Smoked Stuffed Chicken {250F Whole Bird Recipe!}

 Smoked Whole Chicken Recipe

Is there anything prettier than a browned bird?

I’ll never forget the first smoked whole chicken I ever tasted.  It was on vacation and my father in law cooked it.  When I saw how pink the meat was I first thought it was undercooked.  Then I took a bite and realized it was pink from the 8 hours of smoke.  It was the best chicken I had ever eaten.  I was immediately addicted.

I’ve smoked more whole chickens than any other item, by a very large margin.  You can usually find them for less than $1/lb, they don’t take a ridiculously long time, they’re relatively healthy, and holy wow are they good.  This is an easy one for you to get really good at, really fast.

Prepare the Chicken for the Smoker

We want to get as much flavor into the bird as possible before it ever hits the smoker.  In order to accomplish this we are going to brine the chicken and then stuff the cavity with aromatics.

Brine the Chicken for Four Hours

First and most importantly, brine the chicken for at least four hours and overnight if possible.  Use my Basic Brine Recipe.

Keep the chicken refrigerated while it is brining.

Take your chicken out of the brine and rinse with cool water.  Set on a tray.

If you do not have enough time to brine the bird then you can take a shortcut by injecting the chicken.

Stuff and Season the Chicken

Chop the lemon, onion, apple and garlic cloves.  Throw them in a bowl and mix together with salt, pepper and olive oil.

Now take the happy mixture you just made and stuff it inside the chicken.  This is going to add flavor and moisture from the cavity of the chicken in a way that you can’t believe.

Stuffing for Smoked chicken

Rub olive oil all over your bird.  This will help give it a nice golden brown color.  Then sprinkle salt and pepper all over, and a light dusting of paprika for color.

You’re now ready to light your coals.  But first, wash your hands and go grab your favorite drink.  You deserve it.

Uncooked Chicken with Stuffing

Smoke the Stuffed Chicken

Set up your grill for indirect cooking (or use your smoker).  Place your bird away from the heat, and throw a bunch of wood on your coals.  Stick with fruit wood – apple is a good pairing with chicken.  Feel free to mix it up to your particular tastes.

Assuming your grill holds its temp around 250F, and depending on the weight, your chicken will cook for 3 – 5 hours.  You want an internal temperature in the leg of 170F.  Obviously if the bird is bigger or your heat is lower, it will take longer to reach this temperature.  Be patient.  It’s worth it.

Two Smoked Chickens

Let the chicken rest for at least 20 minutes before pulling apart or slicing.  Oh, and when you pull the leg off, and it comes clean, and delicious juices pour out – it’s ok to giggle.  Now please, enjoy.

And the leftovers can be put to such good use.  My wife, Patti, has shared some of her leftover smoked chicken recipes. The tastiness she creates is illegal in 27 of the contiguous states.  And when you’re all done, take that carcass and make Smoked Chicken Broth for a little slice of heaven next time you make soup.

Let me know how it goes when you try this recipe for your next smoked whole chicken.  If you haven’t tried brining or stuffing the cavity before, I really think you’re going to be thrilled with the results.  Now go enjoy browning that bird!

Smoked Stuffed Chicken [250F Recipe!]

A whole chicken is brined, stuffed with aromatics and smoked at 250F for about four hours until an internal temperature of 170F is reached in the leg.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 15 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Calories 250 kcal


  • 1, 3-5 lb chicken
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 onion
  • 1 apple
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Paprika
  • Olive Oil


  • Brine the chicken – overnight if possible.
  • Chop the lemon, onion, apple and garlic cloves. Throw them in a bowl and mix together with salt, pepper and olive oil. Set aside.
  • Take your chicken out of the brine and rinse with cool water. Set on a tray. Now take the mixture you just made and stuff it inside the chicken.
  • Rub olive oil all over your bird. This will help give it a nice golden brown color. Then sprinkle salt and pepper all over, and a light dusting of paprika for color.
  • Set up your grill for indirect cooking (or use your smoker).
  • Place your bird away from the heat, and throw a bunch of wood on your coals. Stick with fruit wood – apple is a good pairing with chicken. Assuming your grill holds its temp around 250, and depending on the weight, your chicken will cook for 3 – 5 hours. You want an internal temperature in the leg of 170. If the bird is bigger or your heat is lower, it will take longer to reach this temperature.
  • Let the chicken rest for at least 20 minutes before pulling apart or slicing.


