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Smoked Whole Roaster Chicken

Smoked Whole Chicken Recipe

Step by step guide for smoked whole chicken- including times, temps, dry rub recipes and pro tips.  
Course Entree
Cuisine American, BBQ, Barbecue
Keyword Dry Brine Smoked Chicken, how to smoke a whole chicken, pellet grill smoked whole chicken, smoked whole chicken, whole roaster chicken on pellet smoker, Whole Smoked Chicken
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Resting Time 15 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 55 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 25kcal
Cost $15.00


  • 1 5-pound whole roaster chicken
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ cup poultry rub (the exact amount will vary based on size of your bird)
  • 4 cloves garlic, lightly smashed
  • ½ red onion, cut into 4 peices
  • ½ lemon, sliced in half to fit inside the chicken cavity


  • Prepare Chicken: Pat dry the bird with a paper towel. Coat with olive oil then season with poultry seasoning both inside the cavity and on the outside. Try to do this at least four hours prior to smoking. The salt in the rub will go through a dry brining process, essentially using osmosis that will add flavor to the skin and help with minimizing rubber skin texture.
  • Preheat Smoker to 225 - 250 degrees Fahrenheit (we use apple wood or other fruit wood).
  • Stuff Chicken: Stuff the cavity of the bird with garlic cloves, onion, and lemon pieces.
  • Tie up the wings and legs using kitchen twine to get them closer the body of the chicken so they don’t dry out.
  • Smoke Chicken: Place the whole roaster chicken on the smoker, breast up. Smoke for one hour at 225 - 250 degrees.
  • Increase Temperature of the Grill: After one hour, increase temperature of the smoker to 350 - 375 degrees F, and continue cooking until the internal temperature of the thickest part of the bird reads between 160 - 165 degrees. This will take at least another hour depending on the size of your bird. Most likely 90 minutes 
  • Remove, and let sit for about 15 minutes, then slice and serve. 



*This can be adapted to whatever smoker you have. But it's quite easy for a pellet smoker as you can control the temperatures quite easily on them.
Use the carcass to make smoked chicken stock, recipe available in our cookbook.
Also consider making this on Sunday and then having chicken for the week for sandwiches and salads. We often cook two; one for our meal that night and the other to incorporate into tacos, enchiladas, and other great dishes.


Calories: 25kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 2mg | Potassium: 62mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 115IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 52mg | Iron: 2mg