How Long To Smoke Chicken – A Chef’s Guide

How long to smoke a chicken? The time it takes to smoke chicken depends on whether it’s wings, breasts, quarters, or the whole chicken. It’s simpler to know the weight of the chicken you’re smoking and then determine the time from there. Each one cooks differently.

Chicken is among the most straightforward meals that you can prepare. It’s versatile and usually priced reasonably; there are numerous ways to cook and enjoy chicken.

If you prefer to cook soups and casseroles, sandwiches, or just enjoy dinner with chicken and a dish of your choice, there’s something for everyone.

There are a variety of recipes you can make using chicken; there are numerous options for cooking chicken. It is possible to bake, smoke or boil, and then fry chicken, and that’s only the start of the list!

Today, we’ll concentrate on smoking chicken. However, there are myriad methods to prepare chicken.

In this article, we’ll guide you through the length of time you need to take to smoke an entire chicken. We will take a look at the different kinds of chickens you can smoke and go over the details on each one to give you a complete guide to smoking chicken.

If you’re seeking the exact kind (wings, breast, wing, or whole.), make sure you look at the headline of the manual as an easy method to locate your answer.

Continue reading to find out the best time to smoke your chicken and much more!

Guide On Smoking Chicken

Chicken is a broad classification. There are many different components of the chicken to prepare different dishes. The answer to your query could depend on which portion you’re talking about.

Consider this. A wing is a tiny piece of meat that has more meat than, say, a breast portion. Before you know the time the process will last to grill your chicken, it is important to first determine the portion from the bird you intend to smoke.

These are some of the commonly used cuts of meat from a chicken for your information:

  • Wing
  • Drumstick
  • Thigh
  • Breast
  • Quarter
  • Whole chicken

They will be listed according to their typical size. However, the sizes may be different between them. Some of them are served with or without bone, too. It’s all about what you’ve purchased or cooked and your preference preferences.

Before we dive deep into the details, here is a quick reference chart to give an idea of the time the process takes to smoke each piece of chicken.

Kind of ChickenSmoking TimeSmoking Temperature
Wings1.5 to 2.5 hours225 – 250 degrees
Drumsticks2 hours250 – 300 degrees
Thighs3-4 hours225 – 275 degrees
Breast1 to 2 hours225 degrees
QuartersBetween 2-4 hours225 degrees
Whole chicken3-4 hours250 degrees

Remember that these figures may differ depending on the temperature you decide to grill at and what amount of chicken you put on the chicken.

The more meat you smoke, the more time you’ll take. You may be surprised that chicken breasts won’t take long, even at all. This is due to the meat and also the fact that the meat generally does not contain bones.

Generally, it is easy to determine the cooking time using a scale of around 45 minutes for each 1 pound of chicken cooking at 250°F. This will give you a solid starting point from which you can take the figures.

The most important thing to remember is that it is unsafe to consume when it is not cooked properly. You will always require an oven thermometer to ensure that your chicken has an internal temperature that is not less than 165°F before serving it.

How Long Do You Need To smoke Chicken Wings?

Chicken wings are among the most efficient varieties of chicken to smoke. Chicken breasts and wings can give smoking times an extremely close match.

Wings are generally small in dimensions. They may be bone-in or boneless, but if you smoke wings, you will use the bone-in type.

You can spice them or drizzle them the way you prefer. You can think about many rub and sauce recipes when making your recipe. Wings are prepared with various sauces, rubs, and an array of dip sauces.

The meat cut is from the chicken’s wing part, which you may have already known. Wings typically have less meat than other pieces of chicken. However, they’re small and enjoyable.

Chicken wings are very popular as appetizers and snacks for parties since they are often referred to as finger food in various ways due to their small size.

It is also worth noting that our cooking methods are built around making the cooking process slow and low most of the time. This is because chickens are prone to drying in the oven when cooked to high temperatures. The final thing you would like is to take your chicken from the oven only to have it taste dry and dry.

The lower temp allows the chicken to keep its flavor and juices and make an amazing juicy chicken wing after you’re finished with the cooking process.

It is possible to cook them at higher temperatures but note that you might be left with dry chicken if not vigilant.

A variety of recipes and suggestions will advise you that the best method cook your chicken to smoke is to make use of a low heat for smoking and finish your wings with a higher temperature so that you can complete the process with a crisp, clean skin on the wings.

The trick is to find an oven that can adjust the temperature rapidly.

There are several suggestions on how to grill chicken wings. Look them up and pick one based on your general preference.

Smoking Chicken Wings, Low with a High-Finish

We’re not going to provide you with step-by-step directions for what to do to rub on or rub your chicken wings before cooking the wings. We could easily spend the whole day with wings! However, we do desire to give you the best options of different ways to smoke your chicken.

This particular explanation is intended to let your chicken smoke at a low temp and then raise your temperature for them to dry them off.