How you position the chicken on your smoker is going to depend upon the direction of the heat flow. You want the thighs/legs to be closest to the heat and the breast to be farther away.
In an ideal world you want the chicken to reach 165F in the breast and 185F in the thigh but this can be tricky to pull off. Reaching 170F in the leg is an acceptable compromise.
The finished chicken will have a pink ring around the outside and an increased redness at the bone joints. Do not worry about these colors as they are the result of smoking and do not indicate that the chicken is undercooked.
Keyword Smoked Stuffed Chicken

322 thoughts on “Smoked Stuffed Chicken {250F Whole Bird Recipe!}

  1. Does it matter if I don’t mix the stuffing and just put in as I cut it up? It’s all just steam flavor right? I just cut each thing up and shoved it in until no more room.

  2. I put 2 chickens in the basic brine yesterday afternoon. Just finished stuffing them and putting in my Pit Boss 820 pellet smoker. This looks like an amazing recipe and my family is really excited to try it!

  3. Ok…first try. Only chickens available yesterday were “free range” chickens. Fairly small but thought I’d give it a try anyway. Brined overnight with your mixture and put on smoker. 3 ½ hours later we had the juiciest and best tasting chickens ever. Rotisserie chickens have nothing on these. I was wondering if you could do a small turkey that way and how long it should take at 250 degrees.

  4. Kevin,
    I must admit that I was a tad bit skeptical when I saw this recipe, but after trying it both my wife and I are firm believers! We dropped a bit of brown sugar in the brine, and added a couple of other items to it. Other than that, we kept the recipe pretty much the same. Thanks for such a wonderful idea! BTW, we pair this style of smoked chicken with some paprika noodle salad and some savory onion baked beans. Seems like there are never any leftovers…so it must be great! Thanks again!!

  5. I like the looks of your recipe and looking forward to trying. How do you get such a nice color on your bird? I have a Weber Smoky Mountain and whenever I smoke chickens they come out very, very dark, almost chocolate-colored. It’s mostly an aesthetic thing, the flavor is pretty good. But would be more appetizing if I could get the color you have here.

    1. Look at a few of my other chicken recipes and you’ll find my secrets. You can cover it in foil or bacon after it reaches that perfect color you’re looking for. Basically just have to protect the skin once it hits that perfect color.

    1. Depends on your smoker – mine will cook two in the same time as it cooks one. Most will, unless they’re in different spots on your smoker and get different amounts of heat.

  6. Awesome as usual. I have been using your recipe for over a year now and the only addition I have made is some rosemary and time to the fruit mixture. I started with smoking two birds each time but now I am up to eight each time because every time I smoke them everybody wants to take one home!! My son wants the recipe so I sent him to your site. Thanks again!

  7. This is one fantastic recipe sir! My word! I have tried and thoroughly enjoyed your pulled pork and “award winning” chicken thigh recipes so I’m not surprised this one was great too… Thank you for sharing!

  8. I will be smoking 2 5-6 lb chickens today. I’m using pecan wood ( a limb that fell off a few months ago) trying ur suggestions and may try the bacon idea. Usually u can take ur bird and put in the oven for the last 30min to hour to crisp the skin.

  9. Awesome! I used this receipe as I have never smoked a chicken before and it turned out amazing. The only change I made to this was I had to use Hickory wood as I did not have any Apple left. My wife and son couldn’t get enough of it. I say everyone should try this out. Thank you for the receipe.

  10. I have 2 5# birds in brine now for tomorrow. Stuffing one with your recipe. The other I’m using all your ingredients but adding a couple diced up chipotles and adobo. Cooking them one my Good One Open Range smoker. I’ll post how they turned out.

  11. This is my first whole chicken ever!
    It is on the smoker for the 4th of July as we speak, and I followed the recipe to T. 2 simple changes I’m hoping don’t screw this bird up.
    #1 Used a beer can seasoning to season the bird (Weber Beer Can chicken seasoning) used salt and pepper as directed for the stuffing.

