Chris F. Nicholson

Applewood Smoked Chicken

Applewood Smoked Chicken


  • ¼ cup cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 2 Tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 Tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 Tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 Tablespoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 whole chicken, 4 to 5 pounds


  1. Take the chicken and remove all the inside parts that need to be tossed out, like the liver, neck, etc.

  2. Place the whole chicken and on a cutting board, cut the chicken with a meat cleaver down the middle of the breast. (I like to do this so I can open up the chicken and get the rub everywhere.) Place in a 9x13 glass pyrex dish.

  3. In a small bowl, mix all the dry rub ingredients listed above. Generously rub the chicken that is still in the Pyrex dish with the mixture until rub is gone.

  4. Place plastic wrap over the Pyrex dish and refrigerate overnight. I like to marinate my chicken for at least 8 to 12 hours.

  5. After the chicken has marinated, turn on your smoker (or light it) and let it preheat until the smoker hits 225 degrees.

  6. Fill the entire wood pan with wood chunks or chips. If you use chunks, they will last the entire smoke time without you having to refill the pan. If you use wood chips, they will burn out by the end of the smoke time so check them every 2-3 hours and add more if they have burned out. I wrap my wood chunks in aluminum foil and poke holes in the aluminum foil with a knife. To me, the smoke pouch helps smoke release better which provides more flavor.

  7. Once the smoker is preheated and the wood pan and water pan are prepped, place the whole chicken on the rack breast side up and close your smoker. You should expect to see a lot of smoke in the first 2 hours and then it will die down a bit. It will smell wonderful outside!

  8. Smoke the chicken at about 225 degrees for about 4 to 5 hours. Sometimes the smoker temperature will get up to 250, but I never let it go over that. You will need to manage your temperature to ensure the smoker doesn’t get too hot.

  9. At the 4th hour, insert a digital thermometer to see how much longer it has before reaching 165 degrees. When the chicken is done, turn the smoker off and remove the chicken.

  10. Your chicken should be at 165 degrees. I like to check at the chicken breast and legs.

  11. Let the chicken sit for about 10 minutes before slicing and eating.

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