Smoked Whole Chickens

Easy, familiar, and delicious. A good smoked chicken recipe can support a dinner party or tailgate any day of the week, any week of the year. Our friends at Traeger lend us their brine and smoke combination that’ll get you through a culinary pinch when the party needs a tender snack to share. Whatever your smoking method and equipment, perfect your personal smoked chicken and never fear menu-planning again.

This recipe is available from Traeger's extensive list.


Prep Time: 10 mins

Cook time: 2.5 hrs

Serves: 6-8

Hardwood: Mesquite



1/2 cup kosher salt

1 cup brown sugar

1 gallon water


Whole Chicken:

  • 1 lemon  

  • 1 medium yellow onion

  • 3 whole garlic cloves

  • 4-5 sprigs thyme


To brine the chicken, dissolve the kosher salt and brown sugar in 1 gallon of water. Once dissolved, place the chicken in the brine and refrigerate overnight. Make sure chicken is fully submerged weighing it down if necessary.

When ready to cook, build a healthy fire, then allow the fire to die into a manageable coal bed. With a whole chicken, take care that flames are not in danger of burning the chicken before it is allowed to cook through. If using a Traeger, start the grill on smoke with the lid open until fire is established (4-5 minutes). Set the temperature to 225 degrees F and preheat, lid closed 10-15 minutes.

While the grill is preheating, remove the chicken from the brine and pat dry. Rub with the minced garlic and Traeger Big Game Rub.

Next, stuff the cavity with lemon, onion, garlic and thyme. Tie the legs together.

Place chicken directly on the grill grate and smoke for 2-1/2 to 3 hours or until an instant read thermometer reads 160 degrees F when inserted into the thickest part of the breast.

The finished internal temperature will rise to 165 degrees F in the breast as the chicken rests. Enjoy!

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1 comment

  • jesse

    vertical roasters are the best, but after using them for nearly 20 years I realized the BEST way is upside down! crispier thighs, the appendages naturally lay away for even cooking and more skin surface area for crisping, the breasts self baste, easier to carve, and it looks crazy cool, mind blown.

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