    #2 I have a treagar smoker and I set the bird in an aluminum trey with the bottom covered in beer 1-2 inches. I used Coors light.
    Have you ever though or herd of this? Ill let you know how it turns out, but I was thoroughly impressed by the reviews here, and if I don’t enjoy my twist on it, I will try again following every direction. Thank you for an EASY and hopefully delicious recipe.

  12. Kevin,
    I just tried your recipes, both Brine & the chopped fruit and veggies and it was delicious! I have a question about the leftover brine. Can I use it again on another chicken in a couple days? Or is it a one-time use?

    1. Louie – Personally I would be fine using it again, but there may be some “food safety code” out there that says to immediately pitch anything that has raw chicken in it. I would think if you’re just doing chicken, it would be fine.

  13. followed your recipe to the letter on a 9 # yardbird. wfe said it’s best chicken she ever ate. i’m a hero and a legend in my own mind. thank you so much! 2nd time i ever smoked any thing. i’m hooked!

  14. Hi there,I read your blogs named “Smoked Whole Chicken” like every week.Your story-telling style is awesome, keep doing what you’re doing! And you can look our website about proxy list.

  15. 5 stars for receipt.. I did this receipt on Saturday.. And my family absolutely loved it.. My wife has made it very clear this is the only way she wants her chicken from now on..

  16. Absolutely delicious! We thought Smoked salmon was our favorite till I made this. My wife turned the left overs into smoked chicken soup. Mmmmm
    I used oak, apple and cherry wood. Smoked it for about 3 1/2 hours between 250 and 300. Thanks for the recipe.

  17. I agree with the others, this was the best chicken I’ve ever had. Is the skin usually tough on smoked chicken? This was my first time smoking anything and the skin was not edible. I’m wondering if that’s from smoking or if it’s these birds from a local farmer. The meat was delicious.

    1. I never eat the skin, so it doesn’t bother me. However, if you want to keep it from getting too tough, you’ll need to protect it from the smoke. After an hour or so, when you’re happy with the color of the skin, cover it with tin foil or bacon – or something else you prefer – to protect the skin and keep it moist.

      1. Bacon! Did you say bacon? Did you suggest I cover a bird in the smoker with bacon? Are you trying to kill me? I fainted dead away at the mere thought of such a treat. Prep the bird. Drink beer. Smoke for one hour and drink another beer. Apply bacon, open another beer and get a loaded weapon in your fist – the neighbors will be comining over the fence.

  18. Smoking three chickens with the recipe today for the fire house, big eaters! We’ll see how they come out! Thanks for sharing.

  19. Thanks for sharing, this was a great recipe and got me heading in the right direction. Had been wanting to smoke a whole chicken but wasn’t sure where to start. This was excellent! I had planned on having leftovers, but given how good the bird turned out, there just weren’t any! Think I’ll make two next time!

  20. I am going to try 4 birds this weekend and I was wondering if it matters if the apples, garlic and lemon should be cold or room temp. when stuffed in the birds and placed in the smoker or does it not matter. Did not know if it would alter smoking time. Thanks. So looking forward to trying this!

      1. The 4 birds turned out fantastic! I used the stuffing cold and it took 7 hours at 225 degrees in my Great Outdoors Rocky Mountain smoker with apple wood. Next I am going to sandwich the apple onion garlic mix between two racks of pork ribs tied together and see how that turns out. I will use the same sugar salt brine I used on the chickens from your site. Thanks again! Tom

  21. Hello!
    In a few days I will be getting a Kingsford Charcoal Water Smoker (can’t afford the more expensive ones) with lump charcoal and wood (Mesquite, perhaps? Depending on what they have available). I do plan on doing 2 chickens (one for freezer!) with this recipe. It sounds great! I do love poultry. Turkey is a personal favorite.
    I have a question that perhaps you can answer:
    1. Is there a problem with Kingsford Charcoal Water Smoker that I should be aware of? I’ve read both good and bad reviews. Just wondering.
    The main goal here is to stock up my freezer with home cooked/smoked goods since it’s just me, a dog and a cat.

