The Best Traeger Smoked Chicken

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This recipe makes the best Traeger Smoked Chicken that turns out tender, slightly smoky, and super juicy. Traeger smoke chicken is easy to make and results in that perfect juicy chicken you crave.

» You might also like this Traeger Brisket recipe and Traeger Smoked Sweet Potatoes.

Whole Smoked Chicken

Making a whole chicken on the Traeger is super easy. All you have to do is brine the chicken so that the meat is seasoned, then slow cook it on the smoker until you reach the desired temperature. 

We’ve made this whole chicken on the Traeger so many times and it always turns out great. You really can’t beat it because of the wonderful smokiness and tenderness of the meat with very little intervention from you.

» Read up on the 4 Best Smoker Grill Combos.

Ingredients You’ll Need

Ingredients for the best Traeger smoked chicken

Here is what you will need to make a whole chicken on the Traeger:

  • Whole Chicken – You can cook any size whole chicken you want, just remember that the cooking time will vary. This recipe uses a 4-pound chicken.
  • Brine – To make the brine, you need a large pot that can fit the brine and the chicken and also fit inside your refrigerator. Combine water, salt, lemon, thyme, rosemary, brown sugar, garlic, black peppercorns.
  • Homemade Rub: Paprika, salt, pepper, dried rosemary, garlic powder, chili powder, onion powder. This rub is one that we use for all of the bbq meats we make. It’s easy to mix up and use for everything.
  • Lemon – You’ll use lemon for the brine and to stuff inside the chicken for cooking.
  • Garlic – Garlic is also used in the brine and in the chicken.
  • Rosemary – I love the aroma of rosemary with chicken
  • Thyme – Thyme is also one of the classic chicken herbs, but you can also use oregano, marjoram or any stem herbs you like.
  • Butter – I use salted butter. Mixed with the seasonings, this makes a great coating on the chicken to get a nice crispy skin.
  • OPTIONAL: Smoky bourbon BBQ sauce: You don’t need bbq sauce with this chicken. It’s great all on its own, but we like to add the delicious smoky flavor of this homemade Bourbon BBQ Sauce.

What Pellets to Use for the Traeger?

You’ll also need pellets for your Traeger. Traeger pellets come in many different types that you can choose from. I like to use cherry wood pellets for mine. I actually use these Bear Mountain cherry wood pellets from Amazon.com. They also have a bourbon wood pellet that’s very good.

Whole Smoked Chicken

Tips for Making Traeger Smoked Chicken

When making Traeger smoked chicken, here are a few things you should keep in mind:

  • You may need to restock the pellets in the hopper on your Traeger, if they start to run low. With a 3 hour cook, refilling once is a good idea. 
  • The more you let it rest after applying the spice mix, the more flavour it will get. So, try to let the meat rest for at least 3 to 4 hours up to overnight. 

How to Make Homemade Chicken Rub

A perfectly balanced dry rub does wonders for the flavor, but also seals in the juices and keeps the chicken from drying out.

We use this dry spice rub on everything, because it’s packed with flavor and adds a perfectly balanced punch of spice to every bite. The spices that go into this rub all work together to create a great flavor profile.

homemade dry rub

What you’ll need (you can find the quantities for each in the recipe at the bottom of this post):

  • Paprika
  • Salt and pepper
  • Dried rosemary
  • Chili powder
  • Onion powder
  • Garlic powder

How to Make Traeger Smoked Chicken

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine 2 cups water and remaining brine ingredients. Simmer until the salt has fully dissolved. Remove from heat and cool.

Fresh brine before heating

Once cooled, combine the brine with the remaining cold water in a large enough container to hold the water and chicken (that will fit in your refrigerator).

Submerge the chicken, breast side down, in the brine. Refrigerate for 12-20 hours (not longer than this!).

Remove the chicken from the brine and rinse it thoroughly to remove excess salt. Pat dry with a paper towel. Stuff the chicken with the lemon, garlic and herbs. Mix the butter and seasonings together and spread all over the chicken. Tie the legs together.

When ready to cook, start the grill on smoke with the lid open for 5 minutes for the fire to establish. Then close the lid and turn the temperature to 225°F and preheat for 15 minutes.

Place the chicken, breast side up, directly on the grate. Insert a meat probe in the thickest part of the breast. Cook at 225°F for about 3 hours, until the internal temperature reaches 140°F.

Increase the temperature to 325°F and continue cooking the chicken for another 30 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.

Remove the chicken from the grill and rest for at least 20 minutes before carving.

Serve with smoky Bourbon BBQ sauce.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can we season the chicken with any other spice mix?

Yes. You can season the chicken with any spice mix you like. You can find premade chicken spice mix from the grocery store as well. Moreover, you can use spice mix like jerk seasoning as well. 

What to serve smoked chicken with?

You can serve this smoked chicken with several side dishes. It goes well with fresh salad, potato salad, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, mac and cheese etc. You can slice it thinly and make a sandwich out of it. 

Can you store leftover chicken?

Yes. Wrap any left overs in butcher paper or plastic wrap and refrigerate it for up to 3 days. Reheat it in the oven or air fryer until it is warm and juicy. Try these buffalo ranch chicken wraps with any leftover chicken you might have.

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Whole Smoked Chicken

Traeger Smoked Chicken

This recipe makes the best Traeger Smoked Chicken that turns out tender, slightly smoky, and super juicy. Traeger smoke chicken is easy to make and results in that perfect juicy chicken you crave.
4.84 from 60 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Chicken
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Brining Time: 12 hours
Total Time: 15 hours 40 minutes
Servings: 8 Servings
Calories: 293kcal
Author: Laura

Ingredients

For the brine:

  • 2 quarts water divided
  • 1/3 cup salt
  • 1 lemon quartered
  • 4-5 sprigs fresh thyme and rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 4 cloves garlic smashed
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns

For the chicken

  • 4 pound whole chicken
  • 1 lemon halved
  • 4 cloves garlic smashed
  • 4-5 sprigs fresh thyme and rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons butter melted

For the dry rub:

  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

Instructions

  • In a saucepan over medium heat, combine 2 cups water and remaining brine ingredients. Simmer until the salt has fully dissolved. Remove from heat and cool.
  • Once cooled, combine the brine with the remaining cold water in a large enough container to hold the water and chicken (that will fit in your refrigerator).
  • Submerge the chicken, breast side down, in the brine. Refrigerate for 12-20 hours (not longer than this!).
  • Remove the chicken from the brine and rinse it thoroughly to remove excess salt. Pat dry with a paper towel. Stuff the chicken with the lemon, garlic and herbs. Mix the butter and seasonings together and spread all over the chicken. Tie the legs together.
  • When ready to cook, start the grill on smoke with the lid open for 5 minutes for the fire to establish. Close the lid, turn up the heat to 225° F and preheat the grill with the lid closed for 15 minutes.
  • Place the chicken, breast side up, directly on the grate. Insert a meat probe in the thickest part of the breast. Cook at 225°F for about 3 hours, until the internal temperature reaches 140°F. Increase the temperature to 325°F and continue cooking the chicken for another 30 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
  • Remove the chicken from the grill and rest for at least 20 minutes before carving.

Equipment Needed

  • Traeger grill or other smoker
  • Wood pellets for the grill

Notes

You may need to restock the pellets in the hopper on your Traeger, if they start to run low. With a 3 hour cook, refilling once is a good idea.

Nutrition

Calories: 293kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 89mg | Sodium: 5415mg | Potassium: 319mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 807IU | Vitamin C: 19mg | Calcium: 53mg | Iron: 2mg

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Whole Smoked Chicken

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