Chicken is the most preferred meat all over the world. You would be surprised to know that around 8 billion chickens are consumed in the US every year. Its low price, high protein content, and rich taste are the main reasons behind it. There are tons of ways to cook chicken, and smoking is the most famous of all. It preserves the natural taste, adds the aroma, and makes it juicier compared to other chicken recipes.
Electric smokers have made it easy to grill a whole chicken nowadays. There are various models available in the market based on temperature range, size, and other features. In this article, we will discuss how you can smoke chicken on an electric grill. The following are a few tips.
Tips for smoking a perfect whole chicken
Know the Meat
The first and the foremost thing for making a perfect smoked chicken in an electric smoker is to know the meat. The size of chicken you are willing to smoke will tell you about the time it will take to be smoked perfectly, without burning the skin and retaining the watery contents. Small size chicken will take 2.5 hours to 3.5 hours, while a bigger size chicken can take longer than 4.5 hours. It is advised to take a medium-sized chicken because you can ensure that it is appropriately and evenly cooked inside out. However, a bigger-sized chicken may start to give a cooked impression from the outer layers, but it might remain undercooked from the thicker parts.
Know your Wood
Most of the electric smokers do not need wood chips, but some are designed that way. If you wish to add wood chips, they can help enhance the smoke’s aroma and improve the flavor of chicken as well. Some wood options for poultry are apple, pecan, and oak. You can check the user manual of the electric oven before adding wood sticks. Set the temperature of your electric smoker at 250F. If your smoker has a range, then anything between 250F-275F will do good for you. Electric smokers are not only easy to use but also help in providing uniform heat to the chicken. You have to be cautious about the heat in traditional ovens, but in electric smokers, once you have set the temperature, there’s nothing left to worry about.
Related guide: How to Smoke Deer Meat in an Electric Smoker?
Prepare the Chicken
After rinsing the chicken under cold water:
- Trim the extra skin or fats you might want to lose.
- Make sure you clean the bird cavity to avoid any unwanted fat.
- Tie the legs of chicken using a kitchen string and prepare for marinating.
All the spices that you have prepared should be rubbed equally and generously. It is better to make cuts on both sides of the chicken so the spices can get absorbed in the chicken’s thicker parts. If you are willing to smoke the chicken for dinner, you must marinate it after breakfast. When the chicken is marinated for 6 to 8 hours, it gives a rich flavor because the spices are thoroughly absorbed in it and you get the flavor in every bite. You can choose a variety of spices as per your taste and preferences.
Setting in an Electric Smoker
The last step would be to place the chicken on the smoker racks. Once you set the temperature, it will take around 4 hours for the chicken to be smoked perfectly. You can tell by the aroma or use a thermometer to check the temperature at the chicken’s thickest part. If the temperature at the thickest part of the chicken is somewhat above 165F, then your chicken is ready to be carved and served. Just make sure you do not open the over before 3 hours to check the chicken.
Another important tip for beginners to smoke a chicken in an electric smoker is to avoid flipping the meat. If you intend to flip the meat, it would mean that you will have to open the smoker, which will result in losing all the heat that has built up inside. While using an electric smoker, there is no need to turn the contents over because you have set the temperature initially, and the heat source is not a direct flame. The most significant advantage of electric smokers is that it gives equal heat to the meat from all sides as it is designed this way. Frequent flipping is required only in gas smokers. Let the chicken cook on low and slow smoke.
With the right seasoning and sauces, you can add more taste to your meal. The skin of chicken will be crisper and bursting with flavor.