Easy Electric Smoker Whole Chicken

One of the easiest meats to smoke on a pellet grill, our Electric Smoker Whole Chicken creates a tender and juicy meal on a budget!

The wood fired flavor makes this whole smoked chicken recipe super delicious!

Three fully cooked whole chickens on the bottom rack of an electric smoker

Electric Smoker Whole Chicken Recipe

A whole chicken is often one of the cheapest pieces of meat at the grocery store and gives us so many meal options. Smoking a whole chicken is a great centerpiece of an easy family meal.

Cooking low and slow creates the most juicy and tender chicken that we’ve eaten! And there’s no brining or marinating necessary for amazing results.

Simply rinse and season the chicken, set on the pre-heated electric smoker, cook and enjoy. Meat doesn’t get much easier than that.

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My family enjoys cutting the chicken into the pieces of leg, wing, thigh and breast to eat while warm. We like to use leftover chicken shredded in a variety of meals like BBQ Chicken Sliders, Chicken, Bacon Ranch Stromboli, or Almond Chicken Salad.

Close up of a smoked whole chicken in an electric smoker with a temperature probe and red coating of BBQ seasoning

We also love that smoking is one of the healthiest ways to enjoy chicken!

How Long Does It Take To Smoke A Whole Chicken?

A single chicken takes about 3 hours to smoke at 250°F or about 2 hours at 350°F.

Two to three chickens easily fit on my Z Grills Electric Smoker and take about 3 1/2 hours to smoke.

What Temperature Should The Smoker Be?

Set the smoker to a low temperature of 250°F to cook a whole chicken.

Keep the smoker around 250°F the entire time the chicken is being cooked on the electric smoker or pellet grill.

The chicken is done cooking when a probe or digital meat thermometer inserted in a large cut of meat and not touching a bone reads 165°F.

How to Smoke A Whole Chicken On An Electric Smoker

Prepare a whole raw chicken by fully defrosting if necessary, and rinsing inside and outside. If there are giblets or other innards inside a purchased chicken remove before smoking.

Pat the skin dry with a paper towel. Drying the chicken will help more seasoning to stick to the skin.

rinsed and dried whole premium young chicken on a baking sheet

Apply 3 to 4 tablespoons of your favorite seasoning. Use your fingers to cover the skin with seasoning.

Start up electric smoker on smoke setting. Once it’s smoking set to 250°F and bring up to temp.

Evenly space whole chicken directly on a clean smoker rack. Insert probe into a large cut of meat like the thigh or leg without touching the bone. Be sure probe is plugged into the electronic screen so that the temperature is able to be read without opening the lid.

Three whole chickens seasoned on a clean Z Grills smoker grate

Fill smoker with pellets of your choice. Keep the box full while smoking.

Resist the urge to open the lid at all during the cooking process. If you’re looking you’re not cooking.

Cook for 3 to 3 1/2 hours until the probe reads 165°F.

Electronic screen on pellet grill reading 250 temp and 165 temp on the meat probes in the chicken

Open the lid and use a meat fork to transfer cooked chickens onto a clean baking sheet with a rim or another dish that can contain the juices.

Whole chickens cooking on a pellet grill with temperature probes inserted

Allow chicken to rest for 10 – 15 minutes before slicing. This helps the juices to redistribute more evenly and makes the chicken as juicy as possible.

Best Seasoning for Smoking Chicken

A BBQ rub that is red in color with paprika is the best seasoning for a smoked chicken.

Almost any rub will add flavor and taste good on chicken.

Three whole chickens on baking sheets with different seasonings rubbed on like seasoning salt, bbq rub, cajun seasoning and chicken seasoning

Cajun seasoning has become one of our favorite spice mixes and is also wonderful in our Cajun Sausage Pasta.

How to Serve or Cut a Whole Smoked Chicken

My husband like to grab the legs and wings and pull them off to serve. This works well when our family is enjoying a casual meal.

For a bit more formal meal the thigh, legs and wings can also be tugged apart from the chicken to pop the joints and then a sharp knife can cut the rest of the way through.

Flip the chicken over so the flat side is up to slice off the breasts.

Bottom side of a young chicken that laid on the grates during smoking

We couldn’t believe how tender the chicken breast meat is on a smoked chicken. The skin keeps the meat so moist while smoking.

The breasts remind me of soft butter in the consistency. This is seriously the best chicken breast meat with the wood fired flavor that I’ve ever had!

Smoked breast from whole chicken with a pink smoke ring around the edge

Tips & Tricks

  • It only takes a 20 – 40 minutes longer to smoke more than one chicken, so the filling up the smoker saves time and money on wood pellets in the long run.
  • Smoking several items at once is also perfect for meal planning.
  • Allow extra whole chickens to cool for about 30 minutes before cutting or shredding to freeze for later. Avoid putting a lot of hot meat in the freezer so that it can freeze through evenly and safely.
  • Keep the lid shut to keep heat inside and to cook the chicken the fastest.
  • There may be a light pink smoke ring around the edge of the meat. As long as the thick pieces of meat in the center are cooked to 165°F it’s safe to eat.
  • The chicken can cook more quickly (in about 2 hours) at a higher smoker temperature of 350°F, but it may be a little bit less juicy.

More Easy Recipes with Shredded Chicken:

Printable Smoked Chicken Recipe

A whole chicken on a smoker with a probe in the thigh meat

Electric Smoker Whole Chicken

Servings 6 servings
Author: Jennifer
One of the easiest meats to smoke on a pellet grill, our Electric Smoker Whole Chicken creates a tender and juicy meal on a budget!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 40 minutes


  • 4 – 5 pound whole chicken
  • 3 tablespoons bbq seasoning or rub


  • Rinse chicken inside and out and pat dry with a paper towel.
  • Apply your favorite rub over the skin of the entire chicken.
  • Turn smoker on and run through start-up settings. Set to 250°F and bring to temp.
  • Set chicken on clean grates and insert temperature probe into the center of a thick cut of meat. Close lid and cook for 3 to 3 1/2 hours until probe reads 165°F.
  • Remove from heat and allow to rest for 15 minutes before slicing or serving.


  • The chicken can cook more quickly (in about 2 hours) at a higher smoker temperature of 350F, but it may be a little bit less juicy.


Calories: 374kcalCarbohydrates: 5gProtein: 31gFat: 25gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gMonounsaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 122mgSodium: 116mgPotassium: 359mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 423IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 92mgIron: 4mg

Nutritional Disclaimer

“Plowing Through Life” is not a dietitian or nutrition professional. Any nutritional information shared is an estimate and can vary greatly depending on specific products are used. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through an online nutritional calculator of your choice.

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