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Smoked whole chicken

Whole Smoked Chicken Recipe


Whole smoked chicken, following the method presented by


  • 1 whole chicken, 4-5 lb
  • 34 Tbsp olive oil
  • 34 Tbsp poultry rub or BBQ rub of your choice (if your rub isn’t salted, supplement with kosher salt)
  • 1 small onion, quartered
  • 1 head garlic, halved
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme

Ingredients for smoked chicken


  • Pre-heat your smoker to between 225 and 250°F (107 and 121°C). Use whatever wood you like for smoke. We used Billows BBQ Control Fan and Smoke X2 to set our temperature just where we wanted it and decided on 240°F (116°C).
  • Pat your chicken dry. Rub it all over with olive oil and season it liberally both outside and inside with the rub. (Do this step 4–12 hours in advance if you have time.)
  • Put the thyme, fresh garlic, and quartered onion in the cavity of the bird. Truss the bird’s legs if you like, but we found it mostly helped with how the bird looks, not how it cooks.

Stuffing the seasoned chicken with garlic

  • Place the chicken on the rack of your smoker. Insert a probe into the deepest part of the chicken breast and set the high-temp alarm for that probe channel to 157°F (69°C).

probing the chicken

  • Close your smoker and smoke the chicken for 1 hour (use a timer like TimeStick® to keep track of the time).
  • When the time expires, increase the heat of your smoker to 375°F (191°C). If using Billows, simply turn the target temperature up on your connected Smoke X2.
  • Continue to cook the chicken until its high-temp alarm sounds. Verify the internal temperature with your Thermapen ONE. We found a spot in the breast that was at least 12°F colder than our target, so we moved the probe to the cold spot and kept cooking.

temping the chicken

  • If you find no temperature lower than 157°F (69°C), remove the chicken from the smoker and allow it to rest for 10–15 minutes before carving and serving.
  • Plate and serve with whatever sides you like. Enjoy!

A plate of smoked chicken with sides