This is a simple Dry Brined Smoked Chicken that is packed with flavors! With a little bit of prep, and patience, your family will love the phenomenal flavors.
We whipped out the apple wood for this smoked chicken and it was the perfect match. Imagine when you take the chicken off of the smoker and bring it in and now your house smells EXACTLY like your favorite BBQ restaurant. That is how your house is going to smell. This is when you go “I nailed it” and want to invite everyone over to experience this chicken.
🍽️ Why this Works
Simple, Simple, Simple – It feels like it’s almost not ever fair how easy this recipe is and yet how true restaurant chef quality it turns into. This is 5-7 minute prep, waiting for the brine to do its job, and then you will smoke it, which is all hands off. The end result is going to blow you away.
Meal Prep Friendly – Since you are making this days ahead of time, it is definitely a meal prep recipe. The prep is only a couple of minutes but that does mean the day that you are ready to smoke, you take it out of the refrigerator and put on the smoker. This is perfect for days when you are having a cookout but won’t be home all day.
BBQ Joint Quality – Frankly, this simply tastes like it was fired over some red hot coals at a bbq joint outdoors. You know the ones where you can smell it blocks away. Even second day, it still tasted *that* good.
Chicken | I usually pick up whole chickens when I can find them for sale at the local grocery store or I am willing to brave the crowds of Costco. Make sure to empty out the necks and organs before dry brining.
Dry Brine | This is key to pull out some surface level moisture. It will leave you with a nice, crispy skin.
Smoker | We used our Big Green Egg but the method works perfectly on a Traeger, Masterbuilt, CampChef, Pit Boss and Weber Kettle.
Sheet Pan and Grate |
Step One: Remove the bag of the neck, livers and gizzards from the cavity of the chicken. Rinse off the bird and pat it dry. Truss the legs together with butcher’s twine and secure the wings.
Step Two: Prepare the dry brine by combining the ingredients together in a small bowl and mixing well with a whisk.
Step Three: Coat the chicken with the dry rub. The salt will help draw the moisture out of the skin. Truss the bird to keep it nice and tidy. Follow the images below for the best way to truss a whole chicken.
Step Four: Place the chicken on a small sheet pan with a rack installed to list the chicken off the bottom, and let it rest in the refrigerator overnight uncovered. You want the air flow all around the bird.
Note: Let the chicken cure for up to 2-3 days. Just make sure the fridge is free of strong smelling food, as the uncovered chicken may take on those flavors. When you remove it, you’ll notice the skin looks a bit dry and crinkly – that is fantastic, as it means you’ll have a crispy skin after it is smoked!
Step Five: When you are ready to smoke the next day, set up the grill for indirect heat and bring the temperature to 250 degrees. Add your wood chips. I chose applewood for a nice, mild flavor profile.
Step Six: Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and lightly rub it with a tablespoon of olive oil. This will help the skin achieve that awesome crispiness.
Step Seven: Add the chicken to the smoker. Plan on it taking between 40-50 minutes per pound. Remove the chicken when the temperature of the breast reaches 165 degrees.
Let rest for 10 minutes and serve.
❗ Expert Tips
Let the dry brine do its job! At a minimum, let the chicken cure for 24 hours. If you can let it go for two or three days, the better. For ours, we let it go for 72 hours before we put it on the smoker.
Dry Brine Substitutions | Add in additional seasonings and herbs to the dry brine. Fennel, coriander, sage and rosemary are excellent options.
Don’t baste the chicken. I have always heard that you should baste your chicken for the best juicy results, but that is not the case, especially for the smoked bird. You just spent a couple of days removing the moisture from the skin to allow it to crisp up, so why would you add it back?
Usually, a dry chicken is the result of over-cooking. Use a wireless meat thermometer to closely monitor the temperature. For optimal results, remove the bird about 3-5 degrees below 165 and bring it inside to the counter. Tent it with foil and it will continue to heat those last few degrees as it rests. This also allows all the juices to stay inside the bird rather than immediately cutting it and the juices end up on the plate.
It will take about 45 minutes per pound at 250 degrees.
No! Please don’t. Also, try to ignore the smoker as much as possible. You don’t want to bring the temperature down or cause it to flame up. If you have a 2 pound bird, check it at one hour and 15 minutes and see how it is going.
That is part of the slow smoke process. Doing a dry brine is your best chance of getting a smoked and crispy skin.
That can happen but the easiest solution is to shred the chicken and make into pulled chicken sandwiches, smoked chicken nachos, smoked chicken enchiladas, smoked chicken macaroni and cheese and more.
Absolutely, chicken pieces can be brined but will just need additional time. Make the brine and put the frozen chicken pieces in the seasoned water. Place in the refrigerator and check on it every 30 minutes to see if it is defrosted. The longest it should take is about 90 minutes.
Whole chickens don’t work as well as it will take too long which means it will take too much of the brine in causing it to change texture and flavor.
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Dry Brined Smoked Whole Chicken
- 1 Whole Chicken
- 2 ¾ tbsp Kosher Salt
- 1 ½ tbsp Pepper Coarse Ground
- 2 tsp Greek Seasoning
- 2 tbsp Olive Oil
- Combine the ingredients of the dry brine and reserve ⅛ of a cup to use ON TOP of the chicken.
Preparing the Whole Chicken
- Prepare a sheet pan with a cooling rack.
- Remove the chicken from the wrapping, remove the livers and gizzards and rinse. Dry with paper towels. Place on the prepared sheet pan.
- Pull skin up off of the chicken with your hands/fingers to loosen it all up. Go as deep as you can and include the legs.
- Using the dry brine (remember to save the ⅛ cup for on top) rub the brine mixture all over inside. Using the RESERVED ⅛ cup, rub on top and bottom of the bird.
- Leave uncovered and place in the refrigerator for 24-72 hours.
Smoking the Whole Chicken
- When you are ready to smoke the next day, set up the grill for indirect heat and bring the temperature to 250 degrees. Add your wood chips. I chose applewood for a nice, mild flavor profile.
- Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and lightly rub it with a tablespoon of olive oil. This will help the skin achieve that awesome crispiness.
- Add the chicken to the smoker. Plan on it taking between 40-50 minutes per pound. Remove the chicken when the temperature of the breast reaches 165 degrees.
- Let rest for 10 minutes and serve.