10 Master Tips for Making the Best and Mouth-Watering Smoked Chicken At Home

cooked chicken on a platter

Do you want to enjoy homemade delicious smoked chicken in this grilling season? Then, it’s time to play with your smoker to smoke your chicken that will make you drool. Once you learn the right way, you can experiment with different brines and seasoning to get unbelievable deliciousness every time.

Smoking and slow cooking enrich your meat with a deep smoky taste and make your chicken from boring to tender, juicy BBQ Chicken (just wow!). Although many factors decide the final taste of your smoked chicken, the wood you use for smoking play a key role in how your smoked meat will taste. So, it is crucial to wisely choose the wood type you use for smoking. Check out this wood buying guide at grillsforbbq to know and get the best wood for smoking chicken.  

Let’s look at the master tips and tricks that help you to smoke chicken like pros.


1. Always Go for Good Quality Chicken

Good quality meat makes a huge difference when it comes to great smoking. It is highly recommended to buy higher quality meat for the best results. The fresh chicken you buy from your local butcher’s shop gives you more tenderness and better flavor than the meat you purchase from a grocery store. 

2. Brine Your Chicken Instead of Marinade

A brine is primarily salt-based, which makes it different from marinade. You can get delicious and juicy results if you allow your lean meat to soak in a seasoned brine for 2 to 3 hours before you are ready to smoke or grill it. This will be tenderizing the chicken and keep it from drying out by increasing moisture absorption while smoking. Ultimately, you end up with the best and mouth-watering results. 

3. Pat Your Chicken Dry for Crisp Skin

After bringing, it is crucial to pat the chicken dry before you smoke it. Otherwise, you may get rubbery skin and a dried-out interior at the end instead of crispy skin (one of the scrumptious parts of smoked chicken). 

I am saying it again, pat your chicken dry and then let it air dry for an hour before you start smoking it. This will allow you to enjoy a bite-through and crisp exterior. 

basted chicken in the pan with broth

4. Spatchcock or Butterfly Your Whole Chicken for Even Cooking

Spatchcocking or butterflying a chicken allows it to lay flat on your pan or smoker, which then translates to even cooking. Moreover, it allows smoke to reach a large surface area as well as ensure even temperature throughout.

You can use a chef knife for spatchcocking your chicken. Then rub the skin with oil and it is ready for seasoning. 

5. Keep Your Seasoning Simple

Chicken is full of natural flavor, so a simple blend of garlic, pepper, salt, and butter or olive oil will do a great job. Don’t over-season your lean meat and use simple and minimal seasoning to complement the chicken.

Lastly, don’t forget to tie the legs together and wings behind the shoulder to maintain its uniform shape and ensure cooking at an even rate. Else, get ready to deal with undone or burnt smoked chicken. 

6. Smoke with the Complementary Type of Wood

The specific wood type you use for smoking imparts a great effect on the flavor profile of your smoked chicken. Chicken is a milder protein, so don’t overpower it with robust wood type. You can use lighter flavor fruit woods like cherry and apple for smoking chicken because they compliment the chicken well. 

We recommend using a blend of fruitwoods (apple, maple, cherry) with a small quantity of hickory for the smoking chicken to get a more complex and delicious smoky flavor.  

7. Set your Smoker Temperature at 225°F for Preheating

Preheat your smoker around 225°F for evenly smoking your chicken. Firstly, we will smoke it at a low temperature to make it delicious and juicy. 

8. Don’t Peak and Rely on Thermometer to Know When It is Done

Do not peak at the chicken and leave it alone on the grill. You can lose heat level and flavor by opening the lid of your smoker. Instead, rely on your thermometer and allow it to cook for 1 hour or 1 hour and a half. So, you can enjoy super smoked meat at the end. 

Pro Tip: Always check the internal temperature to know when the chicken is done. Relying on juice color is a barbecue myth that can spoil your all efforts. 

chicken on a cutting board

9. Toward the End, Heat Blast

When the internal temperature reaches about 140°F, crank up the temperature to 325°F for finishing your chicken with a crispier skin. Then leave it for another 30 minutes and trust your thermometer, not the clock. Switch between low & slow and fast & high cooking to enjoy the taste of both worlds (juicy and tender interior while crisper exterior).  

10. Don’t Overcook Your Bird

Once more, rely on temperature and remove chicken from the smoker when it reads 160°F. Then allow it to rest for a few minutes under the aluminum foil; the temperature will rise five to six degrees to finalize cooking. Don’t skip this final step; otherwise, lose the juicy part, and end up with a rubbery texture. 

Now crave and enjoy the mouth-watering and best-smoked chicken with your favorite side or snack such as grilled salad or smoked eggs!

Bonus Tip: Don’t Make Your Smoked Chicken Soggy with Sauce 

If you want to add BBQ sauce to your chicken, wait until the last few minutes of cooking. Give the skin proper time to crisp up and brush your sauce on at the end of the cooking as a final step. Keep patience, and don’t cover all the flavor of your chicken with the sauce. 

Final Verdict

We hope you are now ready to cook and serve competition-worthy smoked chicken on your next BBQ cookout. Just follow our tips and get ready to surprise yourself and your guests. 

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