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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.
- 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.
How to smoke whole chicken on a Ninja Woodfire Grill
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- STEP THREE: Place the seasoned chicken on the grill with the breast side facing up. Close the hood.
- 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.
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.
The flavorful chicken is great on it’s own, but you can also serve it with your favorite BBQ sauce or Alabama White Sauce.
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
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.
According to the USDA, poultry is safe to eat when it’s cooked to 165F degrees.
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.
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.
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.
Hickory wood and pecan wood are all excellent choices for smoking chicken. Fruit woods like cherry and apple, are also great.
More chicken recipes
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Smoked Whole Chicken on a Ninja Woodfire Grill
- 6 lb whole chicken
- 3 tbsp Christie Vanover's Chicken Rub
- 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.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.