This article will serve as your guide to smoked chicken temperature and time, along with my personal favorite smoked chicken recipe on a pellet grill.
In my experience, 165 F is the golden smoked chicken internal done temp, but the grill temperature usually varies from anywhere between 250 F to 275 F depending on what kind of grill or smoker you are using.
Over the years, I have perfected a smoked chicken temperature chart on my pellet grill, which I will also be sharing with you in this article.
Smoked Chicken Temp and Time
While smoking a chicken oa a smoker, the standard cooking temperature is 250 to 275 F, and the time is about 45 minutes per pound approximately. I give around 2-3 hours for my smoked whole chicken to be done. The ultimate tip to a perfectly done smoked chicken is its internal temperature, which should reach 165°F or 75°C no matter which part of the chicken you are smoking.
Smoked Chicken Done (Internal) Temperature:
It is not only important that the smoked chicken stays flavorful and juicy but also to make it free of any salmonella bacteria. The key to both these outcomes is through the smoked chicken internal temp. The smoked chicken’s internal temperature should reach 165 F.
Tips for Smoked Chicken Internal Temperature and Doneness:
1. Low and Slow Makes for Rubbery Chicken:
My fellow grill smokers agree that the low and slow mantra for smoking chicken leaves it rubbery and dry. Chicken should always be smoked at higher grill temperatures for crispier skin and juicier insides.
If you do cook at lower temperature, make sure you follow the right guide to smoked chicken temp and time for a flavorful feast.
2. Cover and rest the chicken:
It is important to cover the chicken in foil and let it rest for 20 to 25 minutes after it reaches the minimum internal temperature and you remove it from the grill to make sure all internal redness is gone and cooked.
The more fat your chicken has, the more resting period it will need. Of course, you cannot take out a chicken at 165 F and expect it to be eaten right away.
A few minutes of the resting period will make the chicken juicier and perfect for eating. Many grillers swear that the chicken keeps cooking even after taking out of the smoker.
Hence, you can also try to take the chicken out at an internal temp of 160 F and rest it for 20 to 30 minutes for a complete smoked chicken done temp.
3. Check the Temperature multiple times:
For smoked chicken internal temperatures, it is important to not just rely on a one-time meat probe or external meat probe to check for the internal temperature and doneness.
An accurate handheld thermometer is your best bet to verify that smoked chicken has reached your target temperature in all areas.
Verify smoked chicken internal temp at various locations, especially near the thigh bone. Once you are sure, take the chicken out, wrap it in foil and let it rest for 20 to 25 minutes.
4. What if Smoked Chicken Internal Done Temp does not reach 165 F?
A faulty meat probe or thermometer can also be the cause for this trouble, but if it stays at that temperature for the required amount of time it will definitely be safe to eat.
The main function of smoking chicken for a certain amount of time at a lower internal temperature is to clean it from all bacteria more than to make it juicy and flavorful. It’s better not to keep waiting at the lower internal temperature, as it will make the chicken too dry.
5. How do you smoke chicken without drying it out?
To brine or not to brine? I believe in the former if you want to avoid a completely dried out, rubbery chicken that is not flavorful on the inside.
Over time, I have found that dry brining is the way to a juicy smoked chicken. Season your chicken approximately 4 to 12 hours before you cook it.
This will allow the seasoning to pull water out of the chicken’s skin and make it crispier when cooked. Make sure to pat your chicken dry after washing it, and season the chicken with salt and other spices along with olive oil both on the inside and outside.
You can also put garlic, onions and parsley inside the chicken for more flavor. Trussing its legs is an option for you if you want your smoked chicken to look beautiful as well. Make sure that you are liberal with the seasoning and allow it to sit like that for 4-12 hours for the perfect smoked chicken.
6. How long to smoke a whole chicken on a pellet grill?
It is always better to cook the chicken at lower heat (225-250 F) and bring it up to 275 F at the end to get a crispier skin on the outside.
Remember to use a leave-in probe to monitor the smoked chicken internal temp and verify it with a handheld thermometer as well at various sides of the chicken. Slow cooking is a surefire way of avoiding a dried out and overcooked smoked chicken.
It is a tip for the pros who have been smoking chicken for a while. However, I am sharing the perfect guide to smoked chicken temperature and smoked chicken cooking times for beginners.
Smoked Chicken Temperature and Time Chart:
|Cooking Time||Smoking Temp||Internal Temp|
|Whole Chicken||2 – 3 Hours||275 – 325 F||165 – 170 F|
|Chicken Thighs||1.5 Hours||275 – 325 F||165 – 170 F|
|Chicken Wings||1 – 1.5 Hours||275 – 325 F||165 – 170 F|
|Chicken Breast||30 – 45 Mins/pound||250 F||165 F|
|Chicken Drumsticks||2 and Half Hours||225 – 250 F||165 – 170 F|
|Chicken Legs||2 Hours||250 F||165 – 170 F|
Tips for Smoked Chicken
- Whole Smoked Chicken:
Low and slow is the way to go if you do not want your chicken to dry out. The internal temperature will always be your guide to knowing how flavorful and cooked your chicken is.
At the end, only whole chicken is cooked at a higher temperature to get a crisp on its skin. This step is only for whole smoked chicken to get crispier skin. Brining is also an important tip to overcome the drying out of the chicken.
- Smoked Chicken Thighs:
Chicken thighs hold well in cupcake tins if you choose to bake in them. The thigh bones can act as handles for you to hold, pull, and eat your crispy smoked chicken thighs.
Another tip for crispier chicken thighs is to cut off some fat from the skin, stab it and put some meat tenderizer on that part. Cook it at higher than the recommended temperature and you will get nice, crispy smoked chicken thighs.
Keep an eye out for the internal temperature of 165 F to make sure for complete doneness.
These also need to be brined a few hours earlier to prevent them from drying out while being smoked. Bring the grill temperature up to 225 F and then place the breasts in the center of your grill.
Smoke it until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 F which should take about one hour.
How to Check Smoked Chicken Internal Temperature
The best gadgets for checking the temperature of smoked chicken are the meat probe or a digital thermometer.
The meat probe can be inserted inside the chicken while it’s smoking to check when it reaches the perfect internal temperature.
Insert a probe thermometer into the thickest section of the chicken. Make sure to avoid any bones, as this will affect accurate readings.
Many meat probes now come with double prongs and alarm systems to notify you when the internal and external temperatures reach the reading that you require.
However, your best bet is a digital thermometer that should be placed around the smoked chicken to confirm the most accurate internal temperature reading.
Smoking chicken is a very involved process and using automatic meat probes or grill timers are not helpful for a perfect meal. It is important to look for grill and smoked chicken temp for that perfect juicy pull of chicken from its bones.
How long to smoke chicken breast at 225
Smoke the chicken breast at 225°F until the chicken breast reaches an internal temperature of 165°F. This should take about 40- 45 minutes per pound.
If you prefer a more crispy seared look on your chicken breast, smoke the meat at 225°F until it reaches an internal temperature of 115°F. Now increase your smoker’s temperature to 375 degrees Fahrenheit until your chicken is at the safe internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
how long to smoke chicken breast at 225