Skip to content
Home » Perfect Temperatures for Whole BBQ Chicken

Perfect Temperatures for Whole BBQ Chicken

The weekend is upon us, and you’re in need of a simple BBQ project. Why don’t you smoke a whole bird? Even with the low cooking temperatures of smoking, this is an economical and fast-cooking enterprise. Perfectly cooked BBQ chicken requires precise control of temperature. Precision tools and chicken cooking and doneness temperatures are just a few of the things we provide to ensure your smokey success.

Instead of roasting a whole chicken, why not BBQ it?

Best smart BBQ thermometers: Which is the best model in 2023? | NextPitIn comparison to hog shoulder or brisket, chicken is a thinner cut of meat and may seem to be an unexpected fit for a low-temperature cooking method. Smoking entire chickens instead of roasting them in the oven offers what benefits? There are two advantages: Tobacco taste and soft, velvety texture go hand in hand.


Low-temperature BBQ is the only way to get the rich flavors imparted by smoke to meat. Cooking at higher temperatures might cause the wood to catch fire or emit smoke, which can lead to the development of bitter or unpleasant tastes.

Check out Best BBQ Smokers For Delish Ribs, Bristles, And More

Texture: It’s all about time and temperature when it comes to texture

Collagen in the meat’s connective tissues has more time to disintegrate into smooth gelatin when cooked at lower temperatures (see our post on Smoked Pulled Pork for more information on the topic of breaking down connective tissues). The gelatin helps the meat keep moisture by absorbing moisture.

With a lengthy cooking time, won’t the breast flesh grow dry?

A meat’s ultimate texture is mostly determined by the temperature of the animal throughout the cooking process. At the correct temperature (to allow for carryover cooking to achieve ultimate doneness), pulling the chicken from the smoker will result in juicy outcomes. If you don’t keep an eye on the temperature, you’ll likely overcook your chicken, which may cause it to dry out.

Check out Best Induction Cooktops For Safe And Hassle-Free Cooking

Q: Is the skin going to be pliable?

As the chicken cooks, a mop sauce and melted butter are used to maintain the skin wet and the texture of the meat at a bite-through consistency. For this BBQ chicken project to succeed, you must know the ideal cooking and doneness temperatures.

Slow Cooking in a Flash

About 200-300°F (93-149°C) is the ideal temperature range for grilling meats and vegetables. Whole chickens are leaner and more tender than standard BBQ cuts, so they don’t need to be cooked for as long as other parts. Depending on the size of your chicken and the temperature you keep your cooker at, this will take anywhere from one and a half to two hours to cook. Remember that the easiest method to tell whether chicken is done is by checking the temperature, not the time it has been in the oven. Use your temperature values as a guide.

Instant-read thermometers are the best technique to determine the doneness of smoked meals. Even the professionals are not immune to the practice. Many professionals do it. — Steven Raichlen of Project Smoke

Thermometers to Consider

You can’t go wrong with ThermaQ® when it comes to grilling. Dual-channel thermometer with high and low alerts and maximum and minimum recorded temperatures for each channel. At the same time, you can monitor the meat’s cooking process and keep an eye on the temperature of your stove. ThermaQ and an instant-read digital thermometer like the Thermapen® Mk4 are the greatest instruments for determining whether meat is done since temperature is the best way to do it.

What are the benefits of doing a spot check?

For what purpose would it be necessary to have a Thermapen in addition to your thermometer? A fast spot-check to ensure that the temperature recorded is the bird’s lowest is critical when the alert for its high-alarm chicken rings.

Temperatures may vary somewhat from where the ThermaQ probe was first positioned. Let the chicken simmer for a few more minutes if the temperature is lower than you expected. I’m so happy it’s getting warmer outside! If you want consistent, repeatable outcomes, there’s just one way to go about it.

It just takes a few seconds for the Thermapen to receive an accurate reading with its super-fast® readings. Neither the heat nor smoke in your home will be lost.

Ingredients for a BBQ Chicken Recipe

The project’s components are basic and limited in number. You don’t have to go out of your way to get unusual ingredients.

  • 3 to 4 pounds of chicken
  • Keep it simple with salt and pepper or your preferred dry rub.
  • Pieces of wood having a weight of between two and four ounces (experts recommend using a bit less wood for chicken than you normally would with pork or beef)
  • About 1-2 sticks of melted butter for basting
  • Sauce for the mop
  • When it came time to make the mop sauce, we turned to this easy recipe found on NibbleMeThis


  • The clucking chicken
  • The flesh cooks more evenly when the bird is cut in half rather being left whole. To dissect the chicken, use the following steps:
  • To remove the backbone, use kitchen shears or a sharp chef’s knife to cut along both sides of the backbone.
  • The breastbone may be seen from the inside once the backbone has been removed. Using a sharp chef’s knife, cut the chicken in half along the middle of the breastbone. Done!

The Rub

On both sides of the chicken skin, use your fingers to gently massage in the dry rub (or salt and pepper).

You may either cook the seasoned chicken right away or refrigerate it overnight, uncovered.

It is possible to dry brine the meat with the rub, which, if left on for a long period of time, allows the salt to dissolve and season the meat while also breaking down the protein somewhat.