    1. First – be careful with Mesquite – it’s a potent wood!
      Second, I don’t know of any problems with that particular smoker. Every smoker has its positives and negatives – the key is to get to know your smoker and all its quirks. Once you’ve cooked on it a few times, you’ll figure it out, I’m sure.
      Remember to season it before you put meat on it by coating the inside with oil and letting a load of coal and wood burn through it empty!

  22. Freaking fantastic chicken first time I made it with some ribs and a pork loin in the smoker doing three today to bring for a party everyone who has tasted it falls in love a must try recipe

  23. Wow is all I can say… I made 4 chickens following your recipe, chucked them into my newely built UDS, smoke d with applewoid and a bit of hiccory, and watched with glee on how easy the smoking was. Checked the ladies after 2 hours all was great, turned them, drank more beer. The smell was intoxicating, it was all I could do to stop my wife and friends from ripping them apart before they were ready.

    The chickens were delicious, had a couple of best testing chicken I’ve ever hads, even one child who is a very fussy eater devoured as much chicken as was put on his plate.

    We were all stuffed and very satisfied. Thanks so much for sharing this recipient, I will be making it again in 2 weeks.

  24. Used this recipe for my very first smoked anything on my electric grill. My girlfriend and her co worker said this was the best chicken they ever had. Smoking two more today. Thanks for sharing

  25. My chicken is brining now. Going to smoke it tomorrow, using this recipe, but my special rub instead of just salt pepper and paprika. Can’t wait to try this tomorrow night! What sides are recommended?

  26. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your amazing outta this world recipe. You made it so simple to follow & the results were nothing short of spectacular!
    This was my first attempt at smoking anything, being an Aussie we love our BBQ but smoking meat is something new, although is becoming more mainstream thanks to you American’s & your passion for bbq & smoking!

  27. My kiddos love chicken (slow cooker from family especially).. I’ve always been a bit shy about using the smoker (except for ham), but i just started the coals and wood. The chicken is stuffed with the apple, onion and garlic. Outside is seasoned and rubbed with olive oil. This was an easy recipe to work with. I can’t wait to see how it turns out! Thank you for posting.

  28. I’m used to slow roasting chicken in the oven, but after seeing this recipe I think I’ll fire up the smoker and surprise hubby tonight. Thanks for the recipe, I’ll come back and give you family reviews from My ever opinionated food critics! Wish me luck :0)

  29. Best Chicken ever amen hands down…..This was are first time smoking a chicken. And there will be no reason for us to look at other reciepes. Fantastic recipe and thank you for sharing.

  30. I have had this and it was fantastic, I was wondering if this would work for a 16 pound turkey, I do realize that it will take a lot longer.
    Any suggestions?

    1. Bruce – absolutely. I cook turkeys with the same process as chickens. I just change the stuffing…celery, onion, rosemary, sage…more…”turkey-ish” flavors inside. Otherwise, the process from brining to injecting to cooking is the same – just longer, as you said.

      1. Thanks Kevin, turkey came out perfect, I was a little worried about the cooking time. So I kept the smoker at about 250 the 16 pound turkey was done in 4 and 1/2 hours. Just brined not injected.
        Everybody loved it, most said the best they have ever had

  31. I have used this recipe twice, for a third time today, and it’s great every time. I added my own spice rub today just to personalize the taste, but it’s a great recipe!

  32. Good afternoon guys i am so happy to tell you all i smoked my first 15 pound TURKEY and i could not i repeat the taste was so awesome i did not believe i done it!!!!!! Everyone that taste it wanted me to do them one they could not believe it was my FIRST TIME SMOKING ANYTHING LOL!!!! I JUST WANTED TO THANK YOU KEVIN AND JOHN AND THE REST OF THE SMOKING FAMILY FOR ALL THE GREAT TIPS!!!!!! I GUESS I AM ON MY WAY TO BEING A GOOD COOK LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THANKS AGAIN !!!!!!!!!!!!


    1. Demetrius – I have a Backwoods vertical smoker and it handles 4 chickens with no problem. Just be aware of the heat source – mine is hotter at the top than the bottom, so the birds on top finish before the birds on bottom – unless you rotate.

