Grill-Smoked Chicken


Main Dish
Grill-Smoked Chicken

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    Master this recipe and you'll be king or queen of the cookout. This recipe makes two chickens, and with a little luck, you'll have leftovers for making the best-ever smoked chicken sandwiches the next day. 

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    Servings and Ingredients

    8 sprig(s) fresh thyme, divided
    8 sprig(s) fresh rosemary, divided
    17 c. water, divided
    2 c. Hy-Vee kosher sea salt, divided
    2 c. Hy-Vee brown sugar, packed
    2 yellow onions, peeled and quartered, divided
    4 clove(s) garlic, peeled, divided
    2 (5 lb each) while broiler fryer chickens
    ¼ c. onion salt
    ¼ c. smoked paprika
    2 c. apple wood chips
    2 tbsp. Hy-Vee black pepper
    6 tbsp. Hy-Vee canola oil
    1 c. Hy-Vee apple juice

    Things To Grab

    • Blender
    • 2 extra large bowls
    • Large bowl
    • Small bowl
    • Paper towels
    • Food-grade 100% cotton twine
    • Charcoal grill
    • Meat thermometer
    • Aluminum foil


    1. Hold each herb sprig at its top. Slide your fingers down to the bottom to strip off the leaves or needles. Discard woody stems. Set herbs aside.
    2. Add 1 cup water and half each of each, brown sugar, onions, garlic, thyme and rosemary to a blender. Cover and blend until smooth. Transfer to an extra large bowl. Repeat with 1 cup water and remaining salt, brown sugar, onions, garlic, thyme and rosemary. Transfer to another extra large bowl. Add 7-1/2 cups of remaining water to each bowl. Stir to combine well. Add a chicken to each bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 6 to 24 hours.
    3. Soak wood chips in a large bowl with enough water to cover for at least 6 hours before smoke-cooking. Drain before using.
    4. Combine onion salt, paprika and pepper in a small bowl. Remove chickens from brine. Rinse body cavities; pat dry with paper towels. Rub chickens with oil. Rub onion salt mixture over chickens, using your fingers. Tie drumsticks to tail. Twist wing tips under back.
    5. Prepare a charcoal grill for indirect grilling over medium-low heat. Add apple juice to the drip pan. Add 1/2 cup drained wood chips to hot coals. (For gas grill, refer to manufacturer's directions for smoke-cooking.) Place chickens, breasts sides up, on grill grate over drip pan. Cover and smoke at 350 degrees for 1-1/2 hours or until chicken is no longer pink (180 degrees in thigh muscle). Add wood chips as needed to maintain smoke; add more coals or adjust grill as needed to maintain a 350 degree temperature.
    6. Remove chickens from gill. Cover with foil and let stand for 10 minutes before carving.
    7. Note: Nutrition facts cannot be calculated for this recipe because the amount of salt in chicken varies after brining.