Ready to cook a super juicy chicken? This whole smoked chicken recipe is the best way! This recipe includes a dry brined chicken rubbed with a homemade spice rub and smoked to perfection at a low temperature.

I truly believe that a whole smoked chicken is one of life’s simple pleasures! My recipe for a perfect smoked chicken? A dry brine, a savory homemade spice rub, and plenty of time on the smoker at a nice low temperature.

an overhead photo of smoked chicken pieces on a plate, coated with barbecue sauce

Consider this recipe a “choose your own adventure.” I will tell you exactly what I did, but I’ll also give you plenty of options if you’d like to switch things up.

For this recipe, I used a larger bird, but it is important to be aware of the size of your chicken! They can range anywhere from 3 to 6 pounds. Mine was big, a little bit over a 5 pound chicken.

The size of the chicken will impact your cooking time, so remember to factor that in! The best way to know if your chicken is done will be to use a digital meat thermometer. 

a photo of a piece of smoked chicken breast

Preparing your Smoker 

If you are able to add a water pan to your smoker, I absolutely recommend doing so. When I use my charcoal smoker, I fill my water pan with chicken broth or chicken stock.

Of course, you can use your pellet grill or electric smoker for this recipe! I’ve used both my traditional bullet smoker and my Big Green Egg.

a photo of a raw chicken being dry brined

Dry Brine vs. Wet Brine

This recipe calls for a dry brine, which involves rubbing the chicken with salt then allowing it to rest for several hours before preparing it for the smoker. 

You are absolutely able to use a wet brine instead. My recipe for wet brining a whole chicken is: 1 gallon warm water, 3/4 cup kosher salt, 2/3 cup sugar and 2 tablespoons whole peppercorns. You can also add fresh herbs. Add all of the ingredients to a large stockpot and stir vigorously until the salt and sugar is dissolved.

Allow the solution to rest until it reaches room temperature, then submerge the chicken. Allow the chicken to rest in the brine in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, up to overnight.

Make sure you pat the chicken dry with paper towels before applying the spice rub. 

a close up photo of a chicken on a smoker being basted with bbq sauce

​Recipe Substitutions:

Feel free to use your favorite prepared chicken rub instead of the homemade dry rub listed below! 

I used apple wood, but feel free to use hickory wood for a stronger smoke flavor. I think the best wood for chicken adds a light, sweet smoky flavor. 

If you would like to wet brine the chicken, skip the step of rubbing it with salt and allowing it to rest. Instead 

Recipe Additions:

Spicy: Add a pinch of cayenne pepper to the spice rub. 

Kid-Friendly: Omit the chili powder.

You are more than welcome to use your barbecue sauce for this recipe.

a photo of smoked chicken pieces on a white plate

How to get Crispy Chicken Skin

The flavor in a smoked chicken is unbeatable, but it is truly difficult to achieve crispy skin when you’re cooking at a lower temperature. When cooked at a lower temperature, you will have moist chicken but rubbery skin! A higher temperature will be needed to crisp the skin.

If crispy skin is important to you, pull your chicken 5-10 degrees early and sear it on the grill over hot, direct heat for 1-2 minutes per side, OR broil the chicken in your oven for 1-2 minutes per side. Watch carefully to make sure the skin does not burn! 

Other Smoker Recipes on Blackberry Babe: Easy Butter Smoked Shrimp | Smoked Chicken Drumsticks | Smoked Tri Tip Roast

a photo of a whole chicken on a smoker with bbq sauce

Serving Suggestions:

I think this whole chicken recipe is wonderful when served with coleslaw, smoked corn on the cob, Smoked Mac and Cheese or Smoked Hasselback Potatoes.

Add a nice green salad and you have a full meal!

a photo of a raw whole chicken being rubbed with a spice rub

Storing Leftover Chicken: 

Store leftover smoked chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Rewarm in the air fryer at 330 degrees Fahrenheit for 3-4 minutes. Or, cover with foil and gently reheat in the oven to keep it nice and moist. 

I like to use leftover smoked chicken on top of salad, in quesadillas, on sandwiches or chicken sliders. 

a close up photo of smoked chicken pieces on a plate

The Juiciest Smoked Chicken Recipe

Yield: Serves 4-5
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 3 hours
Additional Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 5 hours 15 minutes

Ready to cook a super juicy chicken? This whole smoked chicken recipe is the best way! This recipe includes a dry brined chicken rubbed with a homemade spice rub and smoked to perfection at a low temperature.


For the spice rub:

  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon lemon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon dry mustard
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder


  1. Soak your wood chunks to prepare them to be added to the charcoal.
  2. Unpack the chicken and clean the cavity, remove all giblets and the neck, if included.
  3. Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel and place on a rimmed tray
  4. Brush the olive oil on the chicken to coat it on all sides.
  5. Dry Brine: Sprinkle salt over the chicken to coat. 
  6. Place the lemon pieces in the cavity and use kitchen twine to truss the legs together.
  7. Place in the fridge, uncovered for a minimum of 2 hours.
  8. Prepare the spice rub: In a small bowl, combine all the seasonings.
  9. Do not wipe off the salt. Rub the seasonings on outside of the chicken. If you have leftover seasoning, rub it in the inner cavity as well. Allow the chicken to rest while the smoker is prepared.
  10. Prepare your smoker: Prepare your smoker to 250 degrees Fahrenheit, adding the soaked wood chips or pellets and a water pan if applicable. If using a grill, prepare for indirect cooking.
  11. Smoke the chicken: Place the chicken breast side up directly on the smoker grate. Cook for two hours or until the internal temperature of the chicken has reached 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
  12. When the chicken reaches 140 degrees Fahrenheit, brush the barbecue sauce on the chicken.
  13. Close the lid and smoke for approximately another hour or until the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit in the thickest part of the breast using an instant read digital thermometer. The internal temperature in the legs and thighs will be higher. That's okay!
  14. Rest and Serve: Take off the grill and let the chicken rest for at least 15 minutes before carving.
  15. Serve warm or at room temperature. Enjoy!

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Nutrition Information
Yield 5 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 491Total Fat 26gSaturated Fat 6gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 16gCholesterol 222mgSodium 1911mgCarbohydrates 20gFiber 3gSugar 14gProtein 45g

The nutrition for this recipe is calculated by an app and may be incorrect.

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