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Whole Smoked Chicken Recipe (Traeger Smoked Chicken)

Forget dry, bland smoked chicken!! This easy smoked chicken recipe is a game changer. It results in tender, juicy chicken with crispy skin and an incredible flavor all the way down to the bone. You’ll need to start by making this Spice Rub, which gets rubbed all over the chicken the day before smoking. Refrigerating the chicken overnight not only allows the seasonings to permeate into the meat, but it also acts like a dry brine, drawing in moisture to keep the chicken juicy and tender when smoked (there's no need for a wet brine in this recipe!). You can use a Traeger grill or any smoker you have for this recipe.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time2 hrs 30 mins
Dry brining time1 d
Total Time1 d 2 hrs 45 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: smoked chicken recipe, traeger smoked chicken, traeger whole chicken
Servings: 4 -6 people


  • 1 batch Spice Rub for Smoked Chicken (recipe link in header)
  • 1 3 ½ - 4 pound chicken, giblets removed
  • ½ lemon
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 small shallot, halved and peeled
  • Small handful fresh thyme


Dry brine the chicken

  • Rub the spice paste all over the chicken (use all of the rub). You can either stuff the cavity with the lemon, garlic, shallot and thyme now or wait to do this tomorrow (if stuffing, tie the legs together). Refrigerate the chicken, uncovered, overnight (this will allow the spice paste to permeate into the meat as well as help the skin turn crispy on the smoker).

Smoke the chicken

  • Preheat your smoker to 225˚F (105˚C). Take the chicken out of the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for 30-60 minutes. If you haven’t stuffed it yet, do that now (be sure to tie the legs together with kitchen twine).
  • Position the chicken directly onto the grill grate. Cover and smoke until the internal temperature on an instant-read thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh reads 160˚F, about 2 hours 15 minutes to 2 hours 30 minutes.
  • Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let it rest for 15 minutes. Carve the chicken and serve.


Storage: Leftover smoked chicken can be refrigerated for up to 4 days.