This will reduce the cooking time and gives you a delicious mix of smokey and juicy flavors but not take as long time to cook. If you want to try it, follow these steps while smoking wings of chicken:

  1. Start by heating the smoke to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Put the wings over the grill and then smoke them at this temperature for 30 to 45 minutes.
  3. Bring the temperature up by 425°F.
  4. Continue cooking for another 30 to 45 minutes.
  5. The wings must be cooked at an internal temperature of 165°F.
  6. Make sure to rotate the wings frequently throughout cooking, allowing them to cook uniformly.

This is a simple process and will take about 1.5 hours in total, with a higher temperature during the final half of cooking.

If you choose to employ the method described above, then we suggest using some kind of sauce for the wings so that they stay damp. If you’re using a rub, it isn’t as effective to stop the chicken from drying out. What you can try is setting a tray out and marinate your chicken.

Grilling Chicken wings An Low Temperature Only

Our preferred method for cooking chicken wings is to cook them at the lowest temperature. However, the other method works perfectly if you’ve got sauced wings and desire crisp, nice skin; this option can be used for anything. The skin will remain crisp during the process.

The procedure takes longer since it’s at a lower temperature. It’s the norm when smoking meat that it might require a bit more time.

What we will emphasize is that if you truly desire crisp, crispy skin, you might still have to increase the temperature to about 30 minutes after the final. However, the chicken will cook to the right temperature.

These are steps to smoke chicken wings on the low side of the heat:

  1. Make sure to grease your cooking grates, and then heat the grill to 250 ° Fahrenheit.
  2. Place your chicken wings on the grill however you like.
  3. Bake at 250°F for around an hour and thirty mins.
  4. Chickens should be able to reach an internal temperature that is about 165 degrees.
  5. Cover, serve, and enjoy!

It’s really simple, and you can’t do it wrong using either of these methods. If you’d like to get your skin crisp with this method, increase the heat to 350°F for the final thirty minutes of cooking.

How Long Do You Smoke Drumsticks

Drumsticks are usually baked or fried than they are; however, this doesn’t mean that you aren’t able to smoke them!

Drumsticks can be treated similarly to chicken wings in smoking. Drumsticks often have skins, and that is why you want them to end with a crisp and clean appearance after the smoking process is complete.

We have suggested steps to smoking drumsticks and keeping them tasty:

  1. Preparing and preparing your drumsticks according to your preference.
  2. Preheat your grill to between 250 to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. If you’re unsure, it’s best to start at a less hot temperature. If your smoker appears like it’s not like it’s as hot, you could increase the temperature to around 300 F.
  3. Place the drumsticks in the grill and let them smoke for approximately 2 hours.
  4. The chicken should be cooked to an internal temperature of about 165 degrees. It is possible to rotate your chicken regularly to ensure the chicken is cooked evenly.
  5. After the chicken has been cooked, you can boost the heat to create a crispy skin. You can try 350 F for around 15 minutes.

Drumsticks are incredibly effortless to grill. If you decide to cook them with a rub or sauce, ensure that you spread it all over the chicken, even under the skin. Making sure that you get your sauce or rub it under the skin is an effective trick that keeps your chicken perfectly moist!

How Long Should You smoke Chicken Thighs?

The thighs of chicken take a little longer to smoke than the drumsticks and wings that we’ve discussed in the past. It doesn’t matter if they have bones or not, but your smoking habits might differ if they are skin-covered.

Like drumsticks and wings, if they are skin-covered, it is possible to end the process by using an increase in temperature to make the skin nice and crisp before serving them.

Smoking thighs of chicken can take a long since they contain greater meat content than drumsticks or wings, which means that you will likely smoke more chicken in total.

For smoking, we suggest using a slow and low approach regardless of whether you end with high heat for crisp, smooth skin.

Below are the ways to smoke the thighs of a chicken:

  1. Preheat your smoke to 225 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Make your thighs ready with a rub or seasoning according to your taste.
  3. Put the pieces of chicken in the smoker. Ensure that they’re not touching while cooking.
  4. Smoke and cover to this point last about 3-4 hours.
  5. Chickens must attain an internal temperature that is 165°F.

To do this, make sure to keep the lid as closed as you can as you smoke the bird. You should flip them around at the halfway point(1.5-2 hours) to ensure that they are getting a uniform smoke.

If you’d like to crisp up the skin, in the end, it is possible to cook them for about 3 hours, then increase the temperatures to 425 degrees and cook for another 20-30 minutes.

The choice is entirely dependent on you and whether you prefer a more crisp skin or you prefer it with the cooked and smoked texture.

Be aware that when cooking your chicken, you’ll be required that you apply the rub or the seasoning throughout the bird especially rubs. You may feel that you’re applying too much, but you’re not.

Make sure you rub your skin on the chicken too. You can either lift it or cut it up and replace it, whichever you like.

How Long Should You Smoke Chicken Breasts

It might surprise you the fact that chicken breasts don’t take a long time to grill. Even at a lower temperature, they will require a shorter time than other components of the chicken. It is due to the method by which the chicken is prepared.

