Smoked chicken is delicious and addicting. However, you have to smoke it for the right length of time.
If you don’t, the chicken will end up dry and tough. That’s why you should smoke chicken at 250°F for 1 hour and 45 minutes to 5 hours and 20 minutes, depending on its size.
- Is It Better to Smoke a Whole Chicken at 225 or 250?
- What Size Chicken to Smoke?
- How Do You Keep Smoked Chicken Moist
- How Do You Crisp Chicken in a Smoker
- What’s the Best Wood for Smoking Chicken?
- When Is Smoked Chicken Done?
- How Long to Smoke a Whole Chicken at 250
- Final Thoughts
Is It Better to Smoke a Whole Chicken at 225 or 250?
It depends on who you ask. Smoking temperatures will always be widely debated in the BBQ world. However, experts can agree the best temperatures for smoking chicken fall between 225°F and 250°F.
If you smoke it at 250°F, the chicken will cook low and slow, resulting in tender, juicy meat. In contrast, if you smoke the chicken at 275°F, it will still be tender and juicy. But it will also cook much faster.
What Size Chicken to Smoke?
Determining the best size chicken to smoke depends on several factors. The type of smoker and how many people you intend to serve determines what size chicken you buy.
You can buy a smaller chicken if you are only feeding a small group of people. However, if you intend to feed a large crowd, you will need a larger bird.
It’s best to buy a medium-sized bird. I do not recommend smoking a large whole chicken. There’s a greater chance that the outside of the chicken will cook before the interior, leaving you with tough, dry meat.
You can cook 2-3 smaller birds if you are feeding a large crowd. The chickens will finish cooking around the same time, and the meat will be tender and juicy.
How Do You Keep Smoked Chicken Moist
Brine the chicken to keep it moist. You can wet brine or dry brine your chicken.
To wet brine chicken, submerge your chicken in a solution of salt, sugar, and water. You can add garlic, rosemary, thyme, lemon, and peppercorns to the brine.
You can even boil the brine to make it more concentrated. However, do not add the chicken to the hot brine. The brine will start to cook the chicken, which could pose a food safety risk.
Let the brine cool down completely before you add the chicken. Alternatively, you can add ice cubes and cold water to the brine to speed up the cooling process.
Once you add the chicken to the brine, place it into the refrigerator and let it sit for 3-4 hours. Remember to rinse the chicken with cold water to remove some of the salt before you season it.
In contrast, you can also dry brine the chicken. Dry brining chicken is much easier than wet brining. Combine salt, sugar, and spices like paprika.
Coat the chicken with olive oil and add the dry rub. Massage the dry rub all over the chicken and place it on a wire rack set over a baking sheet.
Place the chicken into the fridge uncovered. Let it brine for 8 hours or overnight.
How Do You Crisp Chicken in a Smoker
Everyone loves crispy chicken skin. Unfortunately, since the chicken is being cooked at a low temperature, you probably won’t get crispy skin.
However, you can increase the smoker’s temperature to 350°F during the last portion of the cooking time to crisp up the skin.
Alternatively, you can also broil the chicken. Simply place the chicken onto a baking sheet.
Place the smoked chicken in the oven. Broil it for 1-2 minutes until the skin is crisp.
Once you place it in the broiler, do not walk away from the chicken. The chicken can burn easily.
What’s the Best Wood for Smoking Chicken?
Every wood is not compatible with chicken. Chicken has a mild flavor.
Woods with a strong flavor, such as mesquite, can overpower the flavor of the chicken. Applewood is a great pairing for chicken. It imparts a mild fruity flavor that enhances the flavor of the meat.
You can also use cherry or maple wood. These woods will also give the chicken a subtle sweet flavor.
You can also use hickory wood to smoke chicken. It will give the chicken a robust BBQ flavor.
When Is Smoked Chicken Done?
Smoke chicken is finished cooking when it has a temperature of 165°F. However, you can smoke the chicken until it has a temperature of 160°F. The chicken’s internal temperature will rise to 165°F until it rests.
Use a separate smoker thermometer to measure the chicken’s temperature. Although your smoker has a built-in thermometer, it does not measure the chicken’s internal temperature. It only measures the ambient temperature of the smoker.
How Long to Smoke a Whole Chicken at 250
How long to smoke a whole chicken depends on the size of the chicken. On average, it takes about 35-40 minutes per pound to smoke chicken at 250°F.
However, you should always go by the temperature, not the cooking time. The cooking time can be unreliable, but the cooking time is reliable and will let you know when to remove the meat from the smoker.
How Long to Smoke a 3-Pound Chicken at 250
A 3-pound chicken will be smoked in an hour and 45 minutes to 2 hours. Remember, the chicken may take less time to cook, so monitor its temperature closely.
How Long to Smoke a 4 Pound Chicken at 250
It takes about 2 hours and 20 minutes to 2 hours and 40 minutes to smoke a 4-pound chicken. Check the chicken temperature about halfway through the smoking process and remove it from the smoker once it reaches the correct temperature.
How Long to Smoke a 5 Pound Chicken at 250
The chicken’s size determines how long it takes to smoke. A 5-pound chicken will take 3-3 hours and 15 minutes hours to smoke.
How Long to Smoke a 6 Pound Chicken at 250
A 6-pound chicken takes about 3 1/2 hours to 4 hours to cook at 250°F. However, check the chicken’s temperature halfway through the cooking process to ensure it does not overcook.
How Long to Smoke a 8 Pound Chicken at 250
It takes 4 1/2 hours to 5 hours and 20 minutes to smoke a chicken at 250°F. Remember, the timing can be fickle, so measure the bird’s internal temperature before removing it from the smoker.
Smoked chicken is incredibly delicious, especially when you know how long to smoke it.
I have been smoking and grilling meat from an early age and enjoy sharing my knowledge and expertise through the hundreds of articles I have written about BBQ. I hope to make everyone’s BBQ journey that little bit easier.