      1. Seconded; should be easy to handle, I’ve done multiple birds on several occasions. I would recommend getting a pair of silicone BBQ gloves so you can rotate the birds easily without burning yourself.

          1. And for the love of God, people, use your probe thermometers (the kind you leave in that connect to a separate LED display)! They’re cheap and absolutely essential to getting the perfect temp.

  34. First of all, thanks for the work you’ve done here. As a beginner I found your instructions very understandable, clearly written and easy to follow.

    One novice mistake I made was starting out with way too much charcoal, such that it was difficult to keep the temperature down to 250. Next time I’ll use about half what I started out with. The birds finished in about three hours instead of the four hours I’d planned.

    Also, I may have used too much applewood in the smoke. I’ll know better after a couple more practice rounds, but about how much wood do you recommend using? These were chips, not chunks. I suppose up to a point it’s just a matter of taste plus trial and error.

    Anyway, my birds came out very moist, well-flavored and beautifully browned. Couldn’t have done it without you…

    1. Larry – thanks so much for your kind words. And you are absolutely right about the wood – it’s a matter of taste plus trial and error! Less is usually more – especially with poultry. Beef can take a lot more smoke. Pork is somewhere in the middle.

    2. I had a few issues with my first run but all the ones after were amazing.

      First mistake I made was not stuffing the bird which lead to over-smoking and drying the meat due to smoking the cavity also.

      Second mistake (I use a digital electric smoker with chips) was closing down the damper on the top of the smoker. Less is more, you want the smoke to gently kiss the bird on it’s way out the top of the smoker, not stay in the smoker. Was my very first time smoking anything.

      I smoke my birds from start to finish due to letting the excess smoke out of the smoker and the shorter cook time. Either way this post was the most amazing thing to happen to my most amateur days smoking meats. This is still my go to for smoked chicken, wouldn’t change a thing!

  35. I have a master built smoker and have been loving it for years smoking everything from cheese to bacon to brisket. I have done small fryers but I have never done a whole 6 3/4 lb roaster. How long do you think it would take? I still can’t quite get my timing down for a few things and I want to make sure that it’s done when I need it to be! Thanks in advance for any advice or ideas!

    1. I usually get the big chickens done in about 5 hours when smoking at 225-250. I’ve also gotten them done in 2 hours when cooking at 350. So it just depends on what temp you’re cooking, but if you’re cooking at the lower smoking temps, I’d say 5-6 hours to be safe.

    1. I used to, but haven’t much lately. I think basting is a great idea – though I’m not sure how much gets through the skin once it’s been smoking. Those pores close up and lock the juice in, so I’m not sure now much flavor can get in from the outside. That’s why I stopped basting. I just encompass the bird with flavors everywhere before I start cooking it, then let it alone to smoke!

  36. OOOMG…an amazing recipe.. The brine, the stuffing, the whole smoker chicken. We did two and they were amazing. Follow the plan and you will be happy.

  37. Thank you, Kevin. I did 4 whole 5 1/2 lb chickens today, following your recipe exactly. Took 5 hours in my MES 30. They were perfect.

  38. Hey Kevin. Great information, thanks. I’ve smoked quite a bit of pork shoulder and some brisket. Chicken a hand full of times. When I smoke chicken, they come out almost black and the skin is so smoky that it is not good eating. They turn out way darker than the photo of the smoked chicken on this webpage. The meat is real tender, juicy and it is smoky, maybe a little too much. Do you have any recommendations? Am I using too much wood and not enough charcoal? What ratio do you recommend? Or is it the type of wood? Though I have tried several types. I have thought about wrapping them when they turn brown and not black yet, but I read the comment below that you shouldn’t have to wrap chicken. Thanks!


    1. Brandon – a couple ideas on getting a better skin: Smoke at a higher temp for a shorter period of time so it’s exposed to the smoke for a shorter period. The other thing I do is, after about an hour of smoke, I drape bacon across the breasts to protect the skin, and slow the cooking so the thighs can get done. If neither of those work, you can tent the top of the chicken with tin foil to protect it.
      Good luck!

