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Smoked Chicken Halves

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These smoked chicken halves are a mouthwatering delight that combines the tenderness of slow-cooked meat with the aromatic flavors of wood smoke.

Smoked Chicken Halves

Whether you’re a seasoned cook or a novice, this recipe will guide you through preparing and smoking chicken halves to perfection. We’ll cover everything from cutting a whole chicken in half to achieving that coveted crispy skin. And explore the best woods to use.

Reasons why you should try smoked chicken halves.

Few meals can rival the deliciousness and versatility of smoked chicken halves. This cooking method produces tender, juicy meat with a rich, smoky flavor, and it is a great option for cookouts and special occasions. Another great thing about smoked chicken halves is that they can be customized with various seasonings and flavors. And let’s face it, serving chicken is a cost-effective way to feed a crowd without breaking the bank. 

Raw chicken on cutting board with spices

How do you cut a whole chicken in half?

Cutting a whole chicken in half is essential for even cooking and maximizing smoked penetration. Here’s a simple method to follow:

  • Place the whole chicken on a clean cutting board breast-side down.
  • Using a sharp knife or kitchen shears, cut along both sides of the backbone, starting from the tail and moving toward the neck. 
  • Remove the backbone and save it for making chicken stock. 
  • Flip the chicken over and press down on the breastbone to flatten the chicken.
  • Finally, cut along the center of the breastbone to separate the chicken into two halves.

How long does it take to cook chicken halves at 250 degrees?

It takes approximately 45 minutes for them to reach 165 degrees F. This includes the saucing step during the last 15 minutes of cooking time. Be mindful that each grill or smoker works differently, so cooking times may vary. 

Best Woods and Spices to Use: The choice of wood and spices can significantly impact the flavor profile of your smoked chicken. Here are some popular options to consider:

Wood: Fruitwoods like apple and cherry impart a mild to moderate smoke flavor, perfect for chicken. Robust wood chips, pellets, or wood chunks like hickory, oak, or mesquite can produce an overly smoky, bitter flavor.

Spices: A all-purpose poultry rub can enhance the flavor of your smoked chicken. Some common BBQ spices include paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne black pepper, thyme, and oregano. Let’s not forget tying them all together with a little brown sugar.

Recipe ingredients

Chicken Halves on the grill
derrickriches.com

Cooking Chicken Halves

  • Prepare your pellet grill or smoker for 250 degrees F.
  • Blot chicken skin dry with paper towels and apply a thin coating of mayonnaise or mustard.
  • Next, apply the rub evenly, getting some of the seasoning under the chicken breast skin. 
  • When your grill is properly heated, place the seasoned chicken halves on the grates, close the lid, and cook for 30-35 minutes.
  • Once the chicken halves reach an internal temperature of 155 degrees F, it’s time to apply the BBQ sauce.
  • Brush on a good amount, close the grill lid, and cook for another 10-15 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees in the breast and thigh meat.
  • Once smoked chicken halves are cooked, remove them from your grill and place them onto a clean cutting board. Let them stand for 10 minutes before serving.
  • Store leftover smoked chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.

Side Dishes

Smoked Chicken Halves

Smoked Chicken Halves

These smoked chicken halves are a mouthwatering delight that combines the tenderness of slow-cooked meat with the aromatic flavors of wood smoke.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American BBQ
Keyword: smoked chicken halves
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 542kcal
Author: Derrick Riches and Sabrina Baksh

Ingredients

  • 1 chicken 3-3 1/2 pounds
  • 3 tablespoons smoked chicken rub or your favorite commercial poultry rub
  • Mayonnaise or yellow mustard binder
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce

Instructions

  • Prepare your pellet grill or smoker for 250 degrees F.
  • Blot chicken skin dry with paper towels and apply a thin coating of mayonnaise or mustard.
  • Next, apply the rub evenly, getting some of the seasoning under the breast skin.
  • When your grill is properly heated, place the chicken halves on the grates, close the lid, and cook for 30-35 minutes.
  • Once the chicken halves reach an internal temperature of 155 degrees F, it’s time to apply the BBQ sauce.
  • Brush on a good amount, close the grill lid, and cook for another 10-15 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees.
  • Once smoked chicken halves are cooked, remove them from your grill and place them onto a clean cutting board. Let them stand for 10 minutes before serving.
  • Store leftover smoked chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.

Notes

Wood: Fruitwoods like apple and cherry impart a mild to moderate smoke flavor, perfect for chicken. Robust woods like hickory, oak, or mesquite can produce an overly smoky, bitter flavor.

Nutrition

Calories: 542kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 143mg | Sodium: 871mg | Potassium: 546mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 24g | Vitamin A: 506IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 74mg | Iron: 3mg
Derrick Riches
Derrick Riches

I began writing about Barbecue & Grilling in 1997 with one mission, to help the backyard chef have the best experience possible.

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