Well seasoned for a reason, this smoked chicken recipe turns a whole chicken into a mouthwatering meal. If you're cooking for more than two persons, you should probably smoke two birds.
This recipe for smoked whole chicken is easy to prepare, and is started the day before it's cooked. After the chicken is seasoned with the rub, it goes in the refrigerator for an overnight rest, allowing the spice flavors to sink in deep.
Add all of the dry rub ingredients to a plastic bag and work them together. Store the rub in a tightly sealed container.
Smoking a Whole Chicken
Season the chicken generously with the rub, inside and out. Carefully peel the skin off the breast the thigh areas. Work some of the rub directly into the meat. Re-position the skin and coat it with the rub too. Put the bird in a freezer bag and refrigerate it overnight. Give it a rub every now and then if it makes you feel better! It sure won't hurt anything!
Bring your smoker up to temperature. High temperature. 275-300°F. You're not slow smoking here, your cooking with smoke...hot smoking. Chicken and other poultry respond well to this style of cooking. The skin gets crispy and the meat stays moist...as long as you don't overcook the breast meat, that is.
Place the chicken in the smoker breast side up, then add the smoker wood. One good handful of chips, soaked in water then wrapped in foil will do. If using chunks, a fist size piece will do the trick.
Smoke the chicken for 1-1/2 to 2 hours, or until the leg quarter separates from the body easily. Correct done temperature for chicken is 165°F for the breast, 180°F the thighs. Remove the smoked chicken from the smoker at 5 degrees below that point (breast at 160°F) and place it on the counter under a foil tent to finish cooking.
The outside of the chicken is hotter than the inside when it comes out of the smoker. As it rests, the exterior heat travels inward, and finishes the cooking job.
This whole smoked chicken recipe tastes good as-is, or you can whip up a batch of Kansas City style barbecue sauce to serve alongside. What's really good is to shred the meat and use it for sandwiches. A smoked chicken sandwich makes a great little snack, hot or cold!