      1. Kevin, on the skin, what about smoking @ 250 for the majority of the time and only using a single batch of wood chips (ie not replacing them when they’re done, less actual smoke this way), then cranking it up to 325 for ~30 minutes at the end to crisp up the skin? I’ve never smoked poultry and I’m trying to come up with a hybrid procedure of my own, based on a bunch of different recipes I’ve read.

        1. John – I think that’s a great strategy and should work well. Or reverse that and start with high temps, then slow down. Either way should result in good skin.

  39. Work has transplanted me to Alabama and I have become a big fan of white bbq sauce with smoked chicken.

    Have you much exposure to white bbq sauce?

    Do you have a suggested recipe?

    1. Benjamin – I do NOT have a suggested recipe – other than to look up the white bbq sauce recipe for Big Bob Gibson BBQ. They are the standard in that sauce, and they are my only exposure to it. Very tasty – very different.

  40. Have made this chicken several times now, in fact gonna do it again tomorrow! It is wonderful! Thanks for sharing!

  41. Also, im using a Weber Genesis as a smoker, what side of the bird goes on the grill? Do you recommend I rotate the chicken during cooking time? Im making this on the weekend!

    1. John – Cooking time shouldn’t change too much with 1 bird vs 2. You might want to rotate if one part of your smoker is hotter than another part, so they finish at the same time. I always cook breast side up – but I don’t think it matters too much. I like to drape bacon across the breast meat after an hour or so to keep it extra moist and slow down the cooking so the thighs are done at the same time.
      Have fun!

  42. Smoking with a Weber smokey mountain cooker. Do you recommend filling the water pan with water? My concern is this may make the skin rubbery.

    1. I’ve done it both ways. If the chicken is on the top rack of your wsm, you won’t have an issue with rubbery skin. It gets blasted up there! Either way, you’ll have great results.

  43. I am going to make my first attempt for July 4th! I am planning on using foil trays. Is this the way to go or do I put the chickens directly on the grill?

  44. AWESOME! Very good method. The simplicity of the rub lets the chicken flavor really shine. I smoke 3 five pounders, and with only 6 people eating there were NO leftovers. It was that good. I used a mix of 1/2 water and 1/2 white soda salt and some garlic powder for the brineand let it soak for 24 hrs. It added a sweet note to the meat. Try it!

  45. Kevin H. My hats off to you. 2nd time smoking and this was a hit. Family already begging me for more. The only thing I did different was instead of brining, injected it with a creole butter. Fantastic, thanks again

  46. kevin, i brine my whole chicken with salt,sugar soy sauce ,and olive oil. overnight. is it necessary to rinse before smoking?

  47. I prefer to add seasoning to the brine rather than items in the cavity during smoking. I add things like thyme, chipotle chile, garlic powder, onion powder. I find it cooks more evenly without all that stuff in the cavity.

    1. I definitely agree on adding flavor to the brine. I disagree on it cooking unevenly with the cavity stuffed. I’ve cooked hundreds of chickens this way with zero issues, and you can’t replicate the flavor integration that comes with stuffing the cavity during smoking. The meat turns out phenomenally juicy and filled with whatever flavors you stuff inside.

  48. I love this recipe. I smoked chickens the first time I used my smoker and didn’t have the greatest results. After that I got online and did some research and found this. OMG so good! I always do two at a time so there is a whole bird left over for smoked chicken salad. My wife and I use some diced apple, chopped salted cashews, diced cucumber with mayo and cream cheese to make the salad with the left over smoked meat. Makes awesome wraps or sandwiches (or if I don’t think I’ll get caught I just grab a spoon!).

  49. I’m about to smoke a chicken for the second time, this will be my first time using this recipe. In other smoking I have done, I found that sugar burns at a low temperature, I wonder if this is why some are saying the skin is tough, although I like an almost crunchy skin, so my question is, should I try the brine without the sugar?

    1. Bruce – you can absolutely try that. Sugar is definitely not necessary in the brine. I’ll be curious to see what you think.

      1. Don’t omit the sugar. Rule of thumb is one-to-one sugar to salt. If you omit the sugar, you will get a very salty tasting bird. The salt keeps the meat moist and the sugar balances the flavor. You rinse off the brine before cooking. There is no sugar left on the skin of the bird to burn.