But, the cooking time can also be dependent on the fact that breast meat is white, whereas legs and thighs typically are dark meat. The darker meats have higher fat content. A greater percentage of fat directly contributes to the time it takes to cook.

Another aspect to consider is the existence of bones. In most cases, the breasts you cook or smoke will not contain bones; however, when they do contain bones, they might require slightly more time to cook; all in all, the time will be less than other cuts.

In line with the other suggestions, make sure you prepare your chicken in your preferred preference of rub, marinade, or seasoning, and get everything ready to cook it up quickly. Set your smoker up according to your preference and grease the grates, if you prefer.

These are steps to follow for how long you should smoke poultry breasts:

  1. Preheat your smoker to 225 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Make chicken by rub or spice according to your preference.
  3. Place the chicken on the grate and cover with a lid.
  4. Inhale the smoke in this room for between 60 and 80 minutes.
  5. Chicken breasts need to be cooked at an internal temperature of 165°F that is measured from the largest portion of the breast.
  6. When you take your chicken breasts out of the grill, allow them to sit for 5-10 minutes before cutting them up or serving.

The breasts aren’t usually covered with skin on them, so there’s no need to fret about removing the skin. Simply follow this method and continue to work. If the chicken breasts are very thick, they may require extra cooking time.

How Long Do You Need To Grill Chicken Quarters

A quarter of a chicken is a mixture of the drumstick and the thigh, along with some meat left that comes from behind the chicken, too. It’s generally a relatively big piece of meat and is also located on bones from the thigh and drumstick region when cooked or served.

Chicken quarters can take longer to smoke because they are packed with meat and also bones.

The meat can be prepared without or with skins; it’s all dependent on the product you purchased. Keep in mind that if they’ve skins, it is possible to raise your temperature at the end to crisp up the skins.

These are steps to smoking the chicken’s quarters:

  1. Preheat your smoke to 220-225 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cook your chicken using rub or sauce, or spice according to your preference.
  3. Place the chicken on the smoker grates and cover or seal the lid.
  4. Smoke the chicken leg quarters of the legs at the temperature of about 2-4 minutes. Flip or rotate the chicken around halfway through.
  5. Leg quarters of chicken should be cooked to an internal temperature of about 165 degrees. Make sure you check whether the meat is at the right temperature and that the meat is thickest.

Be aware that if your chicken is skinned, it is possible to increase the heat to 350 degrees in the final 30 minutes of cooking.

How Long Should You Smoke The Whole Chicken

Smoking a whole bird will take more time than any other chicken cut since this will be a whole chicken.

But, it may not take as long as the chicken quarters you smoked in the previous section! A whole chicken could be cooked for between 3 to 5 hours, depending on the size.

For a whole chicken, you must calculate your cooking time by cooking for approximately 45 minutes per kilogram. This is as long as you cook at a temp of about 250 degrees F. you may need to alter the temperature a bit.

The majority of Whole chickens cook using the skin removed. You must apply the brine rub, rub, or any other seasonings you would like to cook your chicken. When you have a whole chicken, brine can be a great option since it fills the chicken in the flavor. If you apply rubs, apply the rub evenly over your chicken the evenly as you can.

These are steps to take for the time it will take to smoke an entire chicken:

  1. Preheat your smoker to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Prepare the chicken according to your preference if it’s not already prepared.
  3. Put the smoker on the grill and cook using an aluminum skillet to ensure simplicity.
  4. The whole chicken can be cooked in your smoker for 3 to 5 hours.
  5. The entire chicken should be at an internal temperature that is about 165 degrees. Make sure you examine the temperature in one of the thickest parts of the thigh to confirm it’s been done throughout.
  6. Let the chicken sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Remember that bigger chickens might require more time to cook. Calculate the time to cook based on the weight and the recommendations above to determine the best estimate.

Other Questions

We hope you discover this guide on the best time to smoke chicken to be a useful and helpful source. You will get excellent results regardless of the piece of chicken you’re smoking.

We encourage you to go through the section on questions and answers to find out more details.

Do You Need the Water Pan to Smoke Chicken?

It’s an option. If you make use of a water pan and a water pan, you’re more likely not to have crisp skin during your process. Make sure you are familiar with the correct procedures for the most effective outcomes.

What’s the most effective part of the chicken for smoking?

Smoke any portion of the chicken to get amazing results. We love smoking chicken quarters as well as whole birds. The thighs are very tasty too.

What are we trying to say? All of them are delicious!

Do You Need to Flip Chicken When Smoking?

For smaller components such as drumsticks and wings, you might want to turn them multiple times. For larger pieces like breasts and thighs, quarters, as well as whole birds, all you need to do is need to rotate or flip around halfway through.

Norah Clark

Norah Clark

Norah Clark, the founder and editor of YummyTasteFood! She's a seasoned food writer and editor with over a decade of experience in the hospitality industry as a former pastry chef, sous chef, and barista. When not writing about food, she explores new recipes or travels the world for culinary inspiration.

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