half Chickens

Transform ordinary chicken into something special with this smoked chicken recipe. You'll love the taste and so will your friends!

Whole chickens are left as-is or can be cut in half, then brined and then seasoned with a special chicken dry rub before going into the meat smoker for the finishing touch.

Whole Chicken, Seasoned With Dry Rub, On Smoker Rack

Use Whole or Half Chickens For This Recipe

This recipe starts with two whole fryers. Remove the giblets and trim off the fat and extra skin. Split the birds in two by cutting down the middle of the breast and back of each chicken.

Cut along both sides of the backbone and remove. Now it's time to brine!

Chicken Brine Recipe

Whole Chicken In a Gallon Bag Of Poultry Brine, Resting In a Blue Plastic Bowl

To make the brine you'll need one gallon of cold water per bird. To each gallon add three-quarters cup of canning salt, one-quarter cup of sugar (white or brown...your choice). 

Then add two tablespoons of paprika and one tablespoon of ground black pepper. Be sure that the salt and sugar is dissolved completely before mixing in the paprika and pepper.

Soak the chicken halves in the brine four to six hours. A food grade plastic bucket works great for this. Keep the brining chicken in the refrigerator to prevent spoilage.

After brining, pat the chicken dry to make ready for the chicken dry rub mix. See this page about brining chicken for more information.

Smoked Chicken Recipe Dry Rub

This is an easy, yet flavorful dry rub that adds great taste to this smoked chicken recipe. To make the rub, combine...

  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon crushed oregano
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered cayenne pepper

Mix the dry ingredients thoroughly. Before dusting both sides of the chicken halves, brush on a little vegetable oil. Now for the smoker.

Smoking the Chicken

Whole Smoked Chicken, Nicely Browned, On Rack Of CharBroil Smoker

Smoke the chicken halves skin side up in your meat smoker, maintaining the temperature between 225 and 240 degrees Fahrenheit. For smoke, I find that apple wood gives the chicken a wonderful flavor and great color.

It'll take two to four hours for the chicken to finish. Check the temperature of the thigh and breast with your smoker thermometer. When it reaches 165˚F the chicken can be removed from the smoker. Serve immediately.

And if you're short on time, you'll find that smoking whole chickens is the way to go. You'll like this one!

Try Shredded Smoked Chicken Sandwiches!

The smoked chicken made with this recipe is great for making sandwiches. Shred the meat, mix in some of your favorite barbecue sauce , and pile it on a bun with a couple of dill pickle slices.

Slices of smoked chicken are perfect for making tasty appetizers. I like to put a dollop of softened herbed cream cheese on a Ritz cracker and plop a chunk of the cold chicken on top. Add a sprinkle of paprika and munch away!

A whole, golden brown smoked chicken on a grate that's positioned over an aluminum drip pan. Cooked in a Masterbuilt electric smoker.