How To Smoke A Whole Chicken On A Pellet Grill? [Guide]

A smoked chicken is a juicy, delicious, and affordable meal you can enjoy with friends and family. Furthermore, smoking a whole chicken is an excellent way to cook a mouth-melting chicken without struggling.

Preparing a delicious chicken is a fun process that should take no more than six hours to complete. Normally, the process entails four critical steps, which include the following;

  • Preheating the smoker to 225 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Seasoning the whole chicken well for additional flavor
  • Smoking the chicken
  • Slice and serve

When smoking a whole chicken, remember that seasoning and marinating are critical to enriching its flavors. Therefore, you should treat the seasoning step with the attention it deserves for the best results.

smoked chicken

How To Smoke A Whole Chicken On A Pellet Grill

Ensure that you have all the necessary ingredients and equipment readily available to avoid experiencing any issues when cooking your whole chicken on a pellet grill. Here is a detailed guide on cooking the best smoked whole chicken on a pellet grill.

Prepare The Whole Chicken For Smoking

When preparing a whole chicken for smoking, there are a few methods you can use. Some of these methods include the following;

Leave it Whole

Most people love cooking their chicken whole in the oven or pellet grill. All you need is to season and marinade the chicken well to infuse it with incredible flavors. You can use your favorite marinades and seasoning as long as they complement the intrinsic taste of the chicken.

Beer Can Chicken

Another popular method of preparing a whole chicken for the smoker is to embrace the beer can chicken. The technique entails inserting a half-full can of beer into the cavity of the chicken. You have to smoke the chicken with the beer can upright.

The idea behind using the half-full beer can is that it helps keep the chicken moist and delicious. However, the whole issue is debatable.

How To Smoke A Whole Chicken On A Pellet Grill

The four steps below can be helpful whenever you want to cook a whole chicken on a pellet grill.

1. Set Your Pellet Grill At 250 Degrees F

Start by firing up your smoker to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Additionally, ensure that you pick the best pellets for an incredible smoky flavor. The pecan or oak pellets are good for adding an extra layer of flavor to the chicken. Pick the wood pellets that will not overpower the intrinsic taste of the chicken.

2. Spatchcock Your Chicken

If you have prepared a chicken before, you will find this process easy, even though the process seems challenging. A sharp kitchen knife and poultry shears will help execute this process successfully.

Lay the chicken with the backbone facing upward, and then use the shears to cut along the side of the backbone.

3. Season The Chicken

After the spatchcocking, the next step is probably the second most critical step of cooking a delicious chicken. Use your favorite seasoning to impart an amazing flavor to the chicken. The best practice to get the most from the seasoning process is to start with olive oil. Olive oil acts as a binder, ensuring that your rub sticks well on the chicken.

Additionally, when seasoning the chicken, ensure that every part of the chicken is well-seasoned. Pay attention to places underneath the wings and both sides of the legs.

4. Smoke

Smoking is the most critical step in cooking a delicious chicken. Put the well-seasoned chicken on your pellet grill. Combine butter and a little more barbecue rub on a small pot and after about half an hour of cooking, baste your chicken with the melted butter every 15 minutes.

5. Make The Chicken Crispy

After smoking the chicken for an hour, its internal temperature should be about 140 degrees F. Increase the temperature to about 325 degrees for the creation of crispy skin. When cooking a whole chicken, it is prudent to insert the meat thermometer on the thickest part of the chicken to ensure that you get the most accurate readings.

6. Let The Chicken Rest

The last step is to let the chicken rest for about 15 minutes before slicing and serving. The resting period is important in preparing a delicious chicken as it allows for the reabsorption and redistribution of juices.

Tips For Smoking Whole Chicken On Pellet Grill

Smoked chicken can be pretty pleasing if you cook it well. Always remember that steps that may appear minor can make a huge difference. Here are some essential tips to follow when cooking a delicious and juicy smoked chicken.

1. Pat Your Chicken

Patting your chicken dry before you start the cooking process is critical, especially if you like your chicken crispy. Use a dry clean kitchen towel to remove any moisture on the chicken.

2. Simple Seasoning

While seasoning is critical in enhancing the flavor of the chicken, you need to keep it simple for the best results. Using excessive herbs can easily overpower the chicken’s intrinsic flavor, which means that the chicken will not turn out as flavorful as you would want.

A little garlic, pepper, salt, and butter/oil can help you cook a delicious and juicy chicken. However, you can introduce your favorite seasoning as long as you are certain it will not overcome the chicken’s natural flavor. In addition to the herbs, you also need a complementing smoky flavor.

Fruit woods are the best for smoking chicken because they complement the intrinsic flavor of the chicken.

3. Slow And Low

To prepare a mouth-melting chicken, cook it low and slow. In other words, start by setting your pellet smoker to 225-250 degrees F.

Preheating your smoker is necessary for even cooking. If you want crispy chicken skin, you can increase the temperature.

4. Avoid Peaking

Some people use peaking as a method of testing the doneness of the meat. However, peaking your chicken is not the best practice as it will lead to escaping the juices. The best way to check for the doneness of the chicken is to trust the thermometer.

5. Last Blast

To complete the grilling process, blast the chicken within 15 minutes to your desired doneness. Again, after blasting, you will need to increase the temperature of your smoker to 325 degrees F to form crispy skin.

6. Do Not Overcook

When cooking a whole chicken on a pellet grill, you need to be careful not to overcook it as this will greatly lower its flavor. One of the best ways to ensure you cook your chicken appropriately is to deploy a functional meat thermometer during the entire cooking period.

big chicken pellet grill

How Long To Smoke A Whole Chicken On Pellet Grill

The time to cook a whole chicken on a pellet grill depends on various factors, including the cooking temperature. When cooking a whole chicken, you need to ensure that the internal temperature of the chicken is 165 degrees F.

The approximate duration it will take to smoke a chicken is 30-45 minutes per pound. Smoking the whole chicken at 225 degrees F will take longer than smoking it at 250 degrees. Even if you are in a hurry, always remember that low and slow is the best technique for cooking a delicious chicken.

Final Thoughts

Cooking a delicious, whole chicken on a pellet grill is easy if you have all the necessary ingredients and equipment. Additionally, you must ensure that you use the seasoning correctly for the best results. Lastly, rest your chicken before slicing for a juicy and delicious dish.