  50. Just made this chicken again today for the third time! This is the best recipe I’ve found for my smoker by far. We all love it! It is easy, inexpensive, and absolutely delicious. So glad I found this recipe!

  51. Finally got my smoker!! Went to Giant and they had oven roasters on sale, buy one get one free! Going to brine for 12-18 hrs. Tomorrow will use my smoker!! Are these oven roasters good for smoking, or do you usually use the smaller ones?

  52. I cook whole chickens on a akorn kamodo grill, it never takes more than 1 and a hour and a half from the time I set it on the grill to when internal temp reachs 165 degrees.I place them on a can holder stand that takes a 12oz can filled with hot water.I keep grill temp at 300 degrees by the gauge on the lid.they always turn out good.

  53. I am getting a weber smokey mountain 181/2″ charcoal smoker! This looks like a great recipe for 1st time use. Figured I would do 2… Does outside temperature make much difference in cooking time. Also, if you need to add coals do you put them in chimney starter 1st or right out the bag?

    1. Hey Shawn – chicken is the perfect first recipe to try! First I should mention, before you cook on it, wipe down the interior of it – all of the black – not the grates – with vegetable oil and burn it out with some charcoal and wood for a few hours. This will burn off all the impurities, the “stuff” they used to construct your smoker. THEN it’s ready for use.
      And yes, the outside temperature will effect the WSM. You’ll need to mess with the vents to keep it at your preferred temp – around 250 or so. And you can just add black charcoal to the already lit charcoal in the WSM. No need to prelight it. You’ll love using it – let me know how it goes!

  54. A great, simple recipe. Thanks so much. This was my first smoke in a new Vision Kamodo grill. I brined a 5 lb chicken for about 3 hours, then rinsed and stuffed, and placed (still well chilled) in the kamodo. I had a lot of trouble getting the temperature below 300 degrees, so ended up smoking for 3 hours, mostly at 290 or so, and dropping to maybe 250 at the end of 3 hours. I figured the higher temp would cook the bird quicker and pulled it out at 3 hours – it was perfect! The skin was not tough as some reported, but just a tad crispy, breast meat was moist and tasty and so was the dark meat.
    Thanks for helping this first-timer succeed!

  55. I just got my smoker about a month ago, and this is the first time I have done poultry in it. What amazing results! Your instructions were super easy to follow. I brined the birds from 6-10am this morning, rinsed them, stuffed them, and by the time my Bradley smoker was heated up, it was 11:00am. By 2:30, they were done and up to an internal temp of 170F. 2 birds, about 5 lbs each. The flavour is perfect! Intense, but not overbearing and not too salty! I am surprised by how tough the skin is, though. Does all poultry do this in a smoker? Like I said, this was my first “fowl” attempt, and I’m glad I didn’t foul it up!

    Great website! I’ll be back to visit, for sure!

  56. This year I have learned to Smoke Brisket Smoke Pork Butt. But hands down This chicken has just a ton of flavor and smoke and I like smoke. My wife is from Mexico and we had Mexican tacos with the smoked chicken and wow. I followed your recipe but did 2 chickens about 2 months ago halved them and vacuumed sealed with the chicken juices. They are fabulous. I am brining two more tomorrow on Halloween and Saturday they go on the smoker thanks

  57. Just finished dinner having smoked this for the first time on my gas grill. What can I say. Awesome tasting chicken. Followed the recipe exactly, 4 1/2 hours for a 5lb bird. My son has requested the leftovers for his school lunch tomorrow. Will be doing this again and looking to do a lot more. Thank you.

  58. Absolutely amazing. Best chicken I’ve ever cooked. 3.5 hrs for 2 4lb birds was perfect. Followed everything else to a T. This one is a must eat

  59. We smoked a whole chicken and the dark meat was so tough we couldn’t eat it. The breast was awesome. What did we do wrong. We did not brine the chicken first.

    1. That’s surprising! Usually it’s the breast meat that dries out, not the dark. Only thing I can think of is maybe the legs were closer to the heat than the breasts? Not sure what else could have gone wrong…