whole hot smoked chicken whole hot smoked chicken

This is a simple yet rewarding hot smoking project. Prepare for super succulent, beautifully flavoured chicken without a hint of dryness.

1. Mix together the rub ingredients, spread a little olive oil over the skin and thickly sprinkle over the rub. Cluster the fresh bay leaves and lemon wedges into the cavity. Leave to season for at least 30 minutes at room temperature.

3. Bring your BBQ or smoker up to a medium heat and add a handful of chips (use a smoker box or wrap in foil) or 2 or 3 wood smoking chunks directly to your heat source once any open flame has settled down. We love beech with chicken as it adds a lovely subtle flavour, but for something a little stronger try Apple.

4. Fill your water pan with warm water and add a couple of whole bay leaves. Rig up a stainless steel or terracotta bowl in your bbq if you don’t have a water pan feature.

5. Place the seasoned chicken on your grill rack. Close your lid and allow to cook gently whilst it smokes and steams for 3 to 4 hours. For the best hot smoking results your target cooking time is twice that of a normal oven for the chicken weight and half the temperature.

6. Check the meat is cooked using a temperature probe. The pink halo created by the smoking process can give the impression the meat isn’t cooked. Remove and allow to settle for 10 to 20 minutes before tucking in.

7. Serve with potato wedges, salad or go for the full Sunday lunch spread.

You can adapt this recipe to any whole bird including turkey (try oak chips), pheasant (team with juniper) or partridge (team with pear)


  • 2 x 4lb chickens
  • Olive oil
  • 6 whole bay leaves
  • 1 whole lemon

For the Mediterranean style rub

  • Fresh finely chopped garlic
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Sea salt flakes
  • Coriander
  • Basil
  • Zest of 1 lemon

Wood Chips or Chunks

  • Beech for subtle flavour
  • Apple for something a little stronger
whole hot smoked chicken


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