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platter of sliced smoked chicken.

Why should I smoke a whole chicken?

Cooking whole chickens is a smart way to save money, because whole chickens are less expensive per pound than purchasing parts and pieces.

Plus, after you smoke the chicken, you can use the bones to make homemade chicken broth.

Homemade Smoked Chicken Broth: After you've picked all the cooked chicken from the bones, place the bones in a pot. Add half an onion, 2 diced celery stalks, 2 diced carrots and a bay leaf. Cover it with water. Add a lid and let it simmer for a couple of hours. Add salt and pepper to taste. Strain the liquid and save it for any recipe that uses chicken stock like my Roasted Butternut Squash Soup.

What’s the best way to smoke chicken

The challenge with smoking chicken is that you want the temperature to be set right so that the meat doesn’t dry out, but you also want the skin to crisp up.

There is nothing worse than rubbery chicken skin or overcooked, dried out chicken breast.

After years and years of smoking whole birds, I have found that the best way to smoke a whole chicken is to cook it at 375F degrees over indirect heat.

With a traditional pellet grill, you don’t get a lot of smoke flavor when you set it to 375F degrees. That’s why the Ninja Woodfire Outdoor Grill is the perfect electric smoker for smoked chicken. It doesn’t matter how high you set the temperature, the smoke box is going to release plenty of woodfire flavor into the grill throughout the cook.

Read my other post to learn how to make smoked chicken on a gas or charcoal grill.


It really doesn’t get much simpler when it comes to ingredients.

smoked whole chicken ingredients: whole chicken, poultry rub.
  • Whole Chicken: You’ll be able to find this in the poultry section of your grocery store.
  • Poultry Rub: I’m partial to my award-winning chicken rub, but you can use any poultry seasoning blend or dry rub that you like.
bottles of BBQ rubs on black background

How to smoke whole chicken on a Ninja Woodfire Grill

  1. STEP ONE: Start by removing the whole bird from the packaging. Inside the cavity, you’ll find some organs and maybe the neck. Go ahead and remove those. Pat the chicken dry and rub poultry seasoning over the entire chicken.
whole chicken rubbed with seasoning.

For pretty presentation, place the chicken breast up and tuck the wings under the bird. Then, tie together the chicken legs with butcher’s twine.

  1. STEP TWO: Fill the smoke box on the Ninja Woodfire Grill with wood pellets. Set the grill to smoker, the temperature to 375F degrees and the time to 1 hour.
  1. STEP THREE: Place the seasoned chicken on the grill with the breast side facing up. Close the hood.
whole chicken smoking on Ninja Woodfire Grill.
  1. STEP FOUR: As the chicken smokes, the skin will start to get nice and crispy. You’ll know it’s done when the internal temperature reaches 165F degrees.
smoked whole chicken on ninja woodfire grill.

NINJA PRO TIP: If you have the Ninja Woodfire Pro, you can use the built-in temperature probe to monitor the meat temperature. Otherwise, you can test it with an instant read digital meat thermometer. For an accurate reading, place the probe into the thickest part of the thigh without touching the bone.

How to serve smoked whole chicken

Remove the chicken from the grill. Place it on a sheet pan or cutting board and cover it loosely with aluminum foil. Let the chicken rest for about 15 minutes.

Use a sharp knife to slice the chicken. I prefer a serrated knife, because it allows me to cut through the skin easier. Start by removing the leg quarters and wings. Separate the legs from the chicken thighs. Then, remove the breast meat and carve it into slices.

closeup of sliced whole chicken.

The flavorful chicken is great on it’s own, but you can also serve it with your favorite BBQ sauce or Alabama White Sauce.

Smoked whole chicken goes great with Grilled Carrots, Balsamic Brussels Sprouts, Baked Potatoes and Garlic Green Beans.


If you have any leftover smoked chicken, you can store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. The skin will lose it’s crispiness, but you can perk it back up by reheating it in the Woodfire Grill on the air crisp setting.

You can also freeze leftover smoked chicken for up to 6 months.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to smoke a whole chicken?

The cook time will depend on the size of your chicken. A 4-5-pound chicken will take about 45 minutes to smoke at 375F degrees. A 6-7-pound bird whole chicken will take about an hour to smoke at 375F degrees.

At what temperature is smoked whole chicken done?

According to the USDA, poultry is safe to eat when it’s cooked to 165F degrees.

Is smoked whole chicken healthy?

Absolutely. Smoked whole chicken is one of the healthiest proteins you can eat, because it’s low in fat and calories. This recipe doesn’t include any added olive oil or butter, so it has fewer calories that most recipes. If you want to save even more calories, just eat the meat and discard the skin.

What is the best temperature to smoke a whole chicken?

I smoke whole chicken at 375F degrees. I find that to be the best temperature to ensure juicy meat, but also crispy skin. If you smoke it at a low temperature, like 225F, you will likely end up with rubbery skin.

Can I make this recipe on a pellet smoker?

Yes. Follow the recipe and place the chicken on your pellet smoker at 375F degrees. If you want more smoky flavor, add a foil pouch to the grill with wood chips.

What type of wood is best for smoked chicken?

Hickory wood and pecan wood are all excellent choices for smoking chicken. Fruit woods like cherry and apple, are also great.

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5 from 22 votes

Smoked Whole Chicken on a Ninja Woodfire Grill

This smoked whole chicken recipe cooked on the Ninja Woodfire Grill only has 2 ingredients and guarantees a juicy chicken with crispy skin.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 6



  • Prep: Remove the chicken from the packaging. Remove the organs and neck. Pat the chicken dry.
  • Season: Rub the poultry seasoning all over the entire chicken. Let it rest on the counter while you get the grill ready.
  • Grill: Set the Ninja Woodfire Grill to the smoker function. Set the temperature to 375F degrees and the time to 1 hour. Add the chicken to the grill breast side up. Smoke to an internal temperature of 165F degrees.
  • Rest: Remove the chicken from the grill. Let it rest for 15 minutes. Then, slice and serve.


Calories: 474kcalCarbohydrates: 1gProtein: 41gFat: 33gSaturated Fat: 9gPolyunsaturated Fat: 7gMonounsaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 163mgSodium: 153mgPotassium: 425mgFiber: 0.2gSugar: 0.1gVitamin A: 357IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 44mgIron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Did you try this recipe?Be sure to rate it, leave a comment and save it so you can make it again. Show off your awesome results on social by tagging @girlscangrill

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christie vanover standing against wood wall.

Hey BBQ Family

Hi. I’m Christie, the head cook and award-winning competitive pitmaster for Team Girls Can Grill. I have won multiple grand championships and have dozens of top ten category finishes. People know me as the girl who is forever hovering over a grill, smoker or campfire with tongs in one hand and a glass of wine in the other.

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Recipe Rating


  1. I use the Cajun seasoning after rubbing the whole chicken with olive oil I also put a small pan of water while smoking the chicken for an internal temp of 160 -165 degrees I revive the bird cover it loosely with foil let it rest for 15 minutes or as long as I can stand it before slicing to serve the ninja wood fire is perfect for this whole chicken

  2. Do you have to pre heat and ignite the smoker pellets before you put the chicken on the grill . There is no mention in the recipe if you do or don’t, just wondering

    1. No. When you use the smoker setting, there is no need to wait for it to preheat. Just add your food, turn it to smoker and press start. You only need to preheat it when you’re using other functions like grill or air crisp.