How to Cook a Perfect Smoked Whole Chicken on a Traeger Grill

June 11, 2024 2 min read

How to Cook a Perfect Smoked Whole Chicken on a Traeger Grill

Whole smoked chicken is a culinary delight that combines rich, smoky flavors with the tender juiciness of perfectly cooked poultry. This guide will walk you through the steps to create a mouthwatering smoked chicken that will impress your friends and family.

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole chicken (4-5 lbs)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Fresh herbs (thyme, rosemary)
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 apple, quartered
  • Wood chips (hickory or applewood)

Instructions:

  1. Preparation:

    • Rinse the chicken thoroughly and pat dry with paper towels.
    • Rub the chicken inside and out with olive oil.
  2. Seasoning:

    • In a small bowl, mix salt, black pepper, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne pepper.
    • Rub this spice mixture generously all over the chicken, ensuring it gets into every nook and cranny.
  3. Stuffing:

    • Stuff the cavity of the chicken with fresh herbs, lemon halves, smashed garlic cloves, and apple quarters. This will infuse the meat with additional flavors.
  4. Smoking Setup:

    • Preheat your smoker to 225°F (107°C).
    • Soak the wood chips in water for at least 30 minutes before adding them to the smoker. This will help them smolder and produce a rich smoke.
  5. Smoking:

    • Place the chicken on the smoker grate, breast side up.
    • Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh, making sure it doesn't touch the bone.
    • Smoke the chicken until the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C). This usually takes about 3-4 hours, but the exact time will depend on the size of your chicken and the consistency of your smoker's temperature.
  6. Resting and Serving:

    • Once the chicken reaches the desired temperature, remove it from the smoker and let it rest for 15-20 minutes before carving. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, ensuring every bite is moist and flavorful.
    • Serve the smoked chicken with your favorite sides, such as roasted vegetables, coleslaw, or a fresh green salad.

Tips for Success:

  • Wood Choice: Different woods impart different flavors. Hickory provides a strong, smoky taste, while applewood gives a milder, sweet flavor. Experiment with different woods to find your favorite.
  • Maintaining Moisture: To prevent the chicken from drying out, you can place a water pan in the smoker. This helps maintain a humid environment, keeping the meat juicy.
  • Flavor Enhancements: For an extra layer of flavor, consider brining the chicken for 12-24 hours before smoking. This process involves soaking the bird in a saltwater solution, which helps tenderize the meat and infuse it with flavor.

Smoking a whole chicken is a rewarding endeavor that results in a flavorful and succulent dish. With these steps and tips, you'll be well on your way to creating a smoked chicken masterpiece that will have everyone coming back for